Late term abortions and small calves

Our St Boswells Disease Surveillance Centre is aware of five herds having problems with small calves so far this year, which are either aborted late in pregnancy, stillborn or alive. The calves are in proportion, but small and thin with poor muscle mass, and often weighing less than 20kg (Figure 1).

Investigations are ongoing, but an infectious cause is not thought to be the problem. Abnormal placentas with white surface, and a very oedematous stroma is common (Figure 2). Thick amniotic membranes that is difficult to break at birth have also been noted, At present we suspect that this is an issue related to placental development. We would be very interested to hear from you if you have discussed or investigated this on any of your farms this year.


Figure 1: small calf with poor muscle mass


Figure 2: oedema of the chorioallantoic stroma and multifocal white patches on the surface

Posted by SRUC Veterinary Services on 28/04/2023

Tags: Reproductive Failure
Categories: Cattle