My thesis why she aborted

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My thesis why she aborted

Post by Bright Raven » Fri Nov 15, 2019 10:28 am

In the thread "Always a Fish to Fry", I presented the scenario around the abortion of a heifer I recently purchased. I believe she aborted because of twins which is not unusual. Here is my basis:

1. She was observed having a discharge 7 months into her gestation.

2. On examination, her vaginal wall was irritated and red. Upon palpation, a calf was in utero. I thought the irritation was vaginitis, I now think it was due to the first aborted fetus.

3. A couple days later, she came in with placenta showing. Upon palpation, there was no in utero fetus. She was retaining the placenta.

4. A day later, I picked up a full placenta. The cotyledons were intact.

5. This morning, I observed placenta protruding from her vulva. I got her in the chute and with a very gentle tug. Out came another intact placenta. See picture below.

6. Fire Sweep Simmentals has a full flush mate to this heifer. For any beginners, that means these two sisters are as closely related as possible short of being identical twins or clones. The Velvet sister Fire Sweep has also twined this fall. The point: twining is inheritable.

What I think happened. When I first observed the discharge, I think she had aborted one of the twins. When I palpated, I was feeling the other twin. When she came back up the next day with placenta showing, she had aborted the other twin. She was retaining both placentas. She passed the first one a couple days ago. I pulled the second placenta this morning. Conclusion: she could not take both calves to full term. Not unusual.

I still plan to run a serology to check particularly for Neospora. When I pulled the second placenta, I pulled blood from the caudal vein this morning. See picture below.
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Re: My thesis why she aborted

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Fri Nov 15, 2019 4:15 pm

Good catch. I agree totally with your diagnosis. Hate twins. Yes, we are both reaping the "benefits" of twins at the moment, but all too often it is not a great outcome like we both had (I'm sitting with 7 calves on 5 cows - two live sets of twins).
But, when they both live, it is more of a stress on the cow and can be harder to get them bred back.
We start breeding end of next week I believe. I have not "caught" the two cows in heat, but one calved in October. Both in great shape - most all my fall calves are ALWAYS in more than great condition when they calve after having a vacation all summer grazing.
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Re: My thesis why she aborted

Post by Bright Raven » Fri Nov 15, 2019 4:35 pm

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 4:15 pm
Good catch. I agree totally with your diagnosis. Hate twins. Yes, we are both reaping the "benefits" of twins at the moment, but all too often it is not a great outcome like we both had (I'm sitting with 7 calves on 5 cows - two live sets of twins).
But, when they both live, it is more of a stress on the cow and can be harder to get them bred back.
We start breeding end of next week I believe. I have not "caught" the two cows in heat, but one calved in October. Both in great shape - most all my fall calves are ALWAYS in more than great condition when they calve after having a vacation all summer grazing.
I don't want my cows having twins but they are cute. The set of twins Abby is raising never fail to put a smile on my face. IDK, they just remind me of rag dolls. Abby is doing a great job. I cannot see where they are pulling her down. They have bonded. They always hang together. You got to love that.
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Re: My thesis why she aborted

Post by Kingfisher » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:00 pm

Does the use of the modified live virus shot the seller gave have any impact? Sorry for your loss loss.
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Re: My thesis why she aborted

Post by Bright Raven » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:27 pm

Kingfisher wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:00 pm
Does the use of the modified live virus shot the seller gave have any impact? Sorry for your loss loss.
Thanks. No. He didn't give MLV. He said she was given Vira Shield before breeding.
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Re: My thesis why she aborted

Post by gcreekrch » Fri Nov 15, 2019 9:15 pm

It is my thought that the killed vaccine didn't do the job when the heifer was introduced into your herd Ron. It has happened here in the same circumstances.
Vaccinations, cheaper than whiskey. ;-)

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Re: My thesis why she aborted

Post by Nesikep » Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:41 am

I have an old cow, she had twins once 8 years ago.. Then last winter she aborted.. some time around Christmas I think.. It took me a long time to figure it out, but it seems to happen after a heavy snowfall.. Heavy snow weighs down the pine branches and the stupid critters have to go eat the needles, which has a fungus in them that causes abortions
Anyhow, she's my dad's pet and we kept her around, she was on grass most of the summer and PIG FAT.. she'd make brookhill proud, probably close to 2000 lbs.. Anyhow, she's been on a diet, and she's bagging up and will calf in the next week or so.. wouldn't be terribly surprised if she twinned again.. She's a good momma, she takes care of two just fine.
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Re: My thesis why she aborted

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:36 am

As much as I hate twins, you are right. They sure bring a smile to my face - especially when both are sucking at the same time. And they always seem to have the same feeding schedule. I will look out and both sets are saddled up to their mom and beating her up!!
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Re: My thesis why she aborted

Post by 76 Bar » Sat Nov 16, 2019 11:13 am

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:36 am
As much as I hate twins, you are right. They sure bring a smile to my face - especially when both are sucking at the same time. And they always seem to have the same feeding schedule. I will look out and both sets are saddled up to their mom and beating her up!!
LOL. Ole 947 with her 5th set of twins lays down to get a few minutes peace and both calves immediately start nagging her. Bless her soul, she literally rises to the occasion. :banana:

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Re: My thesis why she aborted

Post by Ebenezer » Sat Nov 16, 2019 11:42 am

Glad we solved this issue so quickly.

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Re: My thesis why she aborted

Post by Nesikep » Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:15 pm

76 Bar wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 11:13 am
Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:36 am
As much as I hate twins, you are right. They sure bring a smile to my face - especially when both are sucking at the same time. And they always seem to have the same feeding schedule. I will look out and both sets are saddled up to their mom and beating her up!!
LOL. Ole 947 with her 5th set of twins lays down to get a few minutes peace and both calves immediately start nagging her. Bless her soul, she literally rises to the occasion. :banana:
I had a few cows that figured out the only way to get peace was to lay down

Here she is, 1 day old twins.. she's SOOO proud of them!

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A few months later, you can tell she's tired of them!
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Re: My thesis why she aborted

Post by 76 Bar » Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:07 pm

Here she is, 1 day old twins.. she's SOOO proud of them!
Either that or she's wondering where those blankies came from! :lol:

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Re: My thesis why she aborted

Post by Bright Raven » Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:01 pm

I got the antibody tests results. The first blood sample was taken shortly after abortion. The second blood sample was taken 17 days later. The raw blood is centrifuged and only the liquid portion or lymph is sent in for testing.

What they do is measure blood antibodies (in units called titers) for pathogens known to cause abortion:

Leptospira, IBR, BVD, Neospora, Brucellosis.

It takes two blood samples to distinguish between antibodies produced due to vaccination and antibodies due to infection.

This heifer came back negative for infectious cause of abortion. Dr. Stanfield believes the heifer could not carry the twins to term. Non-infectious abortion of twins occurs at a much higher rate than a single birth.

Shame to lose a calf but it would have been much worse if the heifer was a disease carrier. For example, if they abort due to Neospora, all future calves will test seropositive for Neospora. That is not ideal for a seedstock producer.
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Re: My thesis why she aborted

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sat Dec 21, 2019 4:38 pm

Glad she came back negative. I never would have tested, knowing how common aborted twins can be - but totally understand why you did it.
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Re: My thesis why she aborted

Post by Bright Raven » Sun Dec 22, 2019 12:08 pm

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 4:38 pm
Glad she came back negative. I never would have tested, knowing how common aborted twins can be - but totally understand why you did it.
FOR ANYONE SELLING BREEDING STOCK: If you don't test a heifer/cow that aborts, you are assuming a risk that could come back to haunt you. Example: let us say your heifer aborts during the 7th month of her term. The cause of abortion was Neospora but you don't know that at this point in time. You would need to run a blood antibody test to know that. The heifer may never abort again but all her offspring are likely to be seropositive for Neospora. Let us say that you sell a bred heifer out of her to John Doe and the heifer aborts. John runs an antibody test and she is seropositive for Neospora. He calls you and asks if the Dam of the heifer had ever aborted. You say yes. He asks if you tested her. You say no. You are then at a decision point. Do you then test her and when you find that she is seropositive for Neospora, what do you do?
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