Embryo death rate

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Fire Sweep Ranch

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My sample size is small, so my data really is not good to draw conclusions on. My question is; anyone with experience with a lot of embryos notice a higher abortion rate?
Here is the reason for my question: Many might remember I lost a calf last year, this time, at 240 days gestation. This cow had never aborted before, and we had placed an embryo in her for the first time (she likes to twin, we gave her a year off). Today, we had a cow abort a 248 day old bull calf. He is still alive, and currently at the vet clinic on IV fluids. This cow, Joy, has aborted an embryo calf before, at 177 days along. We AI bred her for the next calf, which she had just fine. Of most of my late term abortions I have had (not many) MOST have been embryos. It makes me ponder on the idea that maybe the placenta does not attach correctly, and when the cow gets further in gestation, the fetus loses nutrition and therefore is sloughed off.
I did a quick search, and did not find anything indicating that.
The next question, how early can a calf be born and survive? Of course, this little bugger was not even 20 pounds (I did not weigh him, but he was very light and smaller than my Australian Shepherd we have). I thought he was dead when I found him (we do not start calving until September 5th, this cow was not due until September 24th). He lifted his head as I approached and made a little sound. Of course, she had him in the mud and cold area.... and he was very cold. I called the vet (my drenching tube would not even fit in his mouth!), he said bring him right over. The calf does have a suck reflex, which is good, but he was 97 degrees (rectal temp) at the vet office and not moving much. His eyes were cloudy, likely not formed all the way yet...Anyway, just frustrated with losing a calf. I brought the cow in, milked her down, and when my vet calls me tonight I will let him know I was able to collect some colostrum.....
This cattle business is tough... with losing our first cow a few weeks ago and now a repeat of last year losing an embryo calf.
 

Bright Raven

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Maybe you are not throwing salt over your shoulder. Or as I told you the other day, your meat balls have rolled off your spaghetti.

Chin up. You have been pretty lucky.

I think embryos are going to offer a bit more risk. The question is whether they are worth the risk. You have done well with them so far.
 
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Fire Sweep Ranch

Fire Sweep Ranch

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Well, that darn calf is still hanging with us! I have not had a chance to weigh him yet, but I'm sticking with less than 20 pounds. He is just a smidge bigger than my Corgi dogs. The vet called this morning for me to come pick him up, since he was leaving town and there was no one there to take care of him (which is fine, I can feed and nurture him). We have to feed him with a foley catheter, his esophagus is so small nothing else will go in! I am feeding him a pint every 4 hours that way. He does chew, but not a good latch yet. I just took this picture, and to give you a perspective, that is a dog bed he is laying on, with a small floor heater next to him (yes, it is warm here - but we have the air conditioning on and he needs to stay warm). My hand covers his entire head! He lifts his head, looks around, then lays it back down again (the tape around his neck is from the catheter he had in). His eyes are still cloudy. His hair is really short and wiry....
If I can get him going, his dam sure wants to see him!
zlrubo.jpg


The vet is going to check in on us on Monday, when he gets back to town.
 

Nesikep

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I have absolutely no experience with embryo calves, but I will say that all my late-term abortions I've had here have been from cow families that have had more than their share of twins, and they also often calf a little ahead of what I consider herd average gestation times... I have a pretty small sample size as well, but it's enough to notice a distinct pattern... I have had these cows for 25 years, so I still have some decent data

Mooca cow family, has had about 6 sets of twins out of 100ish births, and 4 or 5 late term abortions (from 3 cows), always have shorter gestation.
Zeta cow family has had 1 set of twins and 1 late term abortion. Always a little shorter gestation.
Josie family, no twins, no abortions, usually cooks them longer than average
Mona family, no twins, no abortions, longer gestation
Auntie family, 2 sets of twins, no abortions, about average gestation
Lucy family, 1 pair of twins, 1 abortion, shorter gestation.
All the other families have gone extinct.
 

Workinonit Farm

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Interesting issue with regard to embryos. I'm curious to know what data/info is out there regarding abortion rate of embryos.

As to this little guy, I've had a few preemies, (they were not embryo transfers), the ones that weighed 30 lbs or so survived (with a bit of initial TLC) and grew out well. And the ones that weighed less, died within a week or so.

Good luck with him.

If you find anymore info, on the data, if you wouldn't mind, could you post it, or post a link to it?
 

cow pollinater

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I worked with a dairyman with registered stock for a while that had similar issues. As far as I know we never got an answer as to why it happened. In another herd that wanted to switch from holstein to jersey we never saw any problems at all after hundreds of embryos. It was the same vet on both places too.
 

Workinonit Farm

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cow pollinater":1jkqiwv7 said:
I worked with a dairyman with registered stock for a while that had similar issues. As far as I know we never got an answer as to why it happened. In another herd that wanted to switch from holstein to jersey we never saw any problems at all after hundreds of embryos. It was the same vet on both places too.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the size of the fetus. A Jersey calf/fetus, is generally smaller that most.
 

cow pollinater

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Workinonit Farm":9xv5g4j3 said:
cow pollinater":9xv5g4j3 said:
I worked with a dairyman with registered stock for a while that had similar issues. As far as I know we never got an answer as to why it happened. In another herd that wanted to switch from holstein to jersey we never saw any problems at all after hundreds of embryos. It was the same vet on both places too.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the size of the fetus. A Jersey calf/fetus, is generally smaller that most.
I really doubt it. I was somewhat involved in a study early in my career where holstien embryos were but into jerseys and jerseys into holstien to prove the calving ease difference and we never saw any problems either way during that study.
BTW the jerseys still beat the black and whites on calving ease.
 

Workinonit Farm

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cow pollinater":2z3vwlm7 said:
Workinonit Farm":2z3vwlm7 said:
cow pollinater":2z3vwlm7 said:
I worked with a dairyman with registered stock for a while that had similar issues. As far as I know we never got an answer as to why it happened. In another herd that wanted to switch from holstein to jersey we never saw any problems at all after hundreds of embryos. It was the same vet on both places too.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the size of the fetus. A Jersey calf/fetus, is generally smaller that most.
I really doubt it. I was somewhat involved in a study early in my career where holstien embryos were but into jerseys and jerseys into holstien to prove the calving ease difference and we never saw any problems either way during that study.
BTW the jerseys still beat the black and whites on calving ease.

Interesting. Thanks for the info.

I agree, Jerseys slip on out with ease, that's been my experience (most of the time).
 

cow pollinater

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Workinonit Farm":qpfybe4t said:
cow pollinater":qpfybe4t said:
Workinonit Farm":qpfybe4t said:
I wonder if it has anything to do with the size of the fetus. A Jersey calf/fetus, is generally smaller that most.
I really doubt it. I was somewhat involved in a study early in my career where holstien embryos were but into jerseys and jerseys into holstien to prove the calving ease difference and we never saw any problems either way during that study.
BTW the jerseys still beat the black and whites on calving ease.

Interesting. Thanks for the info.

I agree, Jerseys slip on out with ease, that's been my experience (most of the time).
For clarity, the jersey cows had less problems delivering holstein calves than the holstein cows did delivering jersey calves. :nod:
 

Workinonit Farm

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cow pollinater":1wk4wnr5 said:
For clarity, the jersey cows had less problems delivering holstein calves than the holstein cows did delivering jersey calves. :nod:

Okay, I see. That would lead one to believe that the cow, rather than the calf, could be a determining factor.
 
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Fire Sweep Ranch

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OK, for those who feed calves....
I can only get 8 ounces in him, every 4 hours. Is that enough? When I fed him tonight, after an hour, a bunch of milk came running out his nose..... he is breathing, so it is not in his lungs... but I think that it is too much! Am I wrong??? Why is the milk running out of his nose? I really do not think he will make it....
 

Workinonit Farm

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Fire Sweep Ranch":1dpkmh94 said:
OK, for those who feed calves....
I can only get 8 ounces in him, every 4 hours. Is that enough? When I fed him tonight, after an hour, a bunch of milk came running out his nose..... he is breathing, so it is not in his lungs... but I think that it is too much! Am I wrong??? Why is the milk running out of his nose? I really do not think he will make it....

He does appear to be an itty-bitty baby. If is 20 lbs, 8oz, every 4 hrs may just be a bit too much. I would be inclined to drop it down to 4 ozs @ every 4 hrs, or go 6 hrs between feedings.

Milk out his nose, sounds like reflux. Again, possibly too much milk.

He may not make it, but it certainly won't be from a lack of trying.
 
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Fire Sweep Ranch

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Yes, on both (he passed meconium at vet office, and has peed a few times here on the dog bed)
But he just died, so I guess we are done with this chapter..... The milk running out his nose was the tell tale sign,..... then the funny breathing.

Born too early... we just weighed him, 22 pounds.
 

Workinonit Farm

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Fire Sweep Ranch":3m9iewvt said:
Yes, on both (he passed meconium at vet office, and has peed a few times here on the dog bed)
But he just died, so I guess we are done with this chapter..... The milk running out his nose was the tell tale sign,..... then the funny breathing.

Born too early... we just weighed him, 22 pounds.

Sorry that you lost him. 22 pounds, that is tiny! I hope that's the last one you lose.
 

Franke

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That is always hard to deal with. The only early embryo abortion I can really think of in our herd is a set of twins. One red and one black heifer and bull. Two embryos in the straw.
 

Franke

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Our embryologist was in the store today and I asked him about this. He agreeded that the more you handle the embryo the greater the chances to injure or harm the embryo creating greater instances of having premature births. IVF with the greatest and conventional embryos second.
 
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