Perinatal losses in beef herds in Orkney : Assessing incidence and associated pathology from general practice

Norquay, Rhona (2018) Perinatal losses in beef herds in Orkney : Assessing incidence and associated pathology from general practice. MVM(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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There is a long history of high quality beef production in the Orkney Islands; however, perinatal losses (death of a full term calf from birth to 48 hours old) remain a major loss of potential income to producers. In an ideal situation, perinatal losses should occur in <2% of all calving cattle on British beef herds (Caldow et al., 2005). Local veterinary surgeons in Orkney perceived a high incidence of perinatal losses in beef herds which prompted further investigation of the incidence and aetiologies of these losses. A post mortem examination protocol and diagnostic algorithm were developed for the systematic investigation and categorisation of bovine perinatal losses in beef cattle, to allow the establishment of time of death, proximal cause of death and contributing factors to death.
The incidence of perinatal losses and association with specified calving-related factors were described in a convenience sample of beef suckler herds in Orkney (n=11 herds, 1101 cows) (targeted herds) for the 2016 calf crop (1st February to 10th June). The proximal cause of calf death and contributing risk factors to death were determined in beef calves presented to a veterinary practice in Orkney for the 2016 calf crop from both targeted and passive herds. Targeted herds were defined as recruited herds, which were required to submit all perinatal losses. Passive herds were defined as herds submitting calves ad-hoc according to farmer motivation, with no further perinatal loss submission requirements.
A total of 53 calves were submitted for gross post-mortem examination and further testing. Bovine perinatal mortality incidence varied from 1.6% to 12.4% across targeted herds, with an overall incidence of 5.1%, representing a higher incidence than the target for British beef herds. A proximal cause of death was reported for 89% of submissions. Diagnoses for perinatal losses included; anoxia, infection, congenital malformation and traumatocia. In submissions from targeted herds, death due to anoxia developing during stage two of parturition represented the largest cause of death (58%), with varying contributing factors. This was in comparison to submissions from passive herds, where death due to infection represented the largest cause of death (40%). Through application of a systematic diagnostic protocol, this study has indicated that perinatal losses in beef herds are a significant problem and require further industry attention to reduce losses.

Item Type: Thesis (MVM(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Perinatal mortality, stillbirth, incidence, bovine, beef, Orkney, pathology, neonatal.
Subjects: S Agriculture > SF Animal culture > SF600 Veterinary Medicine
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Supervisor's Name: Ellis, Dr. Kathryn
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Miss Rhona Norquay
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-8704
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2018 11:15
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2018 13:38

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