The cost of the safe disposal of the carcase of an aborted calf
will be waived by SAC Veterinary Services when a blood sample
from the affected cow is submitted along with the foetus to one
of its eight diagnostic laboratories.
This initiative was agreed with the Scottish Government to promote
the investigation of causes of abortion in cattle herds. Thus the
charge for all tests on the foetus, placenta and maternal blood
sample is capped at £49 (plus VAT).
The cost of a single abortion
in a dairy herd is estimated at over £650.
In a beef suckler herd, the cost of between £200 and £300,
can be doubled or trebled for valuable pedigree stock. SAC advises
that all bovine abortions are fully investigated so the appropriate
action can be taken to prevent serious economic loss to the herd.
- The investigation of bovine abortion outbreaks is now the principal
means of monitoring beef suckler herds for brucellosis. In April
routine blood testing for Brucellosis, a cause of abortion in
cattle was withdrawn by the British Government. A wide range
of disease agents may cause cattle to abort. These include BVD,
salmonella, Neospora, Leptospira hardjo, IBR virus, Campylobacter,
Bacillus species and some fungi. Diagnosis requires laboratory
- In the event of a cow aborting in a beef or dairy
herd the owner must inform his local Animal Health Office. Normally
the local veterinary surgeon will visit suckler herds to collect
samples from the affected cow. These samples will be used to
screen for evidence of Brucellosis (a notifiable disease). This
visit and examination is paid for by the Government.
- The cause
of the abortion may pose a risk to human health. Therefore when
an abortion occurs in a cattle herd the foetus and much of the
afterbirth as possible should be gathered into a stout plastic
sack or other receptacle. Use disposable gloves to handle abortion
material. The SAC Veterinary Services laboratory will dispose
of this material free of charge as part of the abortion investigation.
charge of £49 (plus VAT) covers the charge made to
the farmer's veterinary surgeon for all the laboratory tests
undertaken on the foetus, placenta and blood sample of the affected
cow. The farmer's veterinary surgeon may add a fee for his professional
advice and other services.
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