Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Termination of pregnancy

Synonym(s): induction, abortion,

Contributor(s): Adam Dunstan-Martin , Bob Robinson

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Pregnancy in cattle

  • Pregnancy is generally considered to be a positive thing in cattle production.
  • Terminating a pregnancy therefore should never be performed lightly.
  • Increasingly, ethical concerns about late termination of pregnancy have reduced late term abortions, particularly for production reasons.
  • The normal gestation period for cattle is approximately 280 days.
  • Gestation length is breed dependent with the sire’s breed determining gestation length.
    • Generally, late-maturing (continental) cattle breeds have longer gestation length than early-maturing (British) cattle breeds that in turn have a longer gestation than dairy breeds.
  • Gestation length is also affected by calf sex (bull calves shorter gestation than heifer calves), parity of dam (heifers shorter gestation length than cows), and number of fetuses present (multiple fetuses have shorter duration compared to singletons).

Indications to terminate cattle pregnancy

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Endocrinology of pregnancy

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Treatments to terminate cattle pregnancy

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Early (day 7 until 4-5 months) termination of pregnancy - abortion

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Mid to late (4-5 months until 8 months) termination of pregnancy - abortion

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Induction of parturition (over 8 months)

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Barth A D (2006) Induction of parturition in cattle. Large Animal Veterinary Round 6, 2.
  • Lewing F, Proulx J & Mapletoft R (1985) Induction of parturition in the cow using clopostenol and dexamethasone in combination. Canadian Veterinary Journal 26, 317-326 PubMed.
  • Barth A D, Adams W M, Manns J G, Kennady K D, Sydenham R G & Mapletoft R J (1981) Induction of abortion on feedlot heifers with a combination of cloprostenol and dexamethasone. Canadian Veterinary Journal 22, 62-64 PubMed.


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