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Laurent Delooz - Regional Association for Animal Health and Identification (ARSIA), Belgium

Laurent Delooz

Regional Association for Animal Health and Identification (ARSIA), Belgium.

What causes ruminant abortion?

A wide range of pathogens – some with zoonotic potential – may be the cause. Accurate identification of the abortive agent is key to establishing a successful treatment program. However, the large number of potential infectious agents makes fast and accurate diagnosis a challenge. Abortion is a very unspecific sign, so it is very difficult to know for which cause we have to perform an analysis.

What are the economic implications of ruminant abortion?

Repeated abortions in a herd can have a severe economic impact on farming operations. Industry experts estimate that the cost associated with abortions typically range between €500-1,000 (US$540 - $1080). Such incidences can lead to decreased milk production and decreased number of herd replacements, while also increasing costs associated with feed, medical treatment, and artificial insemination.

How do you pinpoint the disease-causing pathogen?

We systematically use a panel of diagnostic tests for the 15 most frequently occurring abortive pathogens to screen the samples. Without diagnostic testing, it is impossible to find the aetiology and fight the disease.

Table 1: List of the abortive pathogens and matrices tested to detect them

Pathogen

Fetus/Placenta

Maternal serum

Bulk milk

Anaplasma phagocytophilum*

o

o

Bacillus licheniformis

o

Bluetongue virus*

o

o

BoHV4*

o

o

Brucella sp.*

o

o

BVD*

o

o

o

Campylobacter fetus ssp.*

o

Chlamydia abortus*

o

o

Coxiella burnetii*

o

o

o

Leptospira spp.*

o

o

o

Listeria monocytogenes*

o

Mycosis (Aspergillus, Candida,…)

o

Neospora caninum*

o

o

Opportunistic bacteria (Trueperella, E. coli,…)

o

Parachlamydia acanthamoebae

o

Salmonella sp.*

o

o

o

Schmallenberg virus*

o

o

Tritrichomonas fetus fetus*

o

Ureaplasma diversum

o

Yersinia pseudotuberculosis

o

*Diagnostic test kits available from Thermo Fisher Scientific (thermofisher.com/animalhealth)

This information was first published in International Dairy Topics, Volume 16 Number 1

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