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Abortion in Cattle

Clell V. Bagley DVM, Utah State University


Abortion is the premature expulsion of the fetus from the dam and usually occurs because the fetus has died in-utero. If death occurs at 1-2 months of gestation, it is usually termed “early embryonic death.” This embryo or early stage fetus is usually just resorbed by the uterus with no external signs evident that the pregnancy has terminated. After 2 months of gestation, there is usually the expulsion of the fetus and placental tissues. These may not be seen, however, when the cattle are maintained on pasture, field or range. When the fetus is near term and born dead it is often called “stillborn.”