Abortion in dairy cows is commonly defined as a loss of the fetus between the age of 42 days and approximately 260 days. At an estimated cost of $500 to $900 per abortion (the cost of an abortion increases the later in the lactation it occurs) and an incident rate of approximately 3%-5%, this can present a challenge to herd profitability.
Diagnosing abortions is a significant management challenge.
Electronic animal monitoring can help reduce the challenge of diagnosing abortions. The Suspected Abortion report lists those cows that have been confirmed pregnant that have showed a heat. The logic is simple, pregnant cows do not show heats.
Sample of Suspected Abortion report.
It must be noted that not all cows listed on the report have aborted. An animal monitoring system monitors secondary signs of estrus. There is always a possibility that the cow went through an event that caused her to increase her activity level but was not in estrus. At times, a detailed inspection of the listed cow’s various behaviors graphs will weed out these false positives. Other times, a physical inspection would be required.
Activity graph of a cow that aborted. Icon of a cow mounting another cow indicates a system identified heat, the blue plus sign indicates a positive pregnancy check and a red doctor’s bag indicates a health event.
Going through the Suspected Abortion report on a weekly basis or having your monitoring system automatically assign suspect abortion cows to your Vet Check report allows more flexibility in profitable decision making. As there are few things more disappointing than finding an open cow at dry-off.