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Abortions in cattle may result from a broad range of causes. Abortions may be idiopathic (occurring without known cause) or the result of metabolic or hormonal abnormalities, nutritional deficiencies, trauma, toxicities, or infectious processes. For this presentation, information collected from diagnostic laboratories in South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming has been summarized in order to distill this broad subject down to its most important aspects. This presentation will examine the various infectious causes of abortion and focus on those diseases which diagnostic results indicate are the most important contagious causes of abortion.
Before beginning the discussion of specific causes of abortion, it will be of value to understand some basic concepts concerning abortion in cattle.