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This NebGuide briefly discusses the common infectious diseases that cause abortions in cattle.
"Abortion" is the expulsion of the fetus prior to the end of the normal gestation period. Many abortions occur very early after conception and the embryos or fetuses are so small that they may not be seen. Other abortions may occur near normal calving time and it is difficult to determine whether the cow has aborted or whether a premature birth has occurred.
Abortions have many causes which may include physiological problems (such as hormonal imbalances), metabolic problems, toxicoses and/or infectious diseases caused by protozoa, bacteria or viruses. Abortions, regardless of cause, may be sporadic or they may occur as "storms."
This NebGuide will discuss some of the known protozoal, bacterial and viral diseases that cause abortions in cattle.