Abortion investigation

Abortion investigation requires a range of tests, specific for the disease agents most commonly associated with production animals. For the best diagnostic outcome, please discuss a diagnostic plan with the duty pathologist by contacting Customer Service.

  1. Abortion in cattle
  2. Abortion in horses
  3. Abortion in pigs
  4. Abortion in sheep and goats

Abortion in cattle

Description

Generally, in more than 60% of cases investigated for abortion, the underlying cause is attributed to an unidentified genetic or environmental factor including congenital abnormalities, stress, twinning and toxic factors.

Common infectious causes of abortion in New South Wales are bacterial infections (Campylobacter, Leptospira, Salmonella, Listeria, miscellaneous bacteria), viral (Pestivirus), protozoal (Neospora) or fungal (Aspergillus, Mortierella) infections. These agents may affect the dam or the foetus. Viral infections (Pestivirus, Akabane) may cause congenital abnormalities. Clinical signs may be minimal. Necropsy findings vary with no visible abnormalities to wide range of pathological abnormalities.

Diagnosis and tests available

Diagnosis

For the best diagnostic outcome, please discuss a diagnostic plan with the duty pathologist.

Tests available

Test

Sample(s) required

Days of the week test is conducted

Turnaround time1

Akabane ELISA

Clotted blood (red top tube)

Batch tested weekly

Up to 7 days

Bacterial culture (routine)

Fresh tissue or post mortem swab/sample

Monday – Saturday2

5 days

Bacterial culture (selective)

Fresh tissue or post mortem swab/sample

Monday – Saturday2

7 days

Histopathology examination

Fixed tissue

Monday – Friday

Up to 5 days

IgG AGID

Clotted blood (red top tube) or foetal fluid

Batch tested weekly

Up to 7-10 day

Leptospirosis MAT

Clotted blood (red top tube) or foetal fluid

Wednesday & Friday

Up to 5 days

Necropsy examination

Aborted foetus and placenta

Monday – Saturday2

Same day

Neospora ELISA

Clotted blood (red top tube)

Batch tested weekly

Up to 7 day

Pestivirus AGID

Clotted blood (red top tube), pericardial or pleural fluid

Tuesday & Friday

3-5 days

Pestivirus antigen ELISA (PACE)

Clotted blood (red top tube) or fresh tissue

Batch tested 2-3 times weekly

5-7 days

Pestivirus PCR

Clotted blood (red top tube), or EDTA blood (purple top tube), bulk milk, fresh tissue or swab

According to demand

2-3 working days

Toxoplasma latex test

Clotted blood (red top tube)

Monday – Friday

5 days

1 Turnaround times are provided as a guide only. For specific information about your submission please contact Customer Service.
2 Prior approval of delivery and testing on Saturday is required. Please contact Customer Service on 1800 675 623 to seek approval.

Specimen requirements

Aborted foetus

  • Whole foetus and foetal membrane
    • Submit chilled in an insulated container

Blood (with anti-coagulant)

  • Blood from aborting animals and unsuckled neonates
    • Submit chilled
    • Clearly document each animal and identify which animal aborted on the specimen advice form

Blood (without anti-coagulant)

  • 10 ml of blood from aborting animals, unsuckled neonates and from five to ten in-contact animals collected in plain red top tube
    • Submit chilled
    • Clearly document each animal and identify which animal aborted on the specimen advice form

Foetal fluid

  • Pericardial or pleural fluid from foetus or unsuckled calf
  • Fresh foetal stomach contents, placenta, liver, lung and spleen
    • Submit chilled
    • Detecting immunoglobulins in foetal fluids after 120 days of gestation, or in unsuckled neonates, may indicate abortion due to an infectious agent

Fresh tissue

  • For pestivirus antigen ELISA (PACE) spleen, lung, lymph node and ear notch are s
    • Submit chilled

Milk

  • Bulk milk
    • Submit chilled

Swab

  • Nasal swab collected from affected animal
    • Send in viral transport media (PBGS)

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Abortion in horses

Description

Common infectious agents responsible for equine abortion include Streptococcus spp., Staphylococcus spp., Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp., Klebsiella spp., leptospirosis, equine herpesvirus and fungi.

Non-infectious causes may include maternal pyrexia and malnutrition, cord compression abnormalities, endocrine dysfunction, endometrial incompetence and immunological factors.

The diagnosis of abortion in horses can be greatly enhanced by the provision of a clear history and the submission of appropriate samples.

Recent investigations suggest that Chlamydia psittaci could be associated with equine abortion.

Diagnosis and tests available

Diagnosis

For the best diagnostic outcome, please discuss a diagnostic plan with the duty pathologist.

Tests available

Test

Sample(s) required

Days of the week test is conducted

Turnaround time1

Bacterial culture (antibiotic sensitivity)

Fresh tissue or post mortem swab/sample

Monday – Saturday2

3 days

Bacterial culture (routine)

Fresh tissue or post mortem swab/sample

Monday – Saturday2

5 days

Bacterial culture (selective)

Fresh tissue or post mortem swab/sample

Monday – Saturday2

7 days

Histopathology examination

Fixed tissue

Monday – Friday

Up to 5 days

Necropsy examination

Aborted foetus and placenta

Monday – Saturday2

Same day

Equine herpesvirus – 1 PCR

Fresh tissue

According to demand

2-3 working days

Equine herpesvirus – 4 PCR

Fresh tissue

According to demand

2-3 working days

1 Turnaround times are provided as a guide only. For specific information about your submission please contact Customer Service.
2
Prior approval of delivery and testing on Saturday is required. Please contact Customer Service on 1800 675 623 to seek approval.

Specimen requirements

Aborted foetus

  • Whole foetus and foetal membrane
    • Submit chilled in an insulated container

Blood (without anti-coagulant)

  • 10 ml of blood from aborting animals into an EDTA tube
    • Submit chilled

Fresh tissue

  • Placenta, liver, adrenal gland, heart, lung, kidney, brain, spleen and stomach contents
    • Submit chilled
  • Pericardial, thoracic or peritoneal fluid and heart blood from foetus
    • Submit chilled

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Abortion in pigs

Description

Common causes of abortion in swine in New South Wales include leptospirosis, streptococcal infections and toxaemic conditions in the sow. Other possible causes include genetic factors, oestrogenic feeds,  bacteria diseases (Erysipelas), viruses (encephalomyocarditis (EMC) virus, porcine parvovirus, porcine circovirus (PCV2), Bungowannah virus) and vitamin A deficiency.

Abortion should be differentiated from parturient and immediate post parturient deaths due to hypoxia and managerial factors such as injury or stress, smothering, high or low ambient temperatures. Parvovirus infection causes foetal mummification and parturient deaths; it does not normally cause abortion.

Detection of immunoglobulins in foetal fluids after 70 days of gestation may indicate abortion due to infectious agent.

Diagnosis and tests available

Diagnosis

For the best diagnostic outcome, please discuss a diagnostic plan with the duty pathologist.

Tests available

Test

Sample(s) required

Days of the week test is conducted

Turnaround time1

Bacterial culture (antibiotic sensitivity)

Fresh tissue or post mortem swab/sample

Monday – Saturday2

3 days

Bacterial culture (routine)

Fresh tissue or post mortem swab/sample

Monday – Saturday2

5 days

Bacterial culture (selective)

Fresh tissue or post mortem swab/sample

Monday – Saturday2

7 days

Bungowannah virus PCR

Fresh tissue

According to demand

Up to 1 week

Encephalomyocarditis virus isolation

Clotted bood (red top tube)

According to demand

2-3 working days

Encephalomyocarditis VNT

Clotted blood (red top tube)

Batch tested Wednesday & Friday

1-2 weeks

Histopathology examination

Fixed tissue

Monday – Friday

Up to 5 days

Leptospirosis dark field microscopy and smear (preparation and examination)

Foetal fluid

Monday – Friday

1 day

Leptospiosis MAT

Clotted blood (red top tube)

Wednesday & Friday

Up to 5 days

Necropsy examination

Aborted foetus and placenta

Monday – Saturday2

Same day

Porcine cirovirus 2 PCR

Fresh tissue

According to demand

2-3 working days

Porcine IgG AGID

Foetal fluid

According to demand

7-10 days

Porcine parvovirus PCR

Fresh tissue

According to demand

2-3 working days

1 Turnaround times are provided as a guide only. For specific information about your submission please contact Customer Service.
2 Prior approval of delivery and testing on Saturday is required. Please contact Customer Service on 1800 675 623 to seek approval.

Specimen requirements

Aborted foetus

  • Whole foetus and foetal membrane
    • Submit chilled in an insulated container

Blood (with anti-coagulant)

  • 10 ml of blood from aborting animals collected into a plain red top tube
    • Submit chilled

Blood (without anti-coagulant)

  • 10 ml of blood from aborting animals collected into an EDTA tube
    • Submit chilled

Fresh tissue

  • Placenta, liver, heart, lung, kidney, brain, spleen, pericardial/pleural fluid and stomach contents
    • Submit chilled

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Abortion in sheep and goats

Description

Common causes in New South Wales include toxoplasmosis, campylobacteriosis, listeriosis , brucellosis, Border disease, Akabane virus and pasteurellosis. Other causes include chlamydiosis and conditions causing clinical illness in the ewe or doe, e.g. salmonellosis, hypocalcaemia, pregnancy toxaemia, septicaemia. Habitual abortion can occur in Angora does.

Diagnosis and tests available

Diagnosis

For the best diagnostic outcome, please discuss a diagnostic plan with the duty pathologist.

Tests available

Test

Sample(s) required

Days of the week test is conducted

Turnaround time1

Akabane ELISA

Clotted blood (red top tube)

Batch tested weekly

Up to 7 days3

Akabane VNT

Clotted blood (red top tube)

Batch tested on Thursday

1-2 weeks

Bacterial culture (antibiotic sensitivity)

Fresh tissue or post mortem swab/sample

Monday – Saturday2

3 days

Bacterial culture (routine)

Fresh tissue or post mortem swab/sample

Monday – Saturday2

5 days

Bacterial culture (selective)

Fresh tissue or post mortem swab/sample

Monday – Saturday2

7 days

Histopathology examination

Fixed tissue

Monday – Friday

Up to 5 days

Leptospirosis MAT

Clotted blood (red top tube)

Wednesday & Friday

Up to 5 days

Necropsy examination

Aborted foetus and placenta

Monday – Saturday2

Same day

Pestivirus AGID

Clotted blood (red top tube), or foetal fluid

Tuesday & Friday

3-5 days

Pestivirus antigen ELISA (PACE)

Clotted blood (red top tube), lithium heparin blood (green top tube), EDTA blood (purple top tube) or fresh tissue

Batch tested 2-3 times weekly

5-7 days

Pestivirus PCR

Clotted blood (red top tube), or EDTA blood (purple top tube) or fresh tissue

According to demand

2-3 working days

Toxoplasma latex test

Clotted blood (red top tube)

Monday – Friday

5 days

1 Turnaround times are provided as a guide only. For specific information about your submission please contact Customer Service.
2 Prior approval of delivery and testing on Saturday is required. Please contact Customer Service on 1800 675 623 to seek approval.
3 Confirmatory testing may affect turnaround time.

Specimen requirements

Aborted foetus

  • Whole foetus and foetal membrane
    • Submit chilled in an insulated container

Blood (with anti-coagulant)

  • 10 ml of blood from aborting animals and unsuckled neonates
    • Collected in plain red top tube
    • Submit chilled
    • Clearly document each animal and identify which animal aborted on the specimen advice form

Blood (without anti-coagulant)

  • 10 ml of blood from aborting animals, unsuckled neonates and from five to ten in-contact animals
    • Collected in plain red top tube
    • Submit chilled
    • Clearly document each animal and identify which animal aborted on the specimen advice form

Foetal fluids

  • Fresh foetal stomach contents
    • Submit chilled
  • Pericardial or pleural fluid from foetus or unsuckled lamb/kid
    • Submit chilled

Fresh tissue

  • Fresh placenta, liver, heart, lung, kidney, brain, spleen
    • Submit chilled