Four Pregnancy Loss Risk Factors and How to Control Them

Pregnancy losses may be a larger problem on most dairies than many realize. This may be because pregnancy losses are only recorded after a pregnancy is confirmed at 30 to 45 days after insemination. However, recent studies have shown that more than 60 percent of all pregnancies are lost prior to term. And 85% of these losses occur prior to day 42, when the embryo becomes a fetus. That means that 51% of all pregnancies are lost before day 42 of the pregnancy. There are many causes for these losses. Known risk factors include: Postpartum diseases and disorders like dystocia, metritis, endometritis, mastitis, fever, ketosis and lameness Heat stress Digestive problems Negative energy balance and excessive weight loss Toxins in feedstuffs such as mycotoxins, gossypol and ergot alkaloids Infectious agents such as IBR, BVD, Campylobacter ssp., Lepta and Neospora caninum. Here are some steps you can take to control or reduce the following risk factors: 1.Heat Abatement One way to reduce these risks factors is with heat abatement. High producing dairy cows are sensitive to heat stress due to their high feed intake and high metabolic rate that generate body heat. Heat stress affects fertilization and early embryonic development. Therefore heat abatement becomes important to help prevent pregnancy losses.  Examples of heat abatement management practices are: Fans for air movement Sprinklers to wet the cows body surface Misters to cool the environment Shade in outdoor lots 2. Improved Health Fertility is strongly related to a cow’s health status. Cows with dystocia, metritis or endometritis are much less likely to have normal ovaria function which effects embryo development. Cows with...