Abortion, premature calving, hemolytic anemia and fatal hematuria were associated with high levels (titer > 10−4) of antibody to Leptospira interrogans serovar hardjo and with isolation of hardjo in a herd of 265 beef cattle in the Great Clay Belt of northern Ontario. This herd was bred by artificial insemination, after heat detection by vasectomized bulls. The antibody prevalence rate in the herd was 54 to 60% over a five year period. The rate tended to reach 100% by age three years and to be below 5% in yearlings, which were raised in isolation from older cattle. Hardjo was isolated from the urine of a cow that aborted in the eighth month of pregnancy, and from kidneys of yearling steers which had been exposed to an older cow. Maternal antibody levels in calves paralleled those in their dams, protecting calves while they were being naturally exposed to infection, thus contributing to the achievement of balance between host and parasite. A controlled vaccination trial was conducted in 50 initially seronegative yearling steers and heifers. Serological response to vaccine was limited to a maximum agglutinin titer of 10−2 in 8% of vaccinated cattle. Vaccination reduced the infection rate from 86% in the controls to 46% in the treated group, indirectly reducing the number of calves for which colostral antibody against hardjo would be available. A vaccination program was not implemented in the herd. Hardjo infection appeared to die out over a period of six years following the initial five year study period, with antibody prevalence falling from 60% to 0.7% and reactors persisting only in two eight year old cows. Decline in infection was coincident with changes in management which protected heifers from exposure to infection until their third pregnancy, and which probably lowered the reservoir of infection by increased culling from older age classes.
Hardjo; clay; maternal antibody; vaccination; bovine leptospirosis
Sera were collected using a systematic random sampling from 348 cattle herds in Ontario, in proportion to the cattle population in different areas. One cow in five from 296 dairy herds and one in three from 52 beef herds were sampled. The sera were analyzed for prevalence of antibodies to Leptospira interrogans serovar grippotyphosa, hardjo, icterohaemorhagiae and pomona using the microscopic agglutination test. Herd seroprevalence (one or more animals with titer greater than or equal to 80) in beef and dairy herds combined was grippotyphosa 2%, hardjo 13.8%, icterohaemorrhagiae 10.1% and pomona 25.8%; 39% of all herds showed evidence of leptospiral infection with one or more serovars; 44.2% of 52 beef herds had serological evidence of infection with serovar hardjo compared to 8.4% of 296 dairy herds (P less than 0.0001). Seroprevalence of other serovars was not significantly different between beef and dairy herds. The proportion of beef animals seropositive for hardjo and for pomona increased with age, particularly for hardjo; 26.5% of beef animals aged nine years or over were seropositive for hardjo. Dairy animals showed a significant rise of hardjo but not pomona titers with age. The seroprevalence of pomona infection was significantly higher in dairy cattle in eastern Ontario than in other regions. Thirty-four (6.1%) of 553 aborted bovine fetuses had leptospires detected by immunofluorescence techniques. Sixty-five percent of these fetuses were from submissions made between November and January. Leptospires were identified as serovar hardjo by specific immunofluorescence. There appeared, however, to be a paradoxical serological response in that eight aborting cows had antibody titers to pomona rather than hardjo.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
In 1992, significant calf losses occurred between birth and weaning in a 650-cow Saskatchewan beef herd. These losses occurred subsequent to ill-thrift and disease, and every calf necropsied was found to be persistently infected with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV). The objectives of this study were to describe the losses associated with fetal infection with BVDV in this herd and to determine why they occurred. For investigative purposes, blood samples were collected from the entire cow herd and the surviving calves at pregnancy testing in 1992, and tested by virus isolation for BVDV. Between 51 and 71 persistently infected calves were born in 1992. Bovine viral diarrhea virus was only isolated from calves. The only confirmed fetal infections with BVDV were recorded as the birth of persistently infected calves. However, abortions, reduced pregnancy rates, and delayed calvings were also recorded in the cow herd and may have been the result of fetal infections. The herd was monitored again in 1993. Fetal infections with BVDV were recorded as the birth of stunted, deformed, and persistently infected calves. The greatest losses due to fetal infection with BVDV in the 2 years of this study occurred in cows that were 3-years-old at calving (second calves). Bovine viral diarrhea virus appears to have remained endemic in this herd by transmission from persistently infected calves on young 3- and 4-year-old cows to naive calved 2-year-old cows that were mingled with them annually for rebreeding. Significant numbers of the 2-year-old cows remained naive to BVDV, because they were segregated from persistently infected calves at weaning, preventing cross-infection with BVDV.
Abortions, accompanied by placental retention and weight loss, occurred during February and March in 19% of 120 and 10% of 108 beef cows and heifers on two neighboring ranches in southern Saskatchewan. A diagnosis of Campylobacter jejuni abortion was made based on lesions of necrotizing and suppurative placentitis and fetal bronchopneumonia in association with the culture of large numbers of C. jejuni from placentas and fetal tissues.
Campylobacter jejuni was isolated with variable frequency from fecal samples of aborting and healthy cows, and scouring and healthy calves. Campylobacter jejuni serotype 2 (Lior) was isolated from fetal tissues and feces of a scouring calf, whereas C. jejuni serotypes 1, 4, 5 and 99 were isolated from feces of in-contact cattle. We hypothesized that the source and mode of transmission of C. jejuni was fecal contamination of water supplies and feeding grounds by carrier cows or wildlife.
We report herein a survey in which cultures of bovine reproductive tracts for Ureaplasma diversum and mycoplasmas were carried out in order to better understand the role of these organisms in granular vulvitis (GV). Samples cultured were vulvar swabs from clinically normal cows or ones with GV, preputial swabs or raw semen from bulls, and abomasal contents of aborted fetuses.
Ureaplasma diversum was isolated from 104 (43.3%) of 240 dairy cows, 32 (27.1%) of 118 beef cows, 43 (47.2%) of 91 beef heifers, 23 (67.6%) of 34 beef bulls, and three (60%) of five dairy bulls. Mycoplasmas were isolated from 18 (7.5%) dairy cows, two (1.6%) beef cows, three (8.8%) beef bulls, and one dairy bull. No isolation was made from 97 aborted fetuses. For 65 dairy cows and 30 beef heifers with vulvar lesions, the isolation rates for ureaplasmas of 62.5% and 69.7%, respectively, were significantly higher (X2) than those for normal animals (37.5% and 30.3%). On immunofluorescent serotyping of 137 of the 205 isolates, there were 66 in serogroup C (strain T44), 18 in serogroup B (strain D48), eight in serogroup A (strain A417 or strain 2312), 14 cross-reacting, and 31 that were not identified. It was concluded that U. diversum is commonly present in the lower reproductive tract of beef/dairy cattle in Saskatchewan and is associated with granular vulvitis.
The objective of this study was to determine the frequency of infectious bovine abortion and to identify some of its causes, specifically brucellosis, leptospirosis, bovine viral diarrhea, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, and neosporosis. The study was carried out in a dairy herd in the state of Queretaro, Mexico, between September 2002 and March 2003. At the beginning of the study, blood samples were taken from a random 33% of the 300 lactating or pregnant cows; antibodies against Leptospira interrogans were the most commonly identified, in 91% of the 99 samples. Blood samples were also taken 14 to 28 d after the 26 subsequent abortions in the herd in the 6-mo study period, as well as from 22 cows that had not aborted within 5 d after the abortions in the other group. Seroconversion was most frequent for L. hardjo, occurring in 8 (67%) of the 12 dams that aborted after the initial serologic sampling and for which paired serum samples were therefore available. Of the 16 collected fetuses, 10 had histologic lesions suggesting infection in various organs, the features correlating with the serologic results for the dams in 7 cases. Thus, the abortions may have been caused by more than 1 infectious agent.
This study describes the epidemiological investigation of an outbreak of mucosal disease that occurred on a ranch in southwestern Saskatchewan. Over a six-month period during the fall and winter of 1991-1992, in a herd of 515 beef cattle and 96 bison, 20 yearling cattle from a group of 105 housed in one feedlot pen died from mucosal disease. A further eight yearlings were slaughtered for salvage because they were at risk of dying from mucosal disease. Mucosal disease mortalities were the first observed evidence of fetal infections with bovine viral diarrhea virus in this herd. Animals that died from mucosal disease exhibited signs of ill thrift prior to death. Deaths from mucosal disease were confined to the progeny of one herd of beef cows. Following an outbreak of fetal infection with bovine viral diarrhea virus during 1989-1990, at least 28 (22%) of the 128 calves born from this herd of cows in the spring of 1990 were persistently infected with bovine viral diarrhea virus. However, only one calf born from this herd in 1991, and five calves born from all herds in 1992 were persistently infected. Of the five persistently infected calves born in 1992, three were born to persistently infected replacement heifers born in 1990. These heifers calved without assistance in 1992, but only one of their calves survived past three days of age, and it was persistently infected. In January 1992, 82% of the total herd had reciprocal antibody titers to bovine viral diarrhea virus of > or = 1024 which suggested a high level of herd immunity to bovine viral diarrhea virus.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Fifty-one calves from 652 cows and heifers that calved on a Saskatchewan ranch in 1992 were identified as persistently infected with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV), based on virological and necropsy findings. Herd records suggested a further 20 calves that died between birth and weaning were probably also persistently infected. Subsequent to weaning, all surviving persistently infected calves were transferred to one pen in a 10,000 head commercial feedlot, to mimic normal management practice in western Canadian beef herds. On average, when compared with healthy, BVDV-negative herdmates, persistently infected calves were "poor doers" and had poor survivability, with only 4 persistently infected calves surviving to 1 year of age. There was no difference (P > 0.05) in survival between male and female persistently infected calves. The clinical, pathological, and virological findings from these persistently infected calves varied over time. The majority of persistently infected calves had gross pathological lesions at necropsy, consistent with mucosal disease. However, approximately 25% of the persistently infected calves had gross pneumonic lesions at necropsy, with no or only mild lesions of mucosal disease. A wide variety of other lesions were also noted in persistently infected calves at necropsy. Therefore, the possibility that BVDV-induced lesions can be misdiagnosed is very real. The results of this study indicate that persistent infection with BVDV should always be considered in calves with chronic ill thrift, chronic enteritis, or respiratory disease.
Leptospirosis was diagnosed in 11 milkers on 3 dairy farms in a Florida county. Serologic test results identified Leptospira interrogans serovar hardjo as the infecting organism in milkers and cows on one farm, and hardjo was isolated from two cows. On the second farm, serovars hardjo and pomona were implicated serologically in the cows and milkers, and pomona was isolated from two milkers. On the third farm, hardjo infection was identified by serologic tests in one milker, and hardjo was isolated from another.
This was the first isolation of hardjo from a human being reported in the United States. Leptospiral infection is an occupational hazard for dairy milkers in some areas of the United States. Thus, the authors recommend that preventive measures should be taken. These measures should include boots and other protective clothing and protection from urine spray for the eyes and nose.
Leptospiral antibodies were detected in unvaccinated cattle on a 17 000 hectare ranch in the arid southeast region of Alberta. Antibody to serovar hardjo was present before the breeding season in 7% of 42 yearling bulls, 86% of 29 two year old bulls and 5% of 519 cows. Pomona antibody was confined to 3.7% of the cows. Bulls were treated once with dihydrostreptomycin, 25 mg/kg. Bulls and cows were vaccinated twice at a six week interval, with pomona-hardjo-gripptotyphosa bacterin before breeding and cows were revaccinated the next year. Leptospires were demonstrated in urine, kidney and spinal fluid of vaccinated and treated cattle. New infections occurred on range in vaccinates. Eighteen months after the last vaccination, hardjo and pomona antibody prevalences in cows were 3.6 and 3.2% respectively. A group of 250 seronegative cows on the same ranch were not vaccinated. They remained seronegative throughout the 2.5 years of the study. These cows, in contrast to infected groups, were excluded from pastures adjacent to perimeter herds and grazing leases, and they were bred by artificial inseminstion. Rotation through pastures in common with infected groups, and exposure to seropositive heat detector bulls, did not result in seroconversion in these cows. The study showed the potential of range bulls to amplify and transmit hardjo infection, limitations to the value of treatment and vaccination with available agents, and the potential of management practices to maintain an uninfected herd in close proximity to cattle carrying hardjo infection.
Alberta; Canada; beef cattle; hardjo; pomona; leptospirosis
Leptospira interrogans serotype pomona antibody titres of 1:100 or greater were detected in 12.8% of 408 adult horses from seven of eight sampled herds in Saskatchewan. The geographical distribution of the seropositive horses was widespread throughout the agricultural area of the province. The geographical distribution and the cumulative increase in prevalence with age suggested that serotype pomona is enzootic in the equine population of Saskatchewan.
The range of known occurrence of Leptospira interrogans serotype pomona is extended to Alberta in striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis); no evidence of L. sejroe was found. Reacting sera from skunks were confined to the southern portion of Alberta and adjacent Saskatchewan, although a number of reactors were found sufficiently further north in Saskatchewan suggesting that a different mode of infection may be functioning there. Of 95 skunk sera from near a dairy farm infected with serotype pomona 40% were reactors. Of 438 skunk sera from other areas only 5.7% were reactors; that difference was suggestive of transmission from cattle to skunks on the dairy farm. Of 22 skunk sera collected near the dairy farm in summer none were reactors, whereas 52% of skunk sera taken the previous and following winters were. That seasonal difference was not evident among sera from other locations.
The objectives were to describe the pattern of losses through culling, sales of breeding stock, mortality, and disappearance, and to characterize the causes of mortality of cows and replacement heifers of breeding age from Western Canadian beef herds. Cows and replacement heifers from 203 herds were observed for a 1-year period starting June 1, 2001. Veterinarians examined dead animals on-farm using a standard postmortem protocol. The incidence of culling in cows and replacements heifers was 14.3 per 100 cow-years at risk, and the frequencies of sales for breeding stock, mortality, and cows reported missing per cow-years at risk were 4.0, 1.1, and 0.4, respectively. During the study, 355 animals died or were euthanized, 209 were examined postmortem, and the requested tissues were submitted for histopathologic examination from 184. A cause of death was determined for 70% (128/184) of the cows with complete gross postmortem and histopathologic examinations. Hardware disease (traumatic reticuloperitonitis), malignant neoplasia (cancer), calving-associated injury, rumen tympany (bloat), myopathy, and pneumonia accounted for 56% (72/128) of the animals where a cause of death was determined. Twenty-three other causes of death accounted for the remaining 44% (56/128). Factors relating to cow nutrition accounted for 25% of the deaths, emphasizing the importance of feeding management as a determinant of cow health in western Canada.
A cross-sectional bacteriological survey of cattle in West Malaysia revealed 14.4% (32/222) had leptospiral infection. Isolates were obtained from all except one herd with prevalence of infection in herds ranging from 0-44.8%. A small number of buffalo urine samples were examined and all of them were found to be negative. A leptospiral isolate obtained from a bovine kidney proved to be a new serovar of Leptospira interrogans and the name unipertama was assigned to it. Six other leptospiral serovars were isolated, namely canicola, australis, javanica, ballum, pomona and hardjo. All six serovars were isolated for the first time in cattle in Malaysia. Cattle in Malaysia appear to be the maintenance host for serovar hardjo. The presence of the other serovars in cattle was probably due to contact with the maintenance hosts, pigs for serovar pomona and rodents for the other three serovars. It appears that the epidemiology of leptospiral infection in cattle in Malaysia is similar to that reported overseas.
The association between a number of individual animal and herd level factors and calving problems in beef cows and heifers were examined. Data were from the 1987 calving season for a subset of 123 herds which maintained individual-animal records, from a sample of 180 randomly selected Ontario cow-calf herds. The median herd dystocia rate was 5.8% and 24.4% of herds had no dystocias. The median herd stillbirth rate was 2.8%, and 33.3% of herds had no stillbirths. Dystocias and stillbirths were much more common in heifers than in cows. Separate statistical models of dystocia and stillbirth for cows and heifers were created. Dystocia in cows was associated with calf sex, previous calving assistance and large breed type and birth weight. Variations in 1987 cow herd dystocia rates were associated with calving season, location and density, and the herd dystocia rate in 1986. Dystocia in heifers was associated with large breed type and calf birth weight. Herd-level management practices associated with increased heifer dystocia rates included breeding heifers to calve earlier than cows and rearing heifers together with the cow herd. Stillbirths for both cows and heifers were associated with calving assistance, particularly hard assistance. Herd-level management and other factors were unassociated with stillbirths.
Antibodies to Leptospira interrogans serovars hardjo and pomona were present in 8.3% and 0.5% of sera respectively, from adult female cattle in Alberta surveyed in 1984-85. Criterion for a positive serum sample was 50% agglutination at 1/100 dilution in the microscopic agglutination test. A positive herd contained one or more cows with positive serum. Prevalences were calculated on sample sizes that would give 80-95% reliability. Hardjo antibody prevalences and hardjo-positive herd prevalences were 0-53.9% and 0-83.3%, respectively, among 65 municipalities surveyed. Pomona prevalences by comparison were 0-3.4% and 0-11.7% respectively. Hardjo had increased significantly since 1980-82, and antibodies were found throughout the province. Pomona occurred mainly in southeastern Alberta, where it was isolated from cattle, swine and skunks. Hardjo was isolated only from cattle and it was found in many areas. Antibodies to icterohaemorrhagiae were present in 0.4% of sera from parts of Alberta surveyed in 1980; evidence of the presence of leptospires related to this serovar in bovine and porcine urinary tracts was obtained by immunofluorescence.
Hemorrhagic diathesis is one of the most striking manifestations in acute leptospirosis. Hemorrhages are seen in infections due to Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae as well as in those caused by Leptospira pomona. Thrombocytopenia is a constant feature and its finding can be useful for the diagnosis. Attempts to demonstrate the presence of a toxin in leptospires were unsuccessful. A few years ago, a syndrome of disseminated intravascular coagulation was associated with the physiopathogenesis of experimental leptospirosis with L. icterohaemorrhagiae. More recently, this syndrome was identified in cases of human leptospirosis and in hamsters infected with L. pomona. It appears now that other spirochetal infections (borreliosis) have a similar pathogenesis. Nonetheless, many points are still unclear: the primary cause of disseminated intravascular coagulation is unknown, as well as the virulence factors of spirochetes. Some points favor the presence of a toxic factor in leptospires: vascular damage that occurs in the absence of leptospires in damaged areas and the fact that antibiotic therapy is ineffective unless treatment is initiated early in the disease.
Campylobacteriosis (vibriosis) is a venereal disease of cattle caused by the organism Campylobacter fetus subspecies fetus previously known as Vibrio fetus subspecies venerealis. Characteristically the disease causes infertility in the female with an increased number of services necessary for conception. Abortions late in gestation are also occasionally seen. Most cases or outbreaks occur after the recent introduction of an infected bull or cow into a susceptible breeding herd. Often the disease remains undetected until late fall when the livestock owner recognizes that he has a number of females exhibiting estrus. A tentative diagnosis can be made by a study of the herd history and can often be confirmed by laboratory means.
In recent years many advances have been made towards establishing an understanding of the immune response that occurs with infection and systemic immunization. In this review, recommendations are made regarding the appropriate time to immunize the breeding herd against campylobacteriosis.
Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus was eradicated from a 150 cow beef herd at the Animal Diseases Research Institute, Lethbridge, Alberta. Tests used to accomplish this included standard and modified serum-virus neutralization tests and an enzymelinked immunosorbent assay. These results and those of preliminary pilot studies in the herd and in a nonvaccinated, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis-infected 450 cow beef herd suggest that eradication of infectious bovine rhinotracheitis infection can be considered as a practical control alternative to vaccination, and that young animals in purebred herds could be monitored serologically and isolated, to enhance their eligibility for entry into artificial insemination studs or for export.
Infectious bovine rhino-tracheitis virus; seroneutralization tests; enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; vaccination; bovine
An outbreak of leptospirosis due to Leptospira interrogans serovar hardjo in the South Okanagan District of British Columbia was investigated. The infection was associated primarily with bulls, but serovar hardjo was isolated from both bulls and cows at slaughter. Kidney and cerebrospinal fluid were found to contain leptospires, independently of the presence and level of serum agglutinins. Treatment of a bull twice in six months with dihydrostreptomycin failed to diminish an agglutinin titer (1/200) which persisted for two years without reexposure of the bull. A serological survey of cull cows sold through a central auction mart revealed the presence of hardjo agglutinins in 15.4% of 1300 sera representing 163 herds in 20 locations. Thirty percent of these herds contained reactor cattle. The number of premises from which reactor cattle came in a given locality varied from 4% to 67.7%. Measures to control leptospirosis in the study are suggested.
Leptospirosis; infertility; hardjo; kidney; cerebrospinal fluid; Canada; British Columbia
An improved method of preparing bovine urine samples was developed for the rapid, specific, and sensitive detection of Leptospira interrogans serovar hardjo (subtype hardjobovis) DNA by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). A total of 100 leptospire-free cows, 4 experimentally infected cows, and 2 negative control cows were used. PCR results were improved by (i) using 10-ml urine samples instead of 1-ml samples, (ii) adding 10(7) to 10(8) Leptospira biflexa serovar patoc cells as a carrier to each treated sample, (iii) preventing the loss of pelleted leptospires, and (iv) minimizing the presence of PCR-inhibiting factors in the samples. The preparation method enabled us to use the PCR to reproducibly detect as few as 5 to 10 leptospires per ml of urine without the need for dot blot hybridization. In addition, we were able to estimate the number of leptospires shed by experimentally infected cows.
The PanBio Leptospira immunoglobulin M (IgM) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is a commercially available screening test for the diagnosis of acute leptospiral infection. The ability of the test to diagnose early or recent Leptospira interrogans infection was assessed by testing sera with known microagglutination test (MAT) titers to serovars pomona, hardjo, copenhageni, and australis. The IgM ELISA detected all 41 cases of early or recent leptospiral infection (sensitivity, 100%), with a positive ELISA result seen in many cases before MAT antibody titers reached 1:50. Thirty-eight of 41 patients showed seroconversion (fourfold or greater increase in titer by MAT, 2 of 41 patients had a single sample with elevated titer, and 1 patient from whom leptospires were isolated from a blood sample failed to show MAT titers, despite a seroconversion (negative to positive result) in the ELISA. Follow-up sera obtained from 8 of 12 patients (67%) for 3 to 48 months after the acute stage of illness showed persisting IgM antibody. However, the range of levels detected in these samples (maximum ELISA ratio, 2.0) was lower than the range seen when infection was recent. Reactivity in the IgM ELISA was observed for only 1 of 59 serum samples from asymptomatic donors (specificity, 98%) and 16 of 233 serum samples from patients with Ross River virus, brucella, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, mycoplasma, Q-fever, toxoplasma, hepatitis A virus, Treponema pallidum, or Borrelia burgdorferi infection (specificity, 93%), with the majority of these patients showing lower levels of IgM in comparison to those in patients with leptospiral infection. We conclude that this ELISA is sufficiently sensitive for use as an initial screen for leptospiral infections, with subsequent confirmation of positive test results by MAT.
During the summer of 1961 an outbreak of atypical mastitis in a small herd of dairy cattle was investigated. The clinical findings, which included a single abortion, were suggestive of leptospirosis and serological studies indicated that a serotype other than the usual L. pomona was the causative agent. A fastidious leptospire recovered from the urine of one cow has been identified as L. hardjo, a member of the hebdomadis group. The difficulties encountered in isolation, adaptation to standard media and serotyping are described.
Leptospirosis occurred in two veterinarians in Alberta, following their exposure to leptospires of domestic animal origin. The disease at onset resembled “flu” with fever, muscle and joint pain, and lassitude. It progressed through an extremely debilitating period with mild to severe hepatic and renal dysfunction, icterus and hemorrhage in one case, and cerebral meningitis in the other. Both patients were hospitalized for 11 to 14 days, where they responded to supportive and specific antibiotic and steroid therapy (penicillin G 106 IU q.i.d. and steroids, or tetracycline 500 mg q.i.d.). Diagnosis rested in one case on clinical signs and the observation of leptospires in blood and urine. In the other case, a tentative diagnosis of leptospirosis based on history and clinical signs was confirmed by serological test results and by the isolation of Leptospira interrogans serovar pomona from the patient's blood on day 6. Current occurrences of leptospirosis in man are reviewed. Convenient diagnostic methods, treatment and behavioural sequellae of leptospirosis are discussed.
Leptospirosis; man; zoonosis; pomona; diagnosis; doxycycline; occupational hazard
A survey of the efficiency of production of Ontario beef cow-calf herds was conducted using a stratified systematic random sample of Ontario producers. In general, about 87% of females exposed to breeding produced a live calf and 6% of these died before reaching four weeks of age. The herd to herd variation in these rates was quite large, the coefficient of variation being about 17%. The stillbirth rate was 1.7% and the abortion rate 1.2%. In general, herds in northern Ontario and herds whose owners kept breeding and calving records, had reduced livebirth rates, the latter probably reflecting accuracy of data. Herds with a restricted (less than three months) breeding season had increased livebirth rates. Herds using injectable vitamins ADE, and prophylactic antibiotics, had increased neonatal losses. Herds with a restricted calving season (less than or equal to 3 months) and/or feeding free choice salt to cows had decreased neonatal losses. Herdsize and calf mortality rate were directly related, but this did not appear to be due to increased density of cows at calving time. In herds, where calving occurred during the spring, using scour vaccines in calves was associated with increased calf mortality.