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Table 4 Standard and additional samples to collect from aborted and stillborn foetuses* for the investigation of infectious, nutritional and genetic causes of death

From: Investigation of bovine abortion and stillbirth/perinatal mortality - similar diagnostic challenges, different approaches

For investigation of Standard samples Ancillary samples Comments
Failure of passive transfer of immunoglobulins Perinate blood NA** Only test calves > 24 h old, e.g. ZSTT
Foetopathogenic bacteria and fungi (e.g. Aspergillus spp., B. licheniformis, L. monocytogenes, T. pyogenes, S. Dublin) Foetal stomach contents (FSC), Placenta Foetal lung, liver, gall bladder, kidney, brain, eyelid.
Dam vaginal swab, placentome, blood.
Ancillary samples where FSC/placenta unavailable/contaminated.
Neospora caninum Foetal brain, serum Foetal heart.
Placenta.
Dam/cohort bloods
Fresh brain/placenta for PCR, fixed brain or heart/placenta for histopathology if PCR positive
Leptospira Hardjo Foetal kidney, serum Dam/cohort bloods Foetal sample dependent upon laboratory tests
BVDv Foetal ear, spleen, thymus, serum Foetal kidney. Dam/cohort bloods Foetal sample dependent upon laboratory tests
BHV-I Foetal liver, serum. Foetal kidney. Placenta. Dam/cohort bloods Foetal PCR/histopathology preferred tests
Micronutrient deficiencies Foetal thyroid, liver, heart, rib Foetal kidney. Dam/cohort bloods Thyroid for iodine assay/histopath; liver/kidney for selenium assay, heart for histopath; bone for manganese assay
Gross lesions (e.g. foetal pneumonia) Affected foetal organ As required As appropriate (e.g. bacteriology, histopath)
Genetic congenital defect Foetal muscle, skin Dam hair follicles Test for infectious teratogens also (e.g. BVDv, SBV)
  1. *Standard and ancillary testing protocols are dependent upon local laboratory SOPs. Bacteriology/mycology (culture, stains, wet preparations) and serology are generally routine tests for sporadic cases while other tests (e.g. histopathology, PCR, FAT, IHC, micronutrient, DNA assay) can be added for multiple losses or at the discretion of the pathologist. Maternal vaccinal status affects use and choice of serology tests, ** NA - not applicable