Abortion and embryo / fetal loss

Abortion means the premature expulsion of dead or non-viable fetuses. Embryo loss occurs when there is death of embryos followed by absorption, or expulsion. Healthy embryos grow into fetuses.

There is often alarm when an abortion is seen but it should be remembered that there can be loss of embryos at any time during early pregnancy, which often go unseen.

Embryo loss or abortion can be considered in three main groups

– During the period from fertilization to implantation
– During the period of implantation at around 14 days post-service to 35 days.
– During the period of maturation, which results in premature farrowing. It can be seen therefore that losses can take place at any stage from approximately 14 days after mating, when implantation has taken place, through to 110 days of pregnancy.

Records help to identify reproductive problems. These should include information on:

– Age (or parity) profile of the herd.
– Failure to come on heat.
– Culling rates.
– Bleeding and discharges from the vulva.
– Lameness.
– Litter sizes.
– Mastitis, lack of milk, swollen udders.
– Deaths and their likely causes.
– Poor conformation.
– Prolapse of the vagina or rectum.
– Savaging.


– The delivery of a premature litter with or without mummified pigs.
– Mucus, blood, pus discharges from the vulva.
– Sow may be ill or normal.
– Symptoms of a specific disease.
– Usually less than 2% of sows affected, however acute PRRS may cause rates to rise to 20% or more.

Causes / Contributing factors

Infectious Causes (common ones). Consider the following:

– Aujeszky’s disease.
– Influenza virus.
– PRRS (Blue ear disease).
– Leptospira.
– Specific bacteria, E. coli, klebsiella, streptococci, pseudomonas.
– Parasite burdens.
– Cystitis, nephritis.

Non Infectious Causes

– Seasonal infertility.
– Decreasing daylight length, poor lighting.
– Low temperatures.
– Chilling, draughts.
– Poor nutrition.
– Moldy feeds.
– Contaminated water.
– Stress.
– No boar contact.
– Vaccine reaction.
– Lameness.
– Poor hygiene.


Fresh, aborted fetuses should be submitted to a competent diagnostic laboratory where examinations can be carried out for evidence of viral and bacterial infections, together with histological examinations and toxic studies.

To avoid abortion/ embryo loss, providing enough vitamins A, D, E is highly recommended, especially for pregnant sows. APA Vitaject I (contains Vitamin A 10,000,000 UI, Vitamin D3 2,000,000 UI, Vitamin E 2,000 UI) is a very good source of ADE, which helps to treat female infertility, increase conception rate, enhance milk yield and immune system. Should be used before farrowing 6 days

From: http://www.thepigsite.com

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