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A descriptive retrospective study on mortality and involuntary culling in beef and dairy cattle production systems of Western Australia (1981–2018)

Aleri, J.W., Lyons, A., Laurence, M.ORCID: 0000-0003-1215-2848, Coiacetto, F.ORCID: 0000-0002-9306-8017, Fisher, A.D., Stevenson, M.A., Irons, P.C. and Robertson, I.D.ORCID: 0000-0002-4255-4752 (2021) A descriptive retrospective study on mortality and involuntary culling in beef and dairy cattle production systems of Western Australia (1981–2018). Australian Veterinary Journal, 99 (9). pp. 395-401.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1111/avj.13096
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Abstract

Identifying and quantifying the relative frequency of involuntary losses is an essential first step in developing fit-for-purpose herd health programmes. The objective of this study was to provide an estimate of the relative frequency of reasons for mortality among south-west Western Australian beef and dairy cattle, based on necropsy findings from a university-based veterinary pathology referral centre over 38 years. A total of 904 cattle were submitted for postmortem examination throughout the study period. Gastrointestinal, cardiopulmonary and reproductive conditions were the most common causes of mortality in cattle submitted for necropsy at Murdoch University for the period 1981–2018. In dairy cattle, the common problems were gastrointestinal (bloat, abomasal displacements) 18% (59/320), cardiovascular (traumatic reticulo-pericarditis) 9% (30/320) and respiratory conditions (pneumonia) 8% (27/320). In beef cattle, the most common conditions were gastrointestinal (bloat, rumen acidosis) 11% (39/358), reproductive (metritis) 11% (38/358), cardiovascular (traumatic reticulo-pericarditis) 7% (25/358), respiratory (pneumonia) 7% (24/358), lameness (fractures) 6%, (21/358) and hepatobiliary conditions (blue-green algae poisoning, hepatotoxicity) 6% (21/358). Selection bias and missing data were potential confounders in this study. Although necropsy investigations provide useful information on animal mortalities and avenues for future herd health programmes, there is a need to standardise data capture methods and disease definition criteria, and conduct more detailed recording of data both at the farm level and at necropsy diagnostic centres.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Veterinary Medicine
Centre for Animal Production and Health
Food Futures Institute
Publisher: Australian Veterinary Association
Copyright: © 2021 Australian Veterinary Association
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/61339
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