University of California

Epizootic bovine abortion


D. G. Mckercher
P. C. Kennedy
J. A. Howarth

Authors Affiliations

D. G. McKercher is Professor of Veterinary Virology and Virologist in the Experiment Station; P. C. Kennedy is Associate Professor of Veterinary Pathology and Associate Veterinarian in the Experiment Station; J. A. Howarth is Associate Professor of Veterinary Medicine and Associate Veterinarian in the Experiment Station, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 17(6):6-8. DOI:10.3733/ca.v017n06p6. June 1963.

PDF of full article, Cite this article


Epizootic bovine abortion has caused heavy calf losses—as high as 65% in initial pregnancies—in California beef herds since 1954. Affected cows show no signs of illness, but edema, hemorrhage, and liver damage are characteristic findings in the fetus. The cause of the disease is a large virus related to the psittacosis (parrot fever) virus. There are indications that an immunity develops in cattle which abort, but attempts to prevent the disease by vaccination have not been successful thus far. Antibiotic therapy is not a practical control measure. How the virus is maintained is not yet known. If it is proven to be venereally transmitted, artificial insemination may offer the only hope of bringing the disease under control.

Mckercher D, Kennedy P, Howarth J. 1963. Epizootic bovine abortion. Hilgardia 17(6):6-8. DOI:10.3733/ca.v017n06p6
Webmaster Email: wsuckow@ucanr.edu