June 2021


What could be causing abortions that are not seasonal and that are not affecting a certain phase of gestation in particular?



Abortions are the intrauterine death of fetuses (involving loss of gestation between days 35 and 110). All of the fetuses are expelled. The percent of abortions among serviced sows should be less than 2%. When this limit is surpassed and we have ruled out seasonal problems and see the abortions are not concentrated in a certain phase of gestation, the possible causes are:

  • Inappropriate installation designs, where there is competition for the feeder or the sleeping space. Abortions can occur throughout the gestation period.
  • There are some infections that can produce abortions at any time throughout the gestation, with or without systemically affecting the sow. For example, this is the case for influenza, Aujeszky's disease, brucellosis, ASF, CSF, etc.
  • Toxicity, either via the feed or by other means. This can also occur at any time during gestation. Mycotoxins have often been blamed for causing abortions although there is no direct evidence (but they could play an indirect role). High concentrations of carbon monoxide (> 100 ppm) may cause fetal death.
  • Catabolic state: low feed intake or going off feed.

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Types of gestation losses that can lower the farrowing rate, detailing the different types of returns to estrus based on when they occur.

Enric Marco