Induction of Parturition as a tool to avoid dystocia through birth monitoring and to prevent dystocia due to extended gestation! Dystocia is a problem especially for better-muscled beef cattle. The size of the calf can be in disproportion to the size of the dam. A cow that carries the calf longer than the due-date is on greater risk of complications at birth, too. Every day the pregnancy lasts longer the calf is growing. The complications experienced by birth of large calves range from obstetrics to the loss of a cow and calf. In order to avoid any health problems for cow or calf, rapid intervention and therefore monitoring of the calving are adequate means.
In order to facilitate birth-monitoring, induction of parturition and thus knowing the time more precisely can be useful. The use of dexamethasone isolated or in combination with prostaglandin two days in advance of due-date didn’t have negative consequences to calving ease, mortality or morbidity of the calves, need for assistance or incidence of retained fetal membranes.
Planned calving makes it easier to monitor and bundle calving for the entire herd. Supervision of the calving gives the opportunity to interact early in case obstetrics, a vet or assistance for the calf is needed. Dexamethasone is known to lead to suppression of the immune system this state around parturition can lead to uterine disease. When prostaglandin is included in the protocol, the treatment may lead to slower resumption of ovarian cyclicity.
An advantage of this idea is the plannable bundled calving of the herd. However, a bundled calving can be reached by a planned mating season or estrus synchronisation; good supervision of birth can be reached by use of other tools (see Prediction of parturition).
Savc, M. et al. (2016): The effect of parturition induction treatment on interval to calving, calving ease, postpartum uterine health, and resumption of ovarian cyclicity in beef heifers; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.theriogenology.2015.12.026
This Research Innovation has an Impact on:
- Socio-economic resilience: The induction of parturition means extra costs. However, in breeds / herds with a dystocia problem it can help to save lives.
- Animal health and welfare: The Veterinary costs may increase for the induction. These costs may help to decrease costs on another point (labour time for obstetrics, assistance because of low vitality in calves, less fertility of cows after dystocia
- Production efficiency and meat quality: Fertility after induced parturition is higher than after dystocia, supervision of the calving enables early intervention if needed and thus increases animal health and welfare.
- Environmental sustainability: A decreasing number of dystocia leads to more fertility for next parity and thus less early culling. The increased longevity of the cows decreases the number of cows needed, which decreases the carbon footprint of suckler herds.