Risk factor analysis for beef calves requiring assisted vaginal delivery in Great Britain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Dystocia has serious consequences for both mother and offspring. This study therefore aimed to identify risk factors for dystocia in vaginally delivered spring born beef calves in Great Britain. Methods: Information on calving assistance, calf sex, birthweight, breed, twinning, dam parity and body condition score (BCS) was collected from 1,131 calves across 84 GB farms. Variables were modelled against calving assistance as a binary response variable. Results: Twins (OR = 5.45), Charolais calves (OR = 3.24), calves from primiparous dams (OR = 5.75) and male calves (OR = 1.75) were at significantly increased risk of requiring calving assistance across all models. Calves born to cows classed as thin (BCS <2.5/5) were identified in the univariate analysis and in one of the multivariate models (OR = 1.92) as having an increased likelihood of dystocia. Conclusions: Most beef herds have limited scope to manage cows on the basis of fetal gender and number. However calf breed, dam body condition and management of primiparous dams can be manipulated to reduce the risk of dystocia and improve supervision. Poor body condition is a novel risk factor for dystocia in beef cows and worthy of further investigation.  
Original languageEnglish
JournalVeterinary Record
Early online date26 Jan 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jan 2021

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