How Should Cattle Breeders Address Congenital Abnormalities in Angus Cattle?

Blog | July 1st, 2019

Even though the Angus breed is a reliable, high-producing cattle breed, there are still occurrences of congenital abnormalities or defects periodically. These defects are present at birth and can range from minor to deadly, depending upon their severity. While genetics are the main cause for these abnormalities, environmental factors can also be a cause for them. For these reasons, cattle breeders must be ever-vigilant. We explore this topic in more detail below in order to help you address congenital defects in your own Angus herd effectively.

What Are Congenital Abnormalities?

Congenital defects happen due to the presence of a mutated or abnormal gene. They either impair the overall health of the animal or cause structural or functional changes in it. You can see congenital abnormalities in all the cattle herds, but some breeds are at higher risk for certain ones than other breeds are. We provide you some examples of the ones that affect the Angus cattle in the next section.

Examples of Defects That Occur in Angus Cattle

• Achondroplasia can cause the calf to be aborted at 6 to 8 months after conception. It has a bulldog facial appearance and is smaller in size than it should be normally.

• Hypotrichosismalforms the coloured hair on the body and makes it curly, short and at times sparse. It also causes an abnormal tail switch.

• Osteopetrosis or marble bone disease causes the bone tissue to enter the long bones’ marrow cavity. As a result of this action, the bones become brittle and can break easily.

Determining the Causes of Congenital Abnormalities

When an Angus calf is born with some type of defect, you must first determine if it caused by genetics. Analyse the background for the sire and dam of the calf closely to help with this search. If the abnormality is found to be environmentally caused, though, you need to quickly remedy the situation.

Addressing the Congenital Defects Effectively Helps Maintain the Integrity of the Herd

Extreme weather, infectious diseases or malnutrition are just three environmental reasons for these defects to happen. You need to remove these negative influences as much as humanly possible from your cattle farm. On the other hand, if the sire and dam are found at fault, you should not re-breed them with any other cattle in your herd or you will be increasing the risk of the congenital abnormalities rather than decreasing the risk of them.

For further guidance on how cattle breeders need to address the congenital abnormalities in their Angus herds, contact Southfork Angus. Our livelihood depends upon us addressing and controlling these defects to ensure that they do not negatively affect the quality of our seedstock animals and our entire herd.

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