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Farmers’ and veterinary surgeons’ knowledge, perceptions and attitudes towards cattle abortion investigations in the UK
  1. Georgiana Clothier,
  2. Wendela Wapenaar,
  3. Eva Kenny and
  4. Emily Windham
  1. School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington, Leicestershire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Georgiana Clothier, School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington LE12 5RD, Leicestershire, UK; svygc1{at}


Background Cattle abortion can significantly affect farm productivity and be an important cause of economic loss on beef and dairy farms.

Method A questionnaire-based survey, completed by 379 farmers and 134 veterinary surgeons from the UK and Ireland, investigated motivators and barriers towards abortion investigations and perceptions of cattle abortion. Participants were recruited using convenience sampling.

Results Veterinary surgeons underestimated farmers’ willingness to pay for an abortion investigation; 54 per cent of veterinary surgeons expected farmers to pay under 100£/€, compared with 46 per cent of farmers. Most farmers (27 per cent) were willing to pay 101–250£/€ and 12 per cent above 500£/€. The incidence threshold warranting abortion investigation was 4 per cent for veterinary surgeons and lower for farmers at 2 per cent, especially beef farmers, where 48 per cent indicated a 1 per cent incidence required attention. Seventy-five per cent of dairy farmers used more than 2 per cent as their threshold. Eighty-four per cent of veterinary surgeons and 95 per cent of farmers agreed on the same abortion definition.

Conclusion Veterinary surgeons and farmers agree on the definition of abortion; however, veterinary surgeons underestimate the willingness of farmers to engage with and pay for abortion investigations. A more proactive approach from veterinary surgeons, including improved communication and transparency around costs, expectations and clients’ goals can improve abortion investigation outcomes.

  • abortion
  • cattle
  • disease investigation
  • health
  • surveys
  • veterinary profession
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  • Funding This research project was supported by The School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval This research project received ethical approval from the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science Ethics Committee, University of Nottingham, UK and followed the CONSORT guidelines.38

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author (Georgiana Clothier) on reasonable request.

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