Objective—To develop a method for percutaneous
collection of fetal fluid from cattle in the late stages of
gestation and determine whether bovine viral diarrhea
virus (BVDV) can be isolated from such fluids.
Animals—169 pregnant beef cattle.
Procedure—Animals were restrained in a squeeze
chute, and hair was clipped from a region of the right
flank. Pregnancy was confirmed, and fetal fluids were
identified by means of abdominal ultrasonography.
Fetal fluid was collected with a spinal needle. Virus
isolation was performed on fetal fluids, WBC lysates
from 160 live calves, and tissues from 12 calves that
died or were aborted. Blood samples collected from
adult cattle were assayed with an immunoperoxidase
Results—Fourteen animals aborted or delivered premature
calves within 3 weeks after fetal fluid collection;
however, it could not be determined whether
this was a complication of the procedure or attributable
to other factors. Results of BVDV isolation from
fetal fluid samples were negative for 168 animals.
However, a noncytopathic BVDV was isolated from
fetal fluid obtained from a 2-year-old heifer; results of
the immunoperoxidase assay of serum from this
heifer were also positive, and a noncytopathic BVDV
was isolated from tissue specimens from a stillborn
calf produced by this heifer.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest
that fetal fluids can be collected percutaneously
from cattle in the late stages of gestation and that
virus isolation performed on fetal fluids can be used
to identify fetuses infected with BVDV in utero.
However, safety of the procedure could not be evaluated.
(J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220:1348–1352).