Uterine infection is a common condition affecting both dairy and beef cows which can have a knock effect on fertility withing herds.

Cows that develop endometritis or metritis will have:

  • Delayed resumption to oestrus
  • Reduced conception rates

Which leads to:

  • Lower submission rates
  • Extended calving intervals

 

When does it occur?

Infection of the uterus most commonly occurs around calving when the uterus can become contaminated by bacteria.  Usually infections after calving are self-curing with most cows having the ability to clear the bacteria quite quickly, it only becomes an issue in the cows which are unable to clear the bacteria and end up developing endometritis.  The chances of persistent infection are higher where cows have had some other issue such as a retained placenta, milk fever, ketosis or a difficult calving where assistance was needed.

Endometritis is a chronic infection of the uterus often without symptoms which left unidentified has adverse effects on the reproductive system of the cow, reducing fertility and the chances of her going back in-calf successfully.

 

Diagnosis and Treatment

Endometritis can be classified as clinical when symptomised by purulent vaginal discharge, this discharge can usually be easily seen by the farmer on then tail or the rump of the cow or for example on cubicle beds.

In the case of sub-clinical when there is no vaginal discharge present.

It is good practice to assess the herd for metritis by carrying out a metricheck in advance of the breeding season, this involves using a device to collect vaginal discharge which is then examined to assess the presence of metritis or cows at risk of developing metritis.  Teagasc recommend carrying out these checks 3-5 weeks ahead of breeding on any cows that are more than 14 days calved.

It is a good idea to accompany with a pre-breeding scan which can help to identify any subclinical cases and aid in deciding on a suitable treatment approach for any cows with a uterine infection.

Treatment usually involves an antibiotic intrauterine infusion, where the scan identifies the presence of a corpus luteum prostaglandin can be administered to induce cycling of the cow which helps also helps the cow clear her system herself of the infection.

 

For further advice on any of the above, please contact a member of the Moocall team to speak to some of our breeding specialists on +353 1 96 96 038 or email support@moocall.com