Influence of puerperal uterine infection on uterine involution and postpartum ovarian activity in dairy cows

Mateus, L.; da Costa, L.Lopes.; Bernardo, F.; Silva, J.Robalo.

Reproduction in Domestic Animals 37(1): 31-35


ISSN/ISBN: 0936-6768
PMID: 11882243
DOI: 10.1046/j.1439-0531.2002.00317.x
Accession: 003815097

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This article presents the results of a clinical trial designed to study the effect of puerperal uterine infection on uterine involution and on ovarian activity in dairy cows, monitored twice weekly from parturition until the sixth week postpartum (wpp). Infection significantly retarded uterine involution assessed by the uterine body diameter and a score of intrauterine fluid volume (IUFV). By the sixth wpp, cows with normal puerperium (controls) and cows that showed mild puerperal endometritis had similar uterine body diameter and IUFV, indicating spontaneous recovery within the postpartum voluntary waiting period. However, in cows with severe puerperal endometritis, although uterine body diameter had regressed to pregravid size, IUFV remained significantly higher than in control and mild endometritis cows, indicating that chronic endometritis was established. The IUFV score was positively and significantly correlated with uterine swab bacterial growth density and allowed diagnosis of endometritis after the third wpp. Cows with mild or severe endometritis had a significantly higher prevalence and persistence of pathogenic bacteria (Escherichia coli; Actinomyces [Arcanobacterium] pyogenes; and Gram-negative anaerobes, GNA) than controls. A. pyogenes was associated to GNA in 74% of isolations. Ovarian activity measured by ultrasound scanning of the ovaries and plasma progesterone (P4) concentrations was more abnormal (prolonged anoestrus, prolonged luteal phases and ovarian cysts) in cows with severe endometritis than in controls.