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Treating endometritis early for better in calf rates

23 March 2018

Often after calving there is bacterial infection in the uterus. This is primarily because when the cervix opens for calving, this exposes the cow’s reproductive tract to bugs in the environment.  When cows have endometritis the chances of successful pregnancy are much lower, so it’s really important to find these ‘dirty’ cows early, and get them treated

Endometritis in cows leads to:
·         more non-cycling cows
·         reduced conception rates
·         lower in-calf rates
·         higher empty rates

Endometritis is detected via vaginal mucous using the metricheck tool.  The presence of discolouration or flecks of pus is likely a sign of infection.

Recent data from NZ herds shows that metrichecking early (2 – 4 weeks after calving) and treating with intrauterine antibiotic gives cows the greatest opportunity to ‘clean up’ and start cycling before the start of mating.  Diagnosis via metricheck is also more accurate within a few weeks of calving, as closure of the cervix occurs over time and it seems likely that infection in the uterus fails to “leak” into the vagina consistently if metrichecking is delayed.

The NZ study showed a very significant 9.6% improvement in 6-week in-calf rate, a 3% higher 12-week in-calf rate, and cows conceived 8 days earlier when cows were metrichecked and treated two to four weeks after calving compared with late treatment (i.e. 4 weeks prior to planned start of mating).    

Dairy NZ In-Calf places a value of $4 per cow per 1% difference in 6-week in-calf rate and $10 per cow per 1% difference in 12-week in-calf rate.  In a 500 cow herd this represents $7,000 additional income and a return of $5,500 or 460% once treatment costs are taken into account.  So it really pays to metricheck your herd in batches from 2 weeks after calving starts to detect and treat endometritis early.

In a nutshell, finding metricheck positive cows and treating these ‘dirty’ cows early results in significantly more days in milk, meaning higher farm profit next season.

Read the Technical Bulletin R15, titled 'Diagnosis and treatment of endometritis in New Zealand dairy cows'.

View the MetriVet Brochure here.

Read the Technical Bulletin R13 titled 'Evaluating field efficacy of MetriVet (intra-uterine cephapirin) for the treatment of endometritis in New Zealand dairy cows' here. 

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