Understanding metritis risk factors

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Cows that develop metritis are severely immune suppressed prior to calving and throughout the early fresh period have decreased dry matter intake prior to calving, said Doug Hammon, DVM, PhD, speaking at the recent Pfizer Animal Health Dairy Wellness Seminar.

Of cows that develop metritis, many/most have experienced one or more calving risk factors (dystocia, retained placenta, twins, stillbirth). Escherichia coli and Arcanobacterium pyogenes are the most prevalent bacteria isolated from the uterine lumen of cows with uterine disease. Infection of the uterus with E. coli (EnPEC) appears to pave the way for subsequent infection with other bacteria. Lipopolysaccharides from uterine E. coli perturbs follicular development, estrogen production and PG synthesis.

Hammon said data on minimum inhibitory concentrations for common uterine pathogens from cows with uterine disease are available in peer-reviewed publications. There are published data to show that ceftiofur derivatives in the uterine tissues reach levels above MIC for known uterine pathogens.


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