Infected cows don't get in calf

By Adam Hittmann, Te Awamutu

Every year dairy cows are culled or get in calf late because of uterine infections and these infections normally occur around calving, a risky period for any cow.

Often casualties are cows that have had dead calves, retained cleanings or a vaginal discharge but studies show that 70% of cows with infections are just healthy-looking cows that haven't had a problem

These apparently healthy cows get infected at calving and just don’t clear the infection. This is usually due to the stresses of transition and milk production.

The condition is known as endometritis, a bacterial infection involving the lining of the uterus and up to 20% of the herd can be infected and the result is delayed conception by 2-3 weeks, and higher empty rates.

We find these cows by identifying pus deep in the vagina with a metrichecking tool.  Infected cows are treated with a non-withholding uterine antibiotic Metriclean

Traditionally we go in and metricheck cows four weeks prior to mating and treat the infected cows, and this has been shown to reduce time to conception by 13 days. The problem is that the longer you leave them, some infected cows do not self cure and become impossible to diagnose with the metricheck test.    

A recent trial demonstrated that the best approach is to find these infected cows early and treat them early. A 15,000 cow trial in South Waikato showed that identifying and treating infected cows within 28 days after calving improved the six week in calf rate of infected cows by a further 10% compared to later treatment with a cost benefit of 4:1.

Metrichecking cows in batches involves tail painting cows as they enter the herd and checking them in batches between 14-28 days calved. Based on the results of the South Waikato study, early detection and treatment will get more cows in calf earlier.  Speak to us for all the options.

Whether you decide to check cows once prior to mating or seek the benefits of earlier detection, reducing the number of dirty cows going into mating will improve reproductive performance, reduce wastage and improve your bottom line. 


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