Infection of the reproductive tract after calving is one of the most important causes of infertility in the cow. After calving, all cows have a contaminated uterus. Most cows eliminate this within a few weeks. However, in a minority of cows, this contamination is not eliminated and the uterus becomes infected. The results of this infection can range from mild chronic infection to life-threatening disease, depending on the bacteria involved and the cow's ability to mount an effective immune response.
Metritis is inflammation of the inner lining of the uterus (endometrium). Symptoms may include fever, lower abdominal pain, and abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge. It is the most common cause of infection after childbirth. Clinical disease can be diagnosed and scored by examination of the vaginal mucus, which reflects the presence of pathogenic bacteria such as Streptococcus hemolitica, Staphylococcus aureus, Proteus vulgalis, Klebsiella, E. coli.… Endometritis is also a secondary cause of vaginitis and peritonitis.
In particular, it is important to differentiate animals with metritis from those with endometritis. Metritis is infection of the cavity, lining and deeper layers of the uterus. On the other hand, endometritis is a localized infection of the lining of the uterus, which is inflamed with white pus mixed with mucus discharging from the uterus into the vagina. The deeper layers of the uterus are not affected by endometritis, so the uterus is not much bigger than that of a normal animal.
During the incubation period, infected cattle is usually tired, anorexic, has a high fever of 40oC to 41oC, shows signs of hip pain, or turns his head backwards, restlessness. A few days later, the vulva will have the following symptoms:
Only half the cows suffering from endometritis have a visible discharge; often the disease is diagnosed through routine vet examination. It is difficult to distinguish between metritis and vaginitis. In fact, metritis and vaginitis often occur at the same time, because the pathogen bacteria will spread from the vagina to the uterus and vice versa.
Clearly, metritis is a much more severe disease than endometritis, requiring a different therapeutic approach. Firstly, it is much more urgent to identify cows with metritis promptly and, secondly, these animals need systemic treatments to counter the uterine infection and alleviate the generalized ill-health.
When diagnosed with uterine and vaginal infections, treatment should be conducted early. The treatment regimen is as follows: