Identify metritis
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Evaluate fresh cows for metritis

August 27, 2013
POSTED BY: Gary Neubauer | DVM | Senior Manager | Dairy Technical Services | Zoetis

Metritis is a common uterine infection that can develop in the first 10 days after calving. Adding up to more than $350 per cow for each case, metritis can cause a decline in fertility, lower milk production, a greater risk of culling and increased labor and treatment costs.1 Metritis can’t be completely prevented, but with early identification and treatment, you can reduce its effects.

Thoroughly evaluate fresh cows in the first 10 days after calving.

  • Check the udder for fullness before milking. Udders on fresh cows should be full and tight.
  • Watch for drops in production from one milking to the next.
  • Examine uterine discharge and look for a red-brown, watery discharge accompanied by a strong, foul odor.
  • Assess the cow’s attitude and demeanor. Look for “depressed cows” with sunken, crusty eyes, nasal discharge or cold, lowered ears.
  • Look for cows that may be dehydrated or cows with decreased appetite.
  • Check for fever. A temperature of 103°F or higher could be a symptom.
  • Keep cows comfortable. Don’t keep cows locked up for more than an hour during health checks.

If you think you have a case of metritis, do not move the cow to a hospital pen unless you think the case is complicated. Ask your veterinarian to evaluate any cows you believe may have metritis.

Once metritis is confirmed, treat it quickly to avoid other infections and return the cow to peak production. 

1 Kelton DF, Lissemore KD, Martin RE. Recommendations for recording and calculating the incidence of selected clinical diseases of dairy cattle. J Dairy Sci. 1998;81(9):2502-2509.



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