Are anestrous cows costing you?
Make sure you
never miss a post.

Are anestrous cows costing you?

May 11, 2015
POSTED BY: Ken Learmont | DVM | Dairy Technical Services | Zoetis

Today, prevalence of anestrous cows is estimated at 20% to more than 40% in U.S. dairy herds.1 The complications can be detrimental to your reproductive success. These cows have lower probability of breeding, lower conception rates and longer intervals to conception than cycling herdmates.2

What are anestrous cows costing you?
Anestrus, or missed estrous periods, can significantly reduce reproduction efficiency. Missed estrous periods increase the animal’s number of days in milk, which in turn costs producers lost income. The cost per extra day open beyond the voluntary waiting period can be more than $3.00 per cow per day,3 which can add up quickly if cows are not managed properly.

It’s important to rule out poor heat detection before assuming cows are not cycling. The following methods can be used to identify anestrous cows:  

  • Observation: No signs of estrus since calving
  • Ultrasound: No corpus luteum detected on either ovary in two exams at seven- to 14-day intervals, such as on Day 35 and Day 42 post-calving
  • Blood or milk samples: Low concentrations of progesterone discovered in two samples collected at seven- to 14-day intervals, such as on Day 35 and Day 42 post-calving

Can anestrous cows be treated?
Work with your veterinarian to properly identify anestrous cows or other reproductive issues. Once diagnosed, Eazi-BreedCIDR® Cattle Insert can be used for the induction of estrous cycles in anestrous dairy cows, which is the only on-label treatment option available. Continue to work with your veterinarian to implement protocols that follow the product label and will help get your cows cycling again.

How do I prevent anestrus?
Nutrition plays a large role in the prevention of anestrus. Following calving, make sure you’re getting cows to a positive energy balance as soon as possible to improve body condition score and their overall health. Cows with a body condition score (BCS) ≤ 2.50 have a significantly lower probability of becoming pregnant by 150 days postpartum than cows with higher BCS.4

Work closely with your veterinarian to make reproductive health a Dairy Wellness priority. Discuss estrous detection with your employees to help minimize anestrus incidence on your dairy. Visit for more information.   

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION FOR EAZI-BREED CIDR: Avoid contact with skin by wearing protective gloves when handling Eazi-Breed CIDR inserts. Do not use in heifers of insufficient size or age for breeding or in cattle with abnormal, immature, or infected genital tracts. Do not use inserts more than once.


1Chebel RC, Santos JE, Cerri RL, Rutigliano HM, Bruno RG. Reproduction in dairy cows following progesterone insert presynchronization and resynchronization protocols. J Dairy Sci 2006;89(11):4205-4219.
2McDougall S. Effects of treatment of anestrous dairy cows with gonadotropin-releasing hormone, prostaglandin, and progesterone. J Dairy Sci. 2010;93(5):1944-1959. doi: 10.3168/jds.2009-2305.
3Groenendaal H, Galligan DT, Mulder HA. An economic spreadsheet model to determine optimal breeding and replacement decisions for dairy cattle. J Dairy Sci 2004;87:2146-2157.
4Wiltbank MC, Weigel KA, Caraviello DZ. Recent studies on nutritional factors affecting reproductive efficiency in U.S. dairy herds, in Proceedings. 8th Western Dairy Mgmt Conf 2007. Available at: Accessed March 17, 2015.



Have a Comment? Subscribe