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Dr Liz Hancock

Reproductive management for every calving period on your farm will contribute to better reproduction outcomes. In the lead up to each mating start date, managers should consider examination and early intervention treatment for at risk cows.

Endometritis is an infection of the inner most layer of the uterus and is a common cause of poor reproductive performance. According to a Gippsland study, cows affected with endometritis will suffer a 17% decrease in their 6 week in calf rate. The cows most at risk of endometritis include those following an induction program, those which have had an assisted calving, those who have had twins, or those which have had retained foetal membranes. The study also found that a significant number of affected cows had no history of these risk factors.

Metrichecking is the most effective method used to detect endometritis in cows during the post calving period. It involves inserting a Metricheck device into the vagina and sampling any discharge lying near the cervix. The observation of pus in this discharge is strongly correlated with the presence of endometritis.

The most effective treatment of “positive” cows is with a product called Metricure (Coopers Animal Health). Metricure is a tube of antibiotics which is infused directly into the uterus via the cervix, much like a straw of semen in artificial insemination. Studies have shown that this treatment may lead to a 15% improvement in the 6-week in-calf rate of cows diagnosed with endometritis.

Some evidence suggests that checking and treating cows within two weeks of calving will lead to the greatest cure rates, however a consideration of this, is the potential over-treatment of cows which have not had an opportunity to self-cure. For this reason, many farmers find it most economical to wait until the cow has calved 3-4 weeks before detecting and treating as this allows mild cases to self-cure.

The Vet Group offers the service of Metrichecking and if required, Metricuring at either a whole herd level or for high-risk animals only. The procedure is efficient, minimally invasive and can be performed during milking in many dairies.

The effect on overall herd reproductive performance will depend on the proportion of the herd affected with endometritis. One important message is that we can significantly reduce the rate of uterine infection by management practices during the transition from the dry period through to lactation.

Call Farm Services on 1300 838 700 to discuss the value of Metrichecking in your herd and the techniques for reducing the rate of endometritis.