Author(s): Knigsson K, Gustafsson H, Gunnarsson A, Kindahl H
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Abstract Retention of the fetal membranes and post-partal endometritis (RFM) are common problems in dairy cows. Treatment often includes manual removal of the placenta in combination with antibiotic treatment. Earlier studies have shown that cows with endometritis post-partum have a strong tendency to recover spontaneously. The present study focused on treatments of post-partal endometritis with the prostaglandin synthesis inhibitor, flunixin (F) either alone or combined with oxytetracycline (T). The study was conducted in two experiments, using 12 primiparous cows in each. As a model for RFM, premature parturition was induced in late pregnant heifers by injecting PGF2alpha (25 mg i.m.) twice with a 24 h interval. In each experiment the cows were set into four groups and treated with either T (10 mg/kg BW i.m. once daily), F (2.2 mg/kg BW p.o. twice daily), a combination of T and F (dosage, as above) or conservatively (group 0, no drugs). The treatment periods lasted from days 11-14 post-partum in experiment I (groups T1, F1, TF1 and 0) and from days 3-6 post-partum in experiment 2 (groups T2, F2, TF2 and 0). Jugular vein blood samples were collected for analyses of flunixin and total white blood cells. Uterine biopsies were collected twice weekly for investigation of endometrial microbiology. Rectal palpation and ultrasonographic examinations were performed three times weekly for investigations of uterine involution and ovarian activity. No attempts were made to remove the placentas manually. The experiment lasted until day 56 post-partum. The induction of parturition was successful in all heifers and 22 of 24 animals had RFM. All RFM cows had bacterial endometritis. The predominant bacteria were Escherichia coli alpha-haemolytic streptococci, Fusobacterium necrophorum, Arcanobacterium (Actinomyces) pyogenes, Bacteroides spp., Pasteurella spp. and Proteus spp. Fusobacterium necrophorum and A. pyogenes could be isolated for 3-5 weeks post-partum and E. coli Pasteurella and Proteus could be isolated for 2-3 weeks post-partum. Animals treated with tetracycline after placental shedding (T1 and TF1) had a more rapid recovery from infections with A. pyogenes and F. necrophorum than animals that were not treated with tetracycline. No other genera were affected. Antibiotic treatment before placental shedding (T2 and TF2) did not shorten the uterine infection but altered the bacterial flora, seen as an overgrowth of Proteus spp. (p < 0.05) and increased frequency of Pasteurella (p < 0.05). The alpha-haemolytic streptococci were less common in T2 and TF2 than in other groups (NS). Antibiotic treatment of cows before placental shedding (T2 or TF2, n = 6) postponed detachment of placenta compared to cows were no antibiotics were administered before placental shedding (T1, TF1, F1, F2 and 0, n = 16. 9.8 days pp (median) versus p = 0.004). Neither treatment shortened uterine involution. Flunixin treatments did not seem to influence recovery from infection or uterine involution. It was concluded that early oxytetracycline treatment of retained fetal membranes in the cow did not shorten the uterine involution or uterine infection but it did slow down the detachment process of the retained placenta. Oxytetracycline treatment after placental shedding might shorten the uterine infection but otherwise did not affect the clinical results. Flunixin treatment had no influence on the clinical outcome of the disease.
This article was published in Reprod Domest Anim
and referenced in Journal of Fertilization: In Vitro - IVF-Worldwide, Reproductive Medicine, Genetics & Stem Cell Biology