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J Dairy Sci. 2002 Sep;85(9):2223-36.

Defining and diagnosing postpartum clinical endometritis and its impact on reproductive performance in dairy cows.

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Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1.


The objectives of this study were to validate diagnostic criteria for clinical endometritis in postpartum dairy cows and to measure the impact of endometritis on reproductive performance. Data were collected from 1865 cows in 27 herds, including history of dystocia, twins, retained placenta, or metritis. All cows were examined once between 20 and 33 d in milk (DIM) including external inspection, vaginoscopy, and transrectal palpation of the cervix, uterus, and ovaries. All cows were followed for a minimum of 7 mo or until pregnancy or culling. Survival analysis was used to derive a case definition of endometritis based on factors associated with increased time to pregnancy. The significance of clinical findings depended on the interval postpartum when examination took place. The presence of purulent uterine discharge or cervical diameter > 7.5 cm after 20 DIM, or mucopurulent discharge after 26 DIM identified cows with clinical endometritis. Given vaginoscopy, no diagnostic criteria based on palpation of the uterus had predictive value for time to pregnancy. The prevalence of clinical endometritis was 16.9%. Vaginoscopy was required to identify 44% of these cases. Accounting for parity, herd, and ovarian status, cows with clinical endometritis between 20 and 33 DIM had a hazard ratio of 0.73 for pregnancy (took 27% longer to become pregnant), and were 1.7 times more likely to be culled for reproductive failure than cows without endometritis.

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