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J Vet Sci. 2018 Mar 31;19(2):301-308. doi: 10.4142/jvs.2018.19.2.301.

Cytological endometritis in dairy cows: diagnostic threshold, risk factors, and impact on reproductive performance.

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Veterinary Medical Center and College of Veterinary Medicine, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju 28644, Korea.
National Institute of Animal Science, Rural Development Administration, Cheonan 31000, Korea.


We determined the threshold proportion of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) for a diagnosis of cytological endometritis (CEM), the risk factors for this condition, and its impact on reproductive performance in dairy cows. Uterine cytology was performed on 407 Holstein cows 4 weeks postpartum to determine the proportions of endometrial cells and PMNs. A receiver operator characteristics curve was used to determine the threshold above which the PMN proportion affected the likelihood of cows conceiving by 200 days postpartum. The optimal threshold was ≥ 14% PMN (sensitivity, 31.3%; specificity, 81.7%; p < 0.05). The farm identity, retained placenta (odds ratio [OR] = 1.87), and septicemic metritis (OR = 3.07) were risk factors for CEM (p < 0.05). Cows with CEM were less likely to resume cyclicity (OR = 0.58) and to conceive by 200 days postpartum (hazard ratio = 0.58). Cows with CEM tended (p < 0.1) to be less likely to become pregnant after their first insemination (OR = 0.65) and to require a greater number of inseminations per conception (2.3 vs. 2.2). In conclusion, a PMN threshold of 14% defined the presence of CEM at 4 weeks postpartum. The farm, retained placenta, and septicemic metritis were risk factors for CEM, which reduces subsequent reproductive performance.


cytological endometritis; dairy cow; polymorphonuclear leukocyte; reproductive performance; risk factors

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