Metritis is a common disease challenge facing fresh cows on many dairies with incidence rates ranging from 10 to 30% in herds. It is especially common in herds where fresh cows are more stressed, such as by frequently and/or immediate movement before calving, overcrowded calving and post-calving housing. Under these types of management conditions, metritis and other fresh cow diseases will be more problematic.
Even operations with the best fresh cow protocols will have to deal with cows suffering from metritis. Carlos Risco, DVM, University of Florida, advises producers to keep these treatment principles in mind when working with fresh cows:
- Avoid moving them to the hospital barn. Research from the Miner Institute has shown that for every pen movement, it takes cows two to five days to re-establish social rank. This can result in reduced dry matter intake for vulnerable cows, which can lead to ketosis and other metabolic disorders. Only move cows if the treatment regimen chosen requires a milk withholding.
- Do not use uterine contractors as data does not show a consistent benefit to their use.
- Implement a voluntary waiting period (60-80 days post-partum) to allow cows to return to a positive energy balance. This will help optimize pregnancy rate.
- Consider the latest available treatment remedies for the treatment of acute, postpartum metritis. Ceftiofurs can be a successful treatment against the organisms that cause metritis.