Association of abnormal uterine discharge with new intramammary infection in the early postpartum period in multiparous dairy cows

W. B. Epperson From the Departments of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (Epperson, Hoblet) and Dairy Science (Smith, Hogan, Todhunter), The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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K. H. Hoblet From the Departments of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (Epperson, Hoblet) and Dairy Science (Smith, Hogan, Todhunter), The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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K. L. Smith From the Departments of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (Epperson, Hoblet) and Dairy Science (Smith, Hogan, Todhunter), The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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J. S. Hogan From the Departments of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (Epperson, Hoblet) and Dairy Science (Smith, Hogan, Todhunter), The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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D. A. Todhunter From the Departments of Veterinary Preventive Medicine (Epperson, Hoblet) and Dairy Science (Smith, Hogan, Todhunter), The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Summary:

The association of abnormal uterine discharge with the development of intramammary infection (imi) was studied in 62 multiparous Holstein cows during the nonlactating period and from lactation days 3 through 30. Duplicate milk samples were obtained from each mammary gland at approximately day 30 of the nonlactating period. Milk samples for bacteriologic culture also were obtained from each gland from all cows at the end of the previous lactation, at parturition, and on a minimum of 7 additional dates during the first 30 days of lactation. Beginning after parturition and continuing once weekly for 4 weeks, each cow was examined, using a vaginal speculum to visually estimate the quantity of abnormal uterine discharge in the vagina. Additionally, uterine swab specimens were obtained for aerobic bacteriologic culture. Cows were allotted to groups on the basis of the maximal amount of abnormal uterine discharge observed at any 1 of the 4 examinations. Cows in group 1 had normal discharge or < 30 ml of abnormal discharge; in group 2, ≥ 30 ml of abnormal discharge, observed only on examination by vaginal speculum; and in group 3, ≥ 30 ml of abnormal discharge visible externally. A difference was not detected in the development of new imi in the nonlactating period between cows that subsequently developed uterine discharge and those that did not. Although significant differences were not found, a tendency for lactating cows with abnormal uterine discharge to be at increased risk for developing new imi was observed. Direct associations were not found between aerobic bacterial species isolated from the uterus and species isolated from glands with newly developed imi during lactation. This lack of association indicated that development of imi in lactation was not likely a direct result of teat-end exposure to bacteria originating from the uterus.

Summary:

The association of abnormal uterine discharge with the development of intramammary infection (imi) was studied in 62 multiparous Holstein cows during the nonlactating period and from lactation days 3 through 30. Duplicate milk samples were obtained from each mammary gland at approximately day 30 of the nonlactating period. Milk samples for bacteriologic culture also were obtained from each gland from all cows at the end of the previous lactation, at parturition, and on a minimum of 7 additional dates during the first 30 days of lactation. Beginning after parturition and continuing once weekly for 4 weeks, each cow was examined, using a vaginal speculum to visually estimate the quantity of abnormal uterine discharge in the vagina. Additionally, uterine swab specimens were obtained for aerobic bacteriologic culture. Cows were allotted to groups on the basis of the maximal amount of abnormal uterine discharge observed at any 1 of the 4 examinations. Cows in group 1 had normal discharge or < 30 ml of abnormal discharge; in group 2, ≥ 30 ml of abnormal discharge, observed only on examination by vaginal speculum; and in group 3, ≥ 30 ml of abnormal discharge visible externally. A difference was not detected in the development of new imi in the nonlactating period between cows that subsequently developed uterine discharge and those that did not. Although significant differences were not found, a tendency for lactating cows with abnormal uterine discharge to be at increased risk for developing new imi was observed. Direct associations were not found between aerobic bacterial species isolated from the uterus and species isolated from glands with newly developed imi during lactation. This lack of association indicated that development of imi in lactation was not likely a direct result of teat-end exposure to bacteria originating from the uterus.

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