metritis

For the dairy folks and/or beef folks with questions about udders, milk and mastitis.

metritis

Postby regolith » Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:29 am

Saw one of my heifers this evening during milking, tail out & dripping creamy white pus onto the concrete. :mad:

The vet was here three days ago, checked her & 12 others and pronounced her clean?? He'd treated her for metritis about seven weeks ago, and I'd put the five he treated up to re-check because one of them I'd seen with pus a week later and sometimes it takes more than one treatment to clear it up.
I guess this means the metri-check (a tool that samples mucus near the cervix) isn't 100% either. Maybe they can be clear one day, white another?

I guess if I do nothing she's not likely to get in-calf. Luckily I don't have to call the vet back or just sit around and hope - chances are if I go into the clinic next week they'll let me have the antibiotic and infuse it myself, since I'm AI-trained.
I dunno, just seems some days like everything that can go wrong will. It would be different if she was in-milk and at least paying her way, but this one had a difficult calving in August and I dried her off after a few weeks of not producing very much and decided to give her another chance to calve next year since she's out of a good little cow and her paternal half-sisters are doing really well. I don't think she's cycled since calving.
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Re: metritis

Postby bigbull338 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:35 am

sounds to me like she shouldve been culled in aug insted of being dryed up.
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Re: metritis

Postby regolith » Fri Oct 28, 2011 11:19 am

well, and now she's cost me another two months grass a milk producer could have eaten...
To be blunt, I've been going back through old journals and discovered that I had a vet examine her as a calf. I had repeatedly expressed concerns that she was still suffering the effects of a bout of pneumonia, that vet and those who've seen her since have insisted she's healthy. I was considering calling the pet food truck when she was about five months old.

I remember another cow like that. Vet examined her and pronounced her healthy and I found her dead in the paddock a few months later. She'd just never looked right to me.
It's the old story - as a cull she'd not even make $300, she's skin and bones. As an in-calf holdover next autumn she's worth $1200, and more than that to me if she produces good heifers like her mum and half-sisters & milks for ten years *if* she ever gets to that point. Vet reckoned he'd fixed her last time he saw her.
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Re: metritis

Postby regolith » Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:25 am

:mad: :mad:
I guess it's have a shower, clean up the ute and go into town again tomorrow for another tube of metricure.
Either that, or book the second heifer onto the next truck off farm... and the pair of them are starting to pick up condition and look healthy at last. Both vet-assisted calvings in August, the vet made a judgment call not to treat her metritis because I'd inseminated her 5 days before and weighing up the chances of risking the pregnancy against treating the infection... well, that was what he decided.
Returned to heat this morning, AI'd tonight and the mucus is *yuck*. Great, wasted two straws and six weeks of the mating season (because this one won't hold either, so even if I treat her tomorrow and manage to clear up the infection it's another three weeks lost).

182 calvings this year. Three assists - one backwards, one breech, one with a front leg bent and jammed in the heifer's pelvis. Still, I think that's the lowest assistance rate ever at less than 2%, about 3 - 5% is normal. The two the vet had to attend to are the heifers in this thread, neither came into milk properly. The one I calved was also treated for metritis.
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Re: metritis

Postby Nesikep » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:38 am

Just a thought, I had a cow this year ("what is she missing" thread) who had a latent infection, she didn't show any pus but wouldn't take to the bull all summer, so i did some research, and I found that copper is critical to immune function, which would mean that she wasn't capable of fighting the infection herself... a week after i started giving a high copper/phosphorus supplement she bred back... the calf was also weaned that week but she was always in good condition. With a herd your size I'm assuming you get occasional mineral tests done.
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Re: metritis

Postby regolith » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:38 am

yes, thanks Nesikep, I found that thread a few days ago and it was an interesting read.
Is that where someone posted a picture of an animal with a brindle coat? A lot of my Jerseys have that and I just think of it as a Jersey trait, but it makes you wonder...

I did blood tests on a sample of the herd - about 7 cows I think - 6 weeks pre-mating. All came back good. I didn't add copper to their drench this spring because they were getting a feed that is naturally very high in copper.

A bit of an update to this situation wandered off to Jilleroo's thread - I gave both the heifers with difficult calvings a second intra-uterine antibiotic treatment, then saw a third 2-yr old that had already had one treatment and still had pus a week later. Went back to the vet to see if they'd give me prostaglandin and was given four doses, one for each of the heifers that I knew had infections, and excede which the vet said was worth trying. Two of the heifers cycled 2 days after the prostaglandin, the other two 14 days later. The first two and one of the others have cycled again, within the last fortnight. One of them was still obviously discharging pus on that cycle.
I think I'm going to lose all four of them this year, due to not getting in calf.

The heifer bb reckons I ought to have culled is back in milk... I've culled the cow who kept her in milk after I dried her off.
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Re: metritis

Postby dun » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:23 am

I'm still puzzeld by the number of uterine infections, what's the deal with that?
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Re: metritis

Postby regolith » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:09 am

I've never seen it this bad before, Dun. It's 4 heifers out of 53 two-year olds. I've had five cows also treated this year, apparently the cows have come right (well, one of them died of bloat so it's irrelevant now), though three of them were very sick with it after calving.
I've also never seen as much mastitis in this herd either, though I have in other herds that I've managed - but I know the reason more or less, a number of the cows came back from lease with damaged teats and they're the ones that are getting mastitis and not clearing up with treatment. Three farms in particular, nearly every cow that came back from one of those farms is cranky at milking time because of blackpox and damaged teat ends. I've got stuff to clear up the blackpox and it hasn't been very effective.

Two of the heifers with metritis were vet-assisted calvings. I rarely have the vet out to assist a heifer calving and I've lost one before, to peritonitis, after a vet calving. The same vet diagnosed the peritonitis a couple of weeks later, remembered the calving and couldn't understand why she now had peritonitis. There's times you'd be better off cutting your losses and shooting the cow even when it appears there's a good chance of a favourable outcome...

In Rotorua, 2009, with 280 cows I had the whole herd checked for metritis (which is what the vets recommend) purely because I thought my observation wasn't as sharp over that number of cows. Less than 5% were found infected and the vet told me 10% is normal.
I don't expect my herd to be normal.
And that can make full co-operation from the vets a little difficult, because if my herd is better than normal they don't see a problem. I would consider a 10% infection rate appalling, 5% is bad enough. 9 out of 190 this year is about 5% again.
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Re: metritis

Postby regolith » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:20 am

Dun; if I try to puzzle out the reasons I just start getting crazy thoughts, you know.

The cows were scattered around in lots of herds last year and exposed to probably every infection going, but I don't see how that would affect the heifers. I put down a 12 week old calf recently that I suspect was a BVD PI, she was going to die anyway, and because my herd is monitored I know there's no PIs among the adults, so her mother isn't one. She'd barely grown at all since she was born.
The biggest thought that keeps recurring is that I'm seeing antibiotic resistance in both the metritis and mastitis infections. I've started taking samples to freeze from every new mastitis cow, when I get enough I'll have them sent to the lab to find out what I'm dealing with on this farm.
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Re: metritis

Postby dun » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:49 am

Just from my few months of experience with cattle, I would start thinking about nutritional/mineral types of things. Anything that affects a number of animals, particularly health issues other then poison/toxicity issues I would think have to have a common cause. I've seen cows with uterine infections from being bred AI with unsanitary equipment/methods, but they didn;t settle the first time so it wasn;t a problem post calving and before breeding again.
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Re: metritis

Postby hillsdown » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:09 am

What kind of foliage do the girls have access to in their pasture Rego ? Are there any trees that shed needles or acorns or nuts ?
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Re: metritis

Postby regolith » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:17 pm

What kind of foliage do the girls have access to in their pasture Rego ? Are there any trees that shed needles or acorns or nuts ?


yes. chestnuts down by the house, various types of fir/pines on the boundary. Elder which seems to be a weed in this part of the country, I've hardly seen it since Scotland. A bit of native bush but they don't have access to that fence because I haven't managed to control the hemlock in that area yet. Normally on a dairy farm there are no trees with green leaves at browsing height - this one has been a sheep farm, so it's free access to those lower leaves.
Very little of the pasture is rye-grass. I'ts not very weedy, but it consists of a high variety of low palatability grasses, clover and herbs - cocksfoot, timothy, fogs, fescue and various others. I don't recognise every seed head.

Dun, talking about nutritional - what about plain old hunger? 'Tight' management is something I have a fair bit of experience with but in this case I've just been going week to week, expecting the pasture to start growing at normal rates when the weather warms up, when the fertiliser kicks in... Even when the cows look content, they've been getting far less than they should have done right through the spring. Now I'm break-grazing the paddocks I had designated for hay and the turnips will be ready soon - there's another eight on the list to cull and I'll pick more as soon as the bulls are out and I know what's still cycling.
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Re: metritis

Postby dun » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:23 pm

I was thinking of some base nutrient/mineral/compound/etc that may be lacking, not just a lack of enough to eat. Something that they aren;t assimilating adequate amounts from their feed. I don;t know if a blood test could show what they may be missing.
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Re: metritis

Postby TexasBred » Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:16 pm

dun wrote:I'm still puzzeld by the number of uterine infections, what's the deal with that?

Needs a better dry cow program, nutrition...vaccines, vitamins and minerals.
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Re: metritis

Postby regolith » Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:55 pm

Needs a better dry cow program, nutrition...vaccines, vitamins and minerals.


Thanks TB, any specific suggestions?

Called in at the vets today - I've left a water sample for pathogen/mineral testing, should have done it long before but the council put a water meter at the gate and silly me thought the farm owner had plans to get clean water for the farm :deadhorse:
They printed out those September blood test results for me and all minerals are at optimal levels - got to be the best I've seen yet and all very close together, which surprises me because the cows were under so many different management styles last year. Only magnesium, calcium, selenium and copper were tested for.

I get the nutrition thing, okay. You can't economically buy in feed to produce milk in this country, especially not with a crippling lease charge every month. The only way I can get there is culling or selling cows till I work out a suitable stocking rate and concentrate on improving the pastures.
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