Researchers at the University of Alberta have been investigating the preventative effect of intravaginal probiotic bacteria on postpartum uterine infections, uterine patterns and the overall reproductive performance of dairy cows. Their findings were presented at the 2011 American Dairy Science Association meetings this summer, reports the Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council.
The trial included 82 Holstein cows that received either one milliliter of probiotic bacteria in reconstituted skim milk at 1010 to 1012 colony forming units per treatment or one milliliter of carrier-only reconstituted skim milk (control). Intravaginal infusions were performed six times throughout the study with probiotic bacteria isolated from the vaginal tracts of healthy cows.
Research concludes that cows in the treatment group:
• Had reduced incidence of metritis and pyometra.
• Expressed fewer cases of vaginal purulent discharges between three and five weeks postpartum.
• Had few incidences of an abnormal cervix, uterine horn symmetry and uterine fluctuations.
• Tended to have increased pregnancy rates.
• Had lower peak concentration of haptoglobin, which is a protein produced by the liver that connects to a certain type of hemoglobin in the blood and is associated with blood iron levels.
The researchers concluded that probiotic bacteria can improve the overall postpartum uterine health and performance and warrants further research.