Treating only those cows that develop a fever while they have a retained placenta may be a better approach than “blanket treatment” of all cows that calve with retained placentas.

An on-farm German study shows that systemic-antibiotic (ceftiofur) treatment of all cows that calved with retained placentas did not reduce the occurrence of fever during the first 10 days after calving. The “blanket-treated” cows also had poorer conception rates than cows that were treated with systemic antibiotics only when they developed a fever. The research appeared in the May Journal of Dairy Science.