There are several treatment options for metritis and endometritis. The selection of the best course of action depends on multiple factors. Work with your herd veterinarian in choosing the appropriate systemic antimicrobial therapy for your cows.
Uterine infusion with antibiotics may have, at one time, been the preferred treatment, however those infusions often do more harm than good. Bacteria may be introduced into the uterus during the process, uterine puncture can occur and tissue damage and subsequent scarring from the infusion itself may occur. In general, uterine infusion is not recommended.
Systemic antibiotics that are labeled for treatment of metritis have been shown to be effective for treating metritis. Regardless of what antimicrobial you choose, make sure you keep good records so that you and your veterinarian can evaluate treatment success and so that proper meat and milk with holding times are met
The use of prostaglandin F2 alpha and its analogs for metritis follow-up and endometritis later in lactation have been effective in helping the cow. The resulting estrus produces a uterine environment less conducive to the bacteria and stimulation of uterine contraction with expulsion of uterine exudates. Using prostaglandin to enhance cycling prior to the breeding window may be effective to prepare the uterus.
Supportive care for cows with severe metritis is also important. Oral and IV fluids for dehydrated cows and administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may improve the comfort and recovery of the cow.
One question producers may face is whether to move the treated cow to another pen. There are pros and cons of a move at this time. On the positive side, moving the treated cow to a sick cow pen may increase the opportunity for observation and it may be a pen with greater feed space and less competition. That needs to be balanced with the impact that moving her will have on dry matter intake. Dry matter intake may be the best medicine for metritis and needs to be encouraged rather than discouraged.
Treatment, while it may be a legitimate response, should not be the first thought in response to a sick cow. Take time to evaluate your metritis prevention, detection and treatment protocols. Work with your management team to reduce the incidence of uterine disease in your herd. The improvement in production and reproductive success will be your reward.
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