Recent research at the University of British Columbia shows that dairy cow feeding behavior during the early transition period is an indicator of metritis risk.1 Metritis carries significant economic consequences since each case costs dairy producers up to $354.2 This is especially concerning since metritis has an incidence rate as high as 20% in lactating cows.

In the recent University of British Columbia trials, researchers found that cows that developed metritis had lower dry matter intake as early as two weeks prior to calving—or approximately three weeks before clinical signs of metritis.
The researchers also found this behavior and resulting metritis incidence produced long-term consequences:
Decreased milk production: metritis during early lactation had an overall negative impact on milk production.
Continued low production after treatment: milk yield was suppressed the first 20 weeks of lactation, despite the fact that all sick cows received veterinary care.
Increased culling rates: the odds of being culled were 3.8 times greater for cows with metritis compared to healthy cows.
Therefore, maintaining a healthy uterus during and after calving is absolutely critical. One proven tool to promote uterine health and greater immune function is a proactive nutrition approach through proper ration formulation with Omega‑3 and Omega‑6 essential fatty acids (EFAs).
University research3 showed feeding Omega‑3 and Omega‑6 resulted in:
A 66% reduction in cases of endometritis seen in the treatment group (19%) when compared to the control (56%). The study also showed fewer clinical metritis cases.
Cows resuming cyclicity earlier with more ovulatory cycles by 60 DIM.
Fewer days to first service, services per conception and days open.
To learn more about the benefits of Omega‑3 and Omega‑6 EFAs, click here to view the research or visit
1 University of British Columbia, Research Reports: Effect of metritis on intake, milk yield and culling risk. Vol. 12, No 1. Available at: 1.pdf

Accessed April 6, 2012.
2 Overton M, Fetrow J. Economics of Postpartum Uterine Health, in Proceedings, 3rd Annual Dairy Cattle Reproduction Conference 2008;39‑43.
3 Bowen AJ. The Effects of Dietary Linoleic and Linolenic Acids on Reproductive Performance in Holstein Cows. [Master’s thesis]. Department
of Animal Sciences, University of Arizona; 2008.
Source: April 2012 Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council Newsletter