Metritis diagnosis and treatment practices in 45 dairy farms in California

A. Espadamala, Richard Van Vleck Pereira, P. Pallarés, A. Lago, Noelia Silva Del Rio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Minimizing the risk of antimicrobial-resistant organisms and antimicrobial residues in dairy and dairy beef products is a topic of nationwide interest. To design an effective outreach program on judicious use of antimicrobials, it is imperative to describe actual practices on dairies. Thus, our objective was to report current practices for metritis treatment in 45 dairies in California. Data were collected using a survey tool that included questions on systemic antimicrobial treatments, intrauterine treatments, supportive treatments, and treatment records. Researchers collected information based on cow-side observations and responses from fresh cow evaluators. Most dairies (n = 33; 70%) performed rectal exams for vaginal discharge (VD) evaluation and based systemic antimicrobial administration on the presence of (a) abnormal VD (fetid and nonfetid), regardless of fever (n = 11; 25%); (b) fever regardless of the odor of abnormal VD (n = 11; 25%); (c) fetid VD and fever (n = 1; 2%); (d) fetid VD (n = 3; 9%); or (e) fetid VD or fever (n = 3; 9%). Some dairies (n = 11; 24%) only detected abnormal VD if visible on tail, vulva, or floor; treatment decisions were based on the presence of abnormal VD (n = 9; 20%) or abnormal VD and fever (n = 2; 4%). On 3 (6%) dairies, VD characteristics were evaluated after rectal palpation, but no systemic treatments were administered. Cows exhibiting 1 nonspecific sign of health disorder (depressed general appearance, lack of appetite, or drop in milk yield) plus fever (n = 13; 29%), or even regardless of fever (n = 6; 13%), were treated with systemic antimicrobials. Overall, 8 (18%) dairies justified systemic antimicrobial treatment based on fever alone. Systemic antimicrobials used were ceftiofur products [ceftiofur hydrochloride (n = 26; 55%), ceftiofur sodium (n = 3; 7%), and ceftiofur crystalline-free acid (n = 8; 18%)], penicillin procaine (n = 8; 18%), and ampicillin (n = 3; 7%). Intrauterine infusions were done with penicillin procaine (n = 1; 2%) or oxytetracycline (n = 12; 27%). The dose and treatment length varied across dairies for i.m. ceftiofur hydrochloride (15 to 45 mL/d for 3 to 5 d), s.c. ceftiofur crystalline-free acid (20 to 25 mL once or twice), i.m. ceftiofur sodium (15 to 30 mL/d for 3 to 5 d), i.m. penicillin procaine (20 to 60 mL/d for 3 to 6 d), and i.m. ampicillin (25 to 35 mL/d for 3 to 6 d). The antimicrobial drug of choice, the dose, and the treatment length for metritis varied across the study dairies. Based on accepted industry best-management practices for metritis, a need exists to educate fresh cow evaluators on signs of health disorder indicative of metritis and on appropriate antimicrobial treatment regimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • antimicrobial treatments
  • metritis
  • signs of health disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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