A charcoal drawing of four Holstein cows

Changes in cow’s competition strategies can predict metritis

Alvaro Garcia

Two of the main stressors for cows are regrouping and their competition for resources such as bunk space. Cow competition for feeding space at the bunk during the transition period is associated with pre-established hierarchies within the herd. Older and more experienced cows usually exert dominance over their younger herd-mates.

Some authors contend that increased feeding synchrony is associated with reduced competitiveness and cow well-being, particularly in submissive cows. Dominance is also related to the cow’s body mass and health status since part of it is associated to the intensity with which they can shove around their competition. These agonistic interactions are a source of stress that could result in either developing health problems or even worsen the ones that could already be present.

The question is then how cows ponder their need for nutrients vs. the risk of engaging in competitive agonistic behavior. Are cows feeling strong enough to compete at peak feeding time, or do they wait until there is less competition and thus reduce the risk of agonistic interactions?

Could cow’s behavioural changes help us to predict diseases?

Eating what has been left by dominant cows can result worsen health problems for submissive cows if the first group happens to sort feed. Another question is if these strategies depend on the health status of the cow and if they are consistent over time. Furthermore, could these behavioral changes help detect what kind of ailment is currently affecting submissive cows?

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Two cows, portrait

Risk factors for reproductive tract disease in cows

Lucas Pantaleon

Uterine bacterial contamination is common in dairy cattle during the first 2 weeks postpartum. Endometritis causes delayed ovarian activity and prolonged luteal phases, resulting in reduce submission, conception and pregnancy rates and increased culling. Recently the term purulent vaginal discharge (PVD) was adopted because it is more descriptive and covers a range of conditions: endometritis, vaginitis and cervicitis.

Ultrasonographic scoring systems for assessing endometritis are practical and effective in diagnosing clinical and sub-clinical diseases, as well as a good predictor for reproductive outcome. The identification of PVD and presence of endometritis on ultrasonographic examination (UE) are key for diagnosis of reproductive tract disease (RTD) in cows.

Prevalence of reproductive track disease. Are the data accurate?

The incidence of RTD varies widely around the globe, this is due to lack of a clear definition for the disease, lack of diagnostic gold standards and differences in populations and farming systems. Furthermore, many risk factors can play a role in the development of RTD, such as retained fetal membranes (RFM), metritis, dystocia, primiparity and negative energy balance.

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Testing non-antibiotic procedures to treat clinical endometritis in dairy cows

Testing non-antibiotic procedures to treat clinical endometritis in dairy cows

Nuria García

Clinical endometritis is defined as purulent or mucopurulent uterine discharge present in the vagina after 21 days postpartum, and it is associated with tissue damage, delayed uterine involution, disruption of endometrial function, and perturbation of ovarian cycles.

The main bacteria associated with clinical endometritis are Escherichia coli, Trueperella pyogenes, Fusobacterium necrophorum, and Prevotella species. Traditionally, intrauterine broad-spectrum antibiotics such as oxytetracycline have been used for treating clinical endometritis. However, this practice increases the risk of antibiotic residue presence in milk after intrauterine infusion, and the emergence of multidrug resistance bacteria.

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