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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2003

Assessment of early postpartum reproductive performance in two high producing Estonian dairy herds

Kask K, Kurykin J, Lindjarv R, Kask A, Kindahl H


Early postpartum (6 weeks) ovarian activity, hormonal profiles, uterine involution, uterine infections, serum electrolytes, glucose, milk acetoacetate and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels were studied in 2 Estonian high producing dairy herd with annual milk production of 7688 (Farm A) and 9425 (Farm B). From each farm 10 cows, with normal calving performance were used. Blood samples for the hormonal (PGF(2alpha)-metabolite, progesterone) analyses were withdrawn. On day 25 PP blood serum samples were taken for the evaluation of metabolic/electrolyte status. On the same day estimation of milk acetoacetate values was done. The ultrasound (US) was started on day 7 PP and was performed every 3(rd) day until the end of experiment. Uterine content, follicular activity and sizes of the largest follicle and corpus luteum were monitored and measured. Vaginal discharge and uterine tone were recorded during the rectal palpation. Each animal in the study was sampled for bacteriological examination using endometrial biopsies once a week. Two types of PGF(2alpha)-metabolite patterns were detected: elevated levels during 14 days PP, then decline to the basal level and then a second small elevation at the time of final elimination of the bacteria from the uterus'. or elevated levels during first 7 days PP, then decline to the basal level and a second small elevation before the final elimination of bacteria. Endometritis was diagnosed in 5 cows in farm A and in 3 cows in farm B respectively. In farm A, 5 cows out of 10 ovulated (luring experimental period and in 1 cow cystic ovaries were found. In farm B, 3 cows out of 10 ovulated. In 3 cows cystic ovaries were found. Altogether 40% of cows had their first Ovulation during the experimental period. Three cows in farm A and 5 cows in farm B were totally bacteria negative during the experimental period. The most frequent bacteria found were A. pyogenes, Streptococcus spp., E. coli., F necrophorum and Bacteroides spp. The highest incidence of bacteriological species was found during the first 3 weeks in both farms. All animals were free from bacteria after 5(th) week PP in farm A and after 4(th) week in farm B respectively. Serum electrolytes and glucose levels were found to be within the reference limits for the cows in both farms. No significant difference was found between farms (p>0.05). Low phosphorus levels were found in both farms. Significant difference (p<0.05) was found in BUN levels between farms. In both farms milk acetoacetate values were staying within the reference range given for the used test (<100 mumol/l). The uterine involution and bacterial elimination in the investigated cows could consider as normal but more profound metabolic studies could be needed to find reasons for later resumption of ovarian activity. Some recommendations to changing feeding regimes and strategies should also be given

Published in

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
2003, Volume: 44, number: 3-4, pages: 131-143

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