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Retained Fetal Membranes
It has generally been accepted that the fetal membranes are retained if they have not been expelled within 12 hours following parturition. In dairy herds that are free of infectious reproductive tract diseases and well nourished the incidence of retention is approximately 10%. In beef herds under similar conditions the incidence is usually less than 3%.
Diseases of the Uterus
Postparturient infections of the genital tract probably become established during parturition or within 3 days after. Dialation of the cervix, vagina, and vulva during and after parturition enables bacteria from the vagina and vulva to enter the uterus. Gross contamination of the perineal area with feces or mud will increase the possibility that bacteria will enter the uterus. Sawdust or shavings used for bedding cling to the exposed parts of the fetus and fetal membranes and thus add to the contamination. The debris and fluids in the uterus following parturition are a good medium for bacterial growth. As described in the section on uterine involution, there is a high incidence of infection in the early postpartum period.
Apparently a high percentage of cows are able to resist these infections without benefit of treatment. Whether a bacterial infection becomes established and persists beyond 60 days postpartum probaby depends on the virulence and number of organisms introduced and the resistance of the genital tract. Resistance of the uterus depends on the early passage of the entire fetal membranes, the beginning of involution, closure of the cervix, and return of the vagina and vulva to their non-gravid state.
...in most beef herds, the rate of uterine infections is quite low. In some dairy herds, however, the incidence of clinical metritis may be 25 to 50%. ...Uterine infections are most common in primipara and old cows.
Acute metritis usually occurs within the first 2 weeks postpartum and toxic metritis is most common within 3 to 5 days following parturition. With acute toxic metritis there usually is partial or complete retention of the fetal membranes. The coliform bacteria are probably the most common causes of infection. Cows with acute, toxic metritis are extremely ill with a subnormal or elevated body temperature (103 to 106F), increased pulse rate, marked depression, rumen atony, constipation or diarrhea, rapid dehydration, reduced milk production, anorexia, and inability to stand in some cases. The uterine discharge is thin, red, and fetid.
Intensive therapy is required, including broad spectrum antibiotics and/or sulfonamides given parenterally, fluids, and antihistamines for 3 to 5 days. Removal of the retained fetal membranes is usually impossible because of inflammation of placentomes and it is contraindicated to manipulate the devitalized uterus. ...If treatment is initiated within 48 hours postpartum, oxytocin alone may be beneficial; ...After 48 hours postpartum, the uterus should be resensitized with 3 to 7mg of estradiol...given IM before giving oxytocin 24 hours later. This will help to keep the uterus contracted and expel fluids. ...Despite appropriate therapy, some affected cows die and others become chronicially ill because of metastatic abscesses in other organs.
When metritis occurs between the 3rd to 5th and 14th day after parturition, it is less severe than acute toxic metritis but there may be an increase in body temperature, partial anorexiak, gauntness, lethargy, and decreased milk production. Vaginal examination will reveal a malodorous, red to yellow discharge that may be matted on the perivulvar hair and tail. ...Differential diagnoses include acetonemia, left and right abomasal displacements, traumatic reticuloperitonitis, pneumonia, mastitis, cystitis, and pyelonephritis. All of these conditions, especially acetonemia and abomasal disorders, may occur in conjunction with metritis.
Chronic (subacute) metritis
Chronic metritis may be a sequela of acute metritis occuring later in the postpartum period. There are no systemic signs of illness, but the interine inflammation interferes with fertility... There is no demonstrable accumulation of exudate in the uterus, but there is often a mucopurulent discharge in the vagina. Cyclic ovarian changes may occur.
Pyometra is characterized by an accumulation of purulent exudate in the uterus and it rarely is accompanied by any signs of systemic illness. The vast majority of cases are diagnosed from about 3 weeks postpartum to within the lactation period. They undoubtedly originate at parturition or shortly thereafter. Pyometra is often preceded by an abnormal parturition.
In most cases of pyometra a CL can be felt on one ovary. In a few cases, however, there is no CL or it is embedded and cannot be felt by rectal palpation. ...Because regression of the CL of pregnancy occurs rapidly after parturition, a CL present with pyometra is a result of postpartum ovulation. The estrous cycle apparently begins before the pyometra is present long enough to have an adverse effect on the endometrium, such as inhibiting the release of prostaglandin and subsequent luteolysis. When this occurs, the CL is retained and is accompanied by anestrus.
...From 50 to 80% of the cows from which the uterine exudate has been removed will conceive. Failure to conceive is probably due to irreparable damage to the endometrium and/or salpingitis. The longer that pyometra has existed before the exudate is removed the grater is the chance for endometrial and oviduct damage.
There's more if you folks want it...like treatment...it's just a lot of typing.
More info = better answers.
- Jeanne - Simme Valley
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I'm not familiar with Metritis or Pyometra - heard of them, just don't know about them.
Info on retained placenta & infection explains why I'm never concerned about ret. plac. and you are
"We make a living by what we get,
we make a life by what we give."