Definitions and diagnosis of postpartum endometritis in dairy cows

J Dairy Sci. 2010 Nov;93(11):5225-33. doi: 10.3168/jds.2010-3428.

Abstract

The objectives of this observational study were to determine and compare diagnostic criteria for postpartum endometritis in dairy cows. Data generated from 1,044 Holstein cows (6 herds) enrolled in a randomized clinical trial were used. Cows were examined for endometritis at 35±3 d (exam 1) and 56±3 d (exam 2) after parturition, using endometrial cytology (cytobrush technique), vaginal discharge scoring (Metricheck device; Simcrotech, Hamilton, New Zealand), and cervical diameter measurement (transrectal palpation). Reproductive data were recorded until 200 d after parturition. Diagnostic criteria for cytological and clinical endometritis were determined based on detrimental effect on subsequent reproductive performance, using logistic regression and Cox proportional hazard models accounting for the effect of herd clustering. Comparison of diagnostic criteria was performed using endometrial cytology as reference test or by quantifying the agreement between diagnostic approaches. At exam 1, diagnostic criteria were ≥6% polymorphonuclear cells and mucopurulent or worse (purulent or foul) vaginal discharge for cytological and clinical endometritis, respectively. At exam 2, diagnostic criteria were ≥4% polymorphonuclear cells and mucopurulent or worse vaginal discharge for cytological and clinical endometritis, respectively. Cows were classified as having cytological endometritis only, clinical endometritis only, or both cytological and clinical endometritis. Prevalence at exam 1 was 13.5, 9.4, and 5.8% for cytological endometritis only, clinical endometritis only, and both cytological and clinical endometritis, respectively. The detrimental effects of cytological and clinical endometritis on reproductive performance were additive. Among cows with clinical endometritis, only 38 and 36% had cytological endometritis at exam 1 and exam 2, respectively. Combination of diagnostic criteria improved neither the accuracy for predicting cytological endometritis nor the agreement between cytological and clinical endometritis. Overall, these results suggested that cytological and clinical endometritis may represent different manifestations of reproductive tract disease. They also suggested that use of the terminology clinical endometritis may not be accurate and that purulent vaginal discharge may be more descriptive.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cervix Uteri / pathology
  • Endometritis / diagnosis
  • Endometritis / veterinary*
  • Endometrium / pathology
  • Female
  • Palpation / veterinary
  • Puerperal Disorders / diagnosis
  • Puerperal Disorders / veterinary*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Vaginal Discharge / veterinary