Sheng Hua Tang, a classical herbal formula consisting of Radix Angelicae sinensis, Ligustici rhizoma, Semen persicae, Zingiberis rhizoma, and Radix glycyrrhizae, is known to be beneficial in alleviating postpartum diseases and facilitating a return to normal reproductive function. This study investigated whether the administration of Sheng Hua Tang within 2 to 4 hours after delivery was effective as a preventive treatment for reducing the risk of retained placenta in Holstein dairy cows. A total of 357 cows, each of which had delivered its calf spontaneously, were randomly allocated to one of two groups. In the treatment group, the cows (n = 175) received Sheng Hua Tang with an oral dose of 0.36 g crude herb per kg·body weight once daily for three consecutive days. The controls (n = 182) received no treatment. The placental retention proportion was 4.0% and 17.0% within 12 hours after delivery in the treated and control animals, respectively (P < 0.01). We found decreases in the calving-to-first-service interval (73.2 ± 25.1 vs. 81.9 ± 32.8 days; P < 0.01), calving-to-conception interval (93.4 ± 38.8 vs. 114.6 ± 42.9 days; P < 0.01), and service per conception (1.5 ± 0.8 vs. 1.9 ± 1.0 days; P < 0.01) in the treatment group compared with the control group. The first artificial insemination conception proportion was higher in the treatment group than in the control group (60.4% vs. 41.1%; P = 0.01). Moreover, the between-group difference in the proportion of cows that were pregnant within 180 days postpartum approached statistical significance (88.2% vs. 80.6%; P = 0.07). Sheng Hua Tang showed beneficial effects in reducing the incidence of retained placenta and improving subsequent reproductive performance in cows. This preventive treatment strategy would be effective in improving the management of puerperal health. The potential benefits of Sheng Hua Tang warrant further investigation to determine whether this preventive treatment strategy can be endorsed as a general preventive approach in postpartum cows.
Keywords: Cow; Herbal therapy; Prevention strategy; Retained placenta; Sheng Hua Tang.
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