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Associations between intrauterine bacterial infection, reproductive tract inflammation and reproductive performance in pasture-based dairy cows

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 12:03 authored by Melvin de Boer, Bryce BuddleBryce Buddle, Cord Heuer, Tao Zheng, Stephen LeBlanc, Scott McDougall, Hassan Hussein
Reproductive tract bacterial infections, particularly those caused by Escherichia coli and Trueperella pyogenes, can have a negative impact on reproductive performance. It has been hypothesized that the presence of E coli early postpartum may increase the risk of isolation of T pyogenes later postpartum. The objective of the present study was to examine associations between intrauterine bacterial infections with E coli and T pyogenes and any bacterial growth (irrespective of bacterial species), purulent vaginal discharge (PVD), cytologic evidence of endometritis (an increased proportion of polymorphonuclear cells [PMNs]), and reproductive performance. Dairy cows (n = 272) from six herds were examined at Days 0 (median, 2 days in milk), 21 and 42 postpartum. From each cow two intrauterine samples were collected via triple-guarded cytobrush at Days 0 and 21. The first cytobrush was used for bacteriologic culture. Escherichia coli and T pyogenes were isolated by culture, and E coli isolates were assigned to one of four phylogenetic groups using a two-step triplex polymerase chain reaction. In addition, T pyogenes was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction. The second cytobrush was used to prepare a cytology slide. Nucleated cells (n = 200) were categorized as epithelial cells, PMNs, or macrophages. Cows were also assessed for body condition score, PVD score, the presence of a CL, and pregnancy. Statistical analysis was performed using multivariable models. There was no association between the presence of E coli at Day 0 and probability of isolation of T pyogenes 3 weeks later; however, E coli positive cows at Day 0 were more likely to be diagnosed with E coli at Day 21 (relative risk [RR] = 2.0, P < 0.01). Escherichia coli at Day 0 or T pyogenes at Day 21 increased the risk of PVD diagnosis 3 weeks later (RR = 1.9; P = 0.04 and RR = 3.0; P = 0.05, respectively). Cows with any bacterial growth at Day 21, irrespective of species, were less likely to conceive within 3 weeks after the start of the seasonal breeding program (RR = 0.8; P = 0.05). Interestingly, cows with 25% PMNs or greater at Day 0 had shorter time to pregnancy (hazard ratio = 1.32; P = 0.05). Intrauterine bacterial infection may impair reproductive performance but the presence of E coli was not associated with isolation of T pyogenes 3 weeks later. Increased endometrial flux of PMNs in cows early postpartum may be a physiological process and improve reproductive performance.


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© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • English

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  • No



Journal title



de Boer, M., Buddle, B. M., Heuer, C., Hussein, H., Zheng, T., LeBlanc, S. J., & McDougall, S. (2015). Associations between intrauterine bacterial infection, reproductive tract inflammation, and reproductive performance in pasture-based dairy cows. Theriogenology, 83(9), 1514-1524.

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