Fresh cows can be the most vulnerable animals on your farm. The time around calving exposes cows to the potholes of decreased dry matter intake and a decreased ability to respond adequately to disease challenges. That’s why you must pay close attention to your fresh pen and look for every opportunity to help reduce the risk of diseases, including metritis.
Reducing the risk of metritis requires careful management as cows move through the transition period. Dairies can lose, on average, $358 per cow with each case of metritis due to losses in milk production, treatment costs and reduced fertility.1 A plan for prevention and treatment is essential to decrease fresh cow disease incidence on your dairy and maximize response to therapy when that need arises. Your plan should focus on four goals to achieve success during the fresh cow phase.
To achieve your desired outcome, consider these keys to success.
Goal 1: Create stress-free transitions
Reducing metritis risk begins with reducing stress. During the close-up period:
To keep the maternity pen stress-free:
Goal 2: Know the risk factors
At calving time, there are several risk factors that can lead to metritis. If a cow experiences one of the following risk factors, monitor her closely to ensure timely treatment.
Goal 3: Train employees to diagnose and treat
It is important that key employees are trained to watch for metritis symptoms to allow for early detection and treatment. Work with your veterinarian under a veterinarian-client-patient relationship to establish protocols and consistently train new and existing employees to follow protocols for diagnosing and treating metritis. Fresh cow screening steps include:
If a cow is diagnosed with metritis, it is critical to treat the metritis infection with an appropriately labeled, efficacious product so she can return to full health and peak production quickly. EXCEDE® (ceftiofur crystalline free acid) Sterile Suspension is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat acute postpartum metritis in a two-dose regimen and has zero milk discard, allowing a cow to avoid a trip to the hospital pen, which is beneficial for minimizing social stress and exposure to more disease.4
Goal 4: Implement genomic testing to identify a cow's disease risk
The newest weapon in the arsenal of reducing disease risk is genomic testing. With genomic information gathered using CLARIFIDE® Plus, dairies gain new predictions that demonstrate which of their animals are at an elevated risk to experience the common diseases of mastitis, lameness, metritis, retained placenta, displaced abomasum and ketosis to improve herd profitability. First- and second-year results of a field study using CLARIFIDE Plus show that cows in the top quartile based on their respective genetic trait herd rankings had 45% fewer cases of metritis than cows in the bottom quartile. Effectively, cows in the worst 25% were twice as likely to become ill with metritis compared with cows in the best 25% of the herd genomically, resulting in a $32 difference per head.5
Reducing metritis incidence has a real economic impact for dairy operations. Find tips to minimize your metritis risk and work with your Zoetis representative to optimize your fresh cow management protocol.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: People with known hypersensitivity to penicillin or cephalosporins should avoid exposure to EXCEDE. EXCEDE is contraindicated in animals with known allergy to ceftiofur or to the ß-lactam group (penicillins and cephalosporins) of antimicrobials. Inadvertent intra-arterial injection is possible and fatal. Do not use in calves to be processed for veal. Pre-slaughter withdrawal time is 13 days following the last dose. See full Prescribing Information.
1 Overton M, Fetrow J. Economics of postpartum uterine health. Presented at: Pfizer Animal Health Dairy Wellness Summit; April 23, 2009; Dallas, TX.
2 Correa MT, Erb H, Scarlett J. Path analysis for seven postpartum disorders of Holstein cows. J Dairy Sci. 1993;76(5):1305-1312.
3 Overton MW. Principles of transition cow management. Presented at: Pfizer Animal Health Dairy Wellness Symposium; 2009; Sioux Falls, SD.
4 Nordlund K. The five key factors in transition cow management of freestall dairy herds, in Proceedings. 46th Florida Dairy Prod Conf 2009;27-32.
5 McNeel AK, Reiter BC, Weigel D, Osterstock J, DiCroce FA. Validation of genomic predictions for wellness traits in US Holstein cows. J Dairy Sci. 2017;100(11):9115-9124. doi:10.3168/jds.2016-12323