Metritis is not an uncommon condition in dairy cows due to bacterial invasion of the uterus following calving. Depending on interactions and degree of infection, the type of bacteria involved, the immune function of the cow and overall husbandry, the animal may cast off the infection, develop a chronic infection, become acutely ill, or die due to sepsis. The presence of pathogenic bacteria in the uterus causes inflammation and damage to the endometrium, suppresses pituitary luteinizing hormone secretion, and disrupts follicular growth and ovarian function. The result is lowered conception, particularly at first insemination, and increased early embryonic losses in cows that do not conceive. Days to pregnancy are extended, risk of culling for health reasons and reproductive failure are increased, and milk production is reduced. Metritis is estimated to cost $310 to $390 per cow affected however, costs will vary depending on the severity of the condition.
Dr. James D. Ferguson, University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Ferguson has been a faculty member of the University of Pennsylvania since 1990 and has a clinical-research appointment. He recently retired in January 2017. He has been interested in nutrition and reproduction in dairy cows and has broad specialty training in nutrition and reproduction. Dr. Ferguson has experienced formulating rations for dairy herds, trouble-shooting nutritional problems in dairy herds, and developing field usable nutrition software. In addition, he evaluates problems with milk production, reproduction, and health in dairy cows. His research endeavors have included dietary fats in dairy rations, protein, biologic supplements, and nutritional interactions with reproduction. More recently his work has focused on nutrition and environmental impact on dairy farms, particularly dealing with P and N. He has also co-organized a course in global food security and has explored the ethics of agricultural production.