Bacteriology of uterine infections

Up to 90% of recently calved cows have uterine infections 1 to 2 week after parturition. It is the ability of endometrial defences to eliminate the infection that decides on the progression of uterine infections.

Cows with retained placenta and labour complications show increased bacterial contamination of the uterus.

Bacteriological findings

Bacteriological findings in uteri of cows with no periparturient disorders and cows with retained foetal membranes (RFM) (Dohmen et al., 2000)
1-2 days post calvingNon-problem cowsRFM cows
E. coli33%97%
A. pyogenes7%10%
Bacteriodes spp.-20%
F. necrophorum7%3%
Clostridium spp.7%65%

There is a marked difference in the population of bacteria responsible for uterine infections in different periods post calving.

Bacteria isolated from acute and sub-acute cases of periparturient disorders
BacteriaAcuteSub-acute
A. pyogenes33-83%33-85%
Gram neg. bacteria49-67%17-70%
E. coli67-85%0-17%
Peptostreptococci60-80%<5%
remaining23-52%7-39%

It has been well established now that there is certain correlation between bacterial species involved in uterine infections.

For more information see the endometritis slide show:

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Bacterial Associations in Endometritis
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uterine discharge

Purulent uterine discharge seen on vaginoscopic examination

bacterial culture

Bacterial culture

bacteria colonies

Growth of colonies of bacteria on a culture medium