The main objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of intrauterine administration of chitosan microparticles (CM) in curing metritis in dairy cows. A secondary objective was to evaluate the effects of metritis treatments on milk yield, survival, and reproductive performance. Cows with a fetid, watery, red-brownish vaginal discharge were diagnosed with metritis. Holstein cows (n = 826) with metritis from 3 dairies located in northern Florida were blocked by parity (primiparous or multiparous) and, within each block, randomly assigned to one of 3 treatments: CM (n = 276) = intrauterine infusion of 24 g of CM dissolved in 40 mL of sterile distilled water at the time of metritis diagnosis (d 0), 2 (d 2), and 4 (d 4) d later; ceftiofur (CEF; n = 275) = subcutaneous injection of 6.6 mg/kg ceftiofur crystalline-free acid in the base of the ear at d 0 and d 3; Control (CON; n = 275) = no treatment applied at metritis diagnosis. All groups could receive escape therapy if condition worsened. Cure was considered when vaginal discharge became mucoid and not fetid. A group of nonmetritic (NMET; n = 2,436) cows was used for comparison. Data were analyzed by generalized linear mixed and Cox's proportional hazard models. Cows in CM and CON had lesser risk of metritis cure on d 12 than cows in CEF (58.6 ± 5.0 vs. 61.9 ± 4.9% vs. 77.9 ± 3.9, respectively). The proportion of cows culled within 60 days in milk (DIM) was greater for cows in CM than for cows in CEF and CON (21.5 ± 2.7 vs. 9.7 ± 1.9 vs. 11.3 ± 2.0%, respectively). Treatment did not affect rectal temperature or plasma nonesterified fatty acids, β-hydroxybutyrate, and haptoglobin concentrations. Milk yield in the first 60 DIM differed for all treatments, and it was lowest for CM (35.8 ± 0.3 kg/d), followed by CON (36.8 ± 0.3 kg/d) and CEF (37.9 ± 0.3 kg/d). The hazard of pregnancy up to 300 DIM was lesser for CM than CEF (hazard ratio = 0.62; 95% CI: 0.50-0.76), for CM than CON (hazard ratio = 0.77; 95% CI: 0.62-0.95) and for CON than CEF (hazard ratio = 0.80; 95% CI: 0.65-0.99). Culling was greater, and milk yield and fertility were lesser for CEF than NMET. In summary, CM did not improve the cure of metritis, and was detrimental to milk yield, survival, and fertility compared with CON. In contrast, CEF increased the cure of metritis, milk yield, and fertility compared with CM and CON. Finally, the negative effects of metritis on milk yield culling and fertility could not be completely reversed by CEF.
Keywords: ceftiofur chitosan microparticle dairy cow metritis