Evaluation of rectal temperature in diagnosis of puerperal metritis in dairy cows

https://doi.org/10.17221/3026-VETMEDCitation:Palenik T., Dolezel R., Kratochvil J., Cech S., Zajic J., Jan Z., Vyskocil M. (2009): Evaluation of rectal temperature in diagnosis of puerperal metritis in dairy cows. Veterinarni Medicina, 54: 149-155.
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The objective of this field trial was to evaluate the body temperature within the interval of 10 days post partum in cows with puerperal metritis, as confirmed by a clinical examination, in comparison with cows without clinical symptoms of this disease. In addition, the body temperature in cows having a purulent and putrid character of lochia was compared. Rectal temperature was measured daily in 92 randomly selected cows. The cows were examined clinically on day 10 ± 3 post partum and were divided according to the character of lochia into Group M1 (purulent lochia, n = 29), Group M2 (putrid lochia, n = 28) and Group C (normal lochia, n = 35). The number of cows with a fever (temperature > 39.0°C or > 39.5°C) at least once during 10 days post partum was higher in Groups M1 and M2 compared to Group C (86.2% and 92.9% vs. 54.3%, P < 0.01 and P < 0.001, or 41.4% and 71.4% vs. 14.3%, P < 0.05 and P < 0.001). In addition, there was a higher number of cows with a temperature > 39.5°C in Group M2 in comparison with Group M1 (P < 0.05). More cows showed consistent temperatures > 39.0°C for three days or > 39.5°C for two days in Group M2 compared to Group C (42.9% vs. 8.6%, P < 0.01 or 25.0% vs. 2.9%, P < 0.05). Average daily temperatures were higher in Group M2 compared to Group C on Days 1, 3, 5 and 7 (PP < 0.05) as well as on Days 2 and 6 (P < 0.01) post partum. The results reveal the following: higher incidence of body temperature > 39.0°C in cows with puerperal metritis; risk period for fever from Day 3 to Day 7 post partum; higher incidence of fever in cows with putrid lochia compared to cows with purulent lochia; body temperature > 39.5°C being a more accurate indicator of puerperal metritis than temperature > 39.0°C. Despite that, the occurrence of fever was irregular. In conclusion, measurement of body temperature does not represent a sufficiently accurate diagnostic method for puerperal metritis although it may be considered a useful indicator for assessment of the severity of the disease.
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