Postpartum uterine diseases of dairy cows compromise animal welfare and may result in early removal from the herd or impaired reproductive performance. The relationship between poor immune status around calving and uterine diseases is well established; however, that between natural antibodies (NAb) and uterine health has not yet been studied. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association of circulating NAb levels around parturition with puerperal metritis, clinical endometritis, and the intrauterine presence of the Escherichia coli virulence factor FimH. One hundred six pregnant heifers were enrolled; NAb in serum samples collected at 30. ±. 3 d prepartum and at 2. ±. 1 and 35. ±. 3 d in milk (DIM) were measured by ELISA. Puerperal metritis was defined as the presence of fetid, watery, red-brown uterine discharge and rectal temperature >39.5°C at 6. ±. 1 DIM. Clinical endometritis was defined as presence of pus in the uterine lavage sample collected at 35. ±. 3 DIM. The intrauterine presence of the fimH gene at 2. ±. 1 DIM was evaluated by PCR. The overall optical density (wavelength of 650. nm) of ELISA-detected serum NAb was lower for cows diagnosed with puerperal metritis than for cows that did not have puerperal metritis. Additionally, cows diagnosed with clinical endometritis tended to have lower levels of NAb than did cows without clinical endometritis. Finally, FimH-positive cows had lower overall levels of serum NAb compared with FimH-negative cows. In conclusion, NAb detected in serum around parturition was associated with uterine health of dairy cows.
- Immune system
- Natural antibodies