Ovarian function was assessed from milk progesterone profiles in 236 cows that were presented for clinical examination after parturition and in 227 unexamined herdmates. By 30 days after calving, 81 per cent of the cows had ovulated and by 42 days 92 per cent had resumed cycling. On average milk samples were taken for 155 days, and during this period 67 luteal cysts or cystic corpora lutea and 24 follicular cysts were recorded, and 88 cows were anoestrus for more than 30 days. Luteal cysts, follicular cysts and prolonged anoestrus all occurred twice as frequently in the cows which were clinically examined as in those which were not examined. Progesterone profiles indicated that at the time of clinical examination 72.4 per cent of the cows examined were cycling normally, 11.3 per cent were anoestrus, 6.7 per cent had follicular cysts, 8.0 per cent had luteal cysts and 1.6 per cent were pregnant. Rectal palpation correctly identified ovarian function in only 63.5 per cent of examinations, with 29.8 per cent of cows that were cycling normally, 58.1 per cent that were anoestrus, 70.3 per cent with follicular cysts and 25 per cent with luteal cysts being incorrectly diagnosed. Progesterone profiles confirmed normal oestrous cyclicity in 81.9 per cent of these cows diagnosed as cycling normally by the clinician. The clinical treatments administered included prostaglandin, gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH), progesterone (PRID) and the physical expression of ovarian structures. Cows diagnosed as cycling normally were left untreated. At the time of treatment, 28.8 per cent of prostaglandin-treated cows had low progesterone concentrations indicating that no luteal tissue was present.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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