Intrauterine swabs were obtained from cows after calving on two commercial dairy herds with contrasting hygienic environments and incidence of leucorrhea, and cultured aerobically and anaerobically. Of 26 cows with a normal calving and puerperium, eight of 14 (57 per cent) were sterile on farm B where hygiene was poor, compared with five of 12 (42 per cent) on farm A where hygiene was better. Two cows on farm B retained their placentas and subsequently developed metritis/endometritis. Actinomyces pyogenes was the commonest bacterial isolate and Fusobacterium nucleatum, Proteus mirabilis and Bacteroides melaninogenicus were also frequently observed. Similar isolates were obtained from cows on farm B with parturient or puerperal disorders. The contrasting hygienic environments had no influence on either the quantitative or qualitative uterine bacterial flora. Thus, the difference in the incidence of endometritis must have been due to factors other than hygiene.
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