Four cows were inoculated into the uterus with Actinomyces pyogenes between 30 and 41 days of gestation. Gross morphological changes were monitored by rectal palpation and with a realtime B-mode two-dimensional scanner with a 7.5 MHz transrectal linear transducer, shortly before infection and afterwards at three to 12 hours intervals. Two control groups of cows 27 to 50 days pregnant were used: two cows were inoculated with 6 ml of sterile saline into the uterine lumen and four cows were treated with cloprostenol (prostaglandin F2 alpha analogue). There was a change in the uterine fluid from a black, non-echogenic image before infection to a grey or cloudy echogenic image as early as 21 hours after infection. There was an increase in the thickness of the endometrium of the horns and body of the uterus. The embryonic membranes thickened and separated from the endometrium as early as four hours after infection, followed by cessation of the embryonic heart beat, opening of the cervix and abortion. Abortion was followed by an increase in the amount of echogenic intrauterine fluid leading to an increase in the size of the uterus, and the cervix remained open for at least eight days. The area of the corpus luteum remained greater than 2 cm2 throughout the whole period. Intrauterine inoculation with sterile saline had no effects, but the administration of cloprostenol was followed by the death of the embryo and abortion within 72 hours, and the regression of the corpus luteum from greater than 2 cm2 at treatment to 0.4 cm2, 24 hours after abortion.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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