Evaluation of vaginal discharge with the Metricheck device and the relationship to reproductive performance in postpartum dairy cows
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Vaginal mucus during estrus was examined with the Metricheck device and the relationship to the reproduction of high-yielding dairy cows was studied. The study was conducted in 99 dairy herds located in Western Germany and 1348 Holstein-Friesian heifers and cows showing spontaneous estrus were examined. Independent of the Metricheck result, the animals were inspected by professional insemination technicians and those suitable for insemination (n = 989) were bred by artificial insemination (AI). Reproductive performance was characterized by non-return rate at 90 days (NRR90). The discharge of the animals predominantly had a clear appearance (70%) and a stringy consistency (80%). Animals with clear vaginal discharge had higher NRR90 (56%; n = 697) than animals with abnormal (turbid, mucopurulent, purulent, sanguineous) vaginal secretion (48%, n = 292; P < 0.05). NRR90 was lower in animals with short calving to AI interval (< 70 days; 39%) than with medium (70-130 days; 54%) or long (> 130 days; 62%) intervals (P < 0.05). NRR90 decreased by 12% from the lowest (< 15 kg) to the highest (> 45 kg) milk yield class. In conclusion, the use of the Metricheck device integrated into the insemination procedure is recommended to identify dairy cows suffering severely from uterine disease.