Metritis _2017-11-03

Example Scenario:
Farm D is a 400 cow dairy which block calves. The farmer notices nearly 10% of cows calving go on to develop signs of metritis (high temperature, vaginal discharge) the following week.

These cows often go on to develop endometritis (whites) and are difficult to get back in calf. They consult their vet about their options to tackle this, as their conception rates are reducing and the calving interval getting longer.

Example treatment options

Option 1 – Inappropriate use
Treat all affected cows with ceftiofur, a zero-milk withdrawal 3rd generation cephalosporin

This approach uses approx. 1mg/PCU of antibiotic however, 3rd generation cephalosporins are classified as ‘Highest Priority Critically Important Antibiotics’ (HP-CIAs) and use should be avoided.

Option 2 – Improved approach
Treat all cases with amoxicillin or cephalexin, neither of which are HP-CIAs.

This treatment approach uses approx. 3.5 mg/PCU, typically with a 3-day withdrawal. While this uses more antibiotic by weight, it avoids using an HP-CIA.

Option 3 – Best practice
In addition to Option 2, the vet advises preventive strategies (e.g. changes to transition cow feeding and management) to reduce risk of ketosis and milk fever in fresh-calved cows.

This approach uses 3.5mg/PCU antibiotic in the short term as per Option 2, but also reduces the number of new cases. Long term antibiotic use will decline and animal health will improve.

Visit to find out more about antibiotics and UK farming, and access facts, statistics, science and reports. The website also contains best practice case studies and inspiration for farmers who want to work with their vets to ensure they are using antibiotics responsibly.