‘Dirty cows’ or cows with metritis have become a major cause of poor reproductive performance in many dairy herds.

Metritis can cause a delay in cows regaining oestrus and prevent a cow from conceiving – leading to poor-submission rates, lower-conception rates and higher-empty rates.

Metritis is the infection of the whole uterus, whereas endometritis is an infection of the inner lining of the uterus.

Endometritis is the most common and affects almost every herd after calving. It is caused by a bacterial infection in the uterus; all cows have bacteria in their uterus after calving, but only some develop endometritis – because they are unable to clear this bacteria naturally.

Cows most at risk of developing endometritis are cows that had: retained cleanings; poor hygiene at calving; a twin birth; a difficult calving; a poor transition diet; or a low body condition score (BCS) at calving. Boost your herd’s fertility this breeding season

Symptoms of endometritis:
  • Foul smelling vaginal discharge;
  • Abnormal uterine discharge – watery and red/brown in colour;
  • Pus in the uterus.

Symptoms of metritis:

  • High temperature;
  • Decreased dry matter (DM) intakes;
  • Drop in milk yield;
  • Sometimes death.


Early identification and treatment are paramount for avoiding a decrease in cow performance and farm profitability.

Some farmers prefer to check all cows calved from seven to 28 days for signs of metritis; however, others prefer to only check ‘at risk cows’ or cows that showed signs of endometritis.

A quick and effective means of identifying ‘dirty cows’ is through the use of a device known as a Metricheck – but this is best carried out by a vet.

For treatment of metritis, a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs is generally required.