Electronic Journal of Polish Agricultural Universities (EJPAU) founded by all Polish Agriculture Universities presents original papers and review articles relevant to all aspects of agricultural sciences. It is target for persons working both in science and industry,regulatory agencies or teaching in agricultural sector. Covered by IFIS Publishing (Food Science and Technology Abstracts), ELSEVIER Science - Food Science and Technology Program, CAS USA (Chemical Abstracts), CABI Publishing UK and ALPSP (Association of Learned and Professional Society Publisher - full membership). Presented in the Master List of Thomson ISI.
Volume 10
Issue 4
Veterinary Medicine
Mordak R. , Kubiak K. , Jankowski M. , Nicpoń J. 2007. HYSTEROSCOPY IN COWS – PICTURE OF POSTPARTURIENT METRITIS, EJPAU 10(4), #32.
Available Online: http://www.ejpau.media.pl/volume10/issue4/art-32.html


Ryszard Mordak, Krzysztof Kubiak, Marcin Jankowski, Józef Nicpoń
Department of Internal Medicine, Wroc³aw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Poland



The use of a flexible fibrescope for hysteroscopic examinations in cows which manifested clinical signs of postpartum metritis after retention the placenta, during early uterine involution period, was the aim of the paper. Seven Holstein – Friesian cows after pathological delivery were examined by the use hysteroscopy. In these cows retention of fetal membranes were observed. The fetal membranes retentions were manually resolved with antibiotic intrauterine protection. In a week after the manual removal of fetal membranes (9-10 days post calving) a clinical controls of uterus in cows were performed. The hysteroscopy was included to these clinical examinations. The fiberoscope Olimpus GIF XQ-20 with a working length of 1000 mm and outside diameter of 9.8 mm was used. This paper shows eight, selected, the most characteristic hysteroscopic pictures of uterus in cows with metritis which were done during clinical examinations (after fetal membranes retention). The pictures were done chronologically through vulvar cleft, next cervical canal, body of uterus, septum uteri up to their horns. Hysteroscopy is very useful method of detection abnormalities in details of the uterus postpartum and it was well tolerated by cows. All of them became pregnant with quite good parameters of reproduction.

Key words: cows, hysteroscopy.


The endoscopy is one of the many method in diagnoses of the female genital diseases in veterinary practice and it is rarely applied. It needs special, expensive equipment, conditions and competence. This method mainly is used in a few, special veterinary clinics rather in some females like beaches where is the biggest need [1]. In bovine practice hysteroscopy in cows is occasionally used [2]. The common method of detection the pathological features concerning uterus in cows is gynecological examinations with vaginal or rectal exploration – palpation [4]. These methods are usually sufficient for adequate diagnosis and therapy in cows [4,6]. In earlier postparturient period the local inflammation of uterus by many authors is called as a metritis [4,5,7,9]. Metritis in this time is often the result of dystocia or retained placenta and concerns deeper layers of uterine wall [9,10]. Then the postparturient involution of bovine uterus is disturbed but their cervical canal usually rapidly is getting close during few days and staying not to pass by the veterinarian hand. The clinical cases of metritis after retention of fetal membranes in cows occur very often [3,4,5]. Clinical symptoms of this inflammation during the earlier puerperal period are similar. The largeness and depth of endometrial changes are not always reflected exactly as a clinical signals. In that time the uterus is quite large and manual, gynecological examinations (vaginal and rectal exploration) are difficult or not completely possible. Sometimes in these cases the knowledge of endoscopic view of uterus in cows may be important, especially when the general or not typical symptoms occur [6,10]. Than hysteroscopy allows to receive the real intrauterine picture which can be the print for medical documentation of specific cases. It gives veterinarians wide intrauterine inspection and imagination about the health problem what is more than palpable impressions. Later, about two weeks after delivery inflammations of endometrium are more specific and often are called as an endometritis. Than the uterus in cow is easy to reach and exam in veterinary, rectal exploration. Histeroscopy and endometrial ablation techniques are quite popular in human medicine.


The examinations was done on seven 4–5 years old Holstein-Friesian cows. In each cow retention of fetal membranes was noted. Manual removal of the retained placenta were done 40–50 hours post-calving. In each case the uterus was protected against the bacterial infection using the intrauterine antibiotic based on oxytetracycline and neomycine. In one week after the manual removal of placenta (it is about 10 days after calving) the gynecological examination – rectal exploration was done as a control after intervention. In these cows varies grade of metritis were recognized clinically. At these same time also hysteroscopy included into the examination. The flexible gastroscope model Olympus GIF XQ-20 (working length of 1000 mm and an outside diameter of 9.8 mm) was used into the hysteroscopy in cows. The instrument was connected to a multipurpose unit as a typical set. These fiberoscope was similar to the pediatric one which was used by other authors [2]. Cows were examined (hysteroscopy) in a byre or another positions, restrained by neck chains. Manipulations were gently performed. Hygiene of fibrescope, perineum of cows and hands of operators were exactly performed as well. Two operators were necessary for examination. The fibrescope was performed into the vagina under the hand protection and next coming into the cervical canal of uterus. Earlier enlargement of cervical canal of uterus by the use plastic blunt tube was necessary and supported manual operations during passing the instrument through it into the body and uterine horns. All the time, during hysteroscopy the camera of fibrescope was turn on and the film was recorded electronically. The most characteristic lesions obtained during hysteroscopy in postparturient cows in quoted conditions and time are presented in this paper and chosen pictures are shown in Figs. 1-8.


Hysteroscopic pictures observed in seven days after retention of placenta in examined cows are set chronologically. The Fig. 1 presents vulvar, external issue of uterine cervical canal with pathological discharge, Fig. 2 shows a view on uterine partition and openings into uterine horns, Figs. 3-6 presents metritis in various grades and phases, Figs. 7 and 8 various pathological liquids in the tops of uterine horns observed during metritis. The features of abnormalities by postparturient metritis after retention of placenta obtained during histeroscopy in quoted period were similar in all examined cows. The real picture of hysteroscopy in cows may disclose various grades of pathological lesions. All hysteroscopically examined cows become pregnant. The reproductive parameters in cows where the fibrescope was used were and not bad. The first service conception rate for examined group of cows was 42.85%. The average number of services per conception 2.42 but the average number of days open was 127 days.

Fig. 1. Vulvar, external issue of uterine cervical canal with purulent discharge

Fig. 2. Uterine partition – view on uterine interior and openings into uterine horns

Fig. 3. Focus of purulent matter in uterine pregnant horn

Fig. 4. The mucosal surface and rest of caruncles in uterine horn with a partial metritis

Fig. 5. The mucosal surface and rest of caruncles in uterine horn with a complete metritis

Fig. 6. Rests of fetal membranes and mucus between caruncles, sanguineous liquid as well as small necrotic points in endometrium

Fig. 7. Pathological, fermenting liquid on the top of pregnant uterine horn

Fig. 8. Sanguineous liquid on the top of non pregnant uterine horn

The hysteroscopy in cows was shown to be un-traumatic during normal, gently and competent procedures.

It also allows to detect many detailed abnormalities inside uterine in cows. There are not many publications relative to this question in bovine veterinary practice.

Generally in cows inflammation observed in uterus post-calving is result of many factors acting during delivery [3,4,5,9]. Retention of fetal membranes in cows often leads to increase of growth of bacteria and to progress of local, intrauterine inflammation almost in 100 % of cases [3,7]. In these cases the highest concentration of bacteria in uterus in cows is just about 10 days after delivery [3]. Clinical controlling of uterus after manual removing retained placenta allows to avoid larger disorders of reproduction and next infertility in cows [4]. In earlier postpartum period during involution of uterus different methods of gynecological examinations may be used. The influence of postpartum manual examination of the vagina on uterine bacterial contamination in cows in normal hygienic conditions is not significant [11]. Thus manual – rectal or vaginal explorations as a clinical control of uterus during postparturient involution after physiological or pathological calving as well as after therapy retained fetal membranes are often used in bovine practice. Clinical symptoms of metritis a are often similar what have an influence on approach to therapy.

The hysteroscopy in cows in veterinary practice is rarely applied and of course for many cases is unnecessary. Hysteroscopy may be the aid to exam for better individual clinical cases with their variety, complexity and prognosis [8]. It can be especially important in complicated, not characteristic or questionable cases [10]. This method makes possible to look inside the uterus cavity and to take a samples to histological tests which may be important for detailed diagnosis [12]. The practical value of histeroscopy in human medicine is confirmed and not questionable. The knowledge of real picture of uterine cavity in discussed conditions in cows may be important for the approach to therapy in veterinary medicine by some individual cases as well. Hysteroscopy can show how large and deep endometritis or other lesions are present inside uterus. Hysteroscopy may be important aid for veterinarians in these cases which need exact medical documentation.


  1. Hysteroscopy by the use own equipment was shown to be simple, quick, atraumatic and useful method of examination during early postparturient period in cows.

  2. Hysteroscopic pictures observed in seven days after retention of placenta in examined cows shown similar cases of metritis with various grades of pathological lesions.

  3. Hysteroscopy allows to supplement clinical, manual gynecological examination giving real picture and scale of pathological changes in uterus which may be important for better medical documentation of some cases.

  4. The results concerning the health and fertility in cows after hysteroscopy were acceptable.


  1. Borkowska I., Jurczyk A., Lesnik M., Janowski T., 2003. Endoskopy of genital tracks in bitches. Medycyna Wet. 59, 297-299.

  2. Devine D.A. Linsay E.F., 1984. Hysteroscopy in the cow using a flexible fiberscope. Vet. Rec. 24, 627-628.

  3. Jaœkowski J., 1981. The newer study under postparturient disturbances in cattle. Medycyna Wet. 37, 142-144.

  4. Laven R.A., 1995. The Treatment of Retained Placenta. Cattle Practice 3 is 3.

  5. Laven R.A., Peters A., 1996. Bovine retained placenta, etiology, pathogenesis and economic losses. Veterinary Record 139, 465-471.

  6. LeBlanc S., 2003. Field Study of the Diagnosis and treatment of clinical endometritis in Dairy Cattle. Cattle Practice 11, iss 4.

  7. Malinowski E., Kaczmarowski M., 2003. Retention of placenta in cows. Medycyna Wet. 59, 376-381.

  8. Metzner M., Lessmann H.W, Merck C.C., 1992. Hysteroscopy as a diagnostic aid for uterine diseases of cattle. Tierarztl Prax. 4, 364-367.

  9. Paysley L.G., Mickelsen W.D., Anderson P.B., 1986. Mechanisms and therapy for retained fetal membranes and uterine infections of cows: overview. Theriogenology. 25, 353-359.

  10. Rohr S., Weissem P., Kiossis E., Meyer R., Mansfeld R., 2006. Chronic endometritis in a cow due to a foreign body. Practische Tierarzt., 87, 292-296.

  11. Sheldon I.M., Noakes D.E., Rycroft A.N., 2002. Dobson H. Effect of postpartum manual examination of the vagina on uterine bacterial contamination in cows. Veterinary Record 151, 531-534.

  12. Schlafer D.H., 2002. Bovine placental development, anatomy and pathology: before and after birth. Cattle Practice 10 is. 2.


Accepted for print: 2.12.2007

Ryszard Mordak
Department of Internal Medicine,
Wroc³aw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Poland
pl. Grunwaldzki 47, 50-366 Wroc³aw, Poland
email: rymo@poczta.wp.pl

Krzysztof Kubiak
Department of Internal Medicine,
Wroc³aw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Poland
Pl. Grunwaldzki 47, 50-336 Wroc³aw, Poland

Marcin Jankowski
Department of Internal Medicine,
Wroc³aw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Poland
Pl. Grunwaldzki 47, 50-336 Wroc³aw, Poland

Józef Nicpoń
Department of Internal Medicine,
Wroc³aw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Poland
pl. Grunwaldzki 47, 50-366 Wroc³aw, Poland

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