Application of intravaginal lactic acid bacteria to lower uterine infections and improve reproductive performance of postpartum dairy cows

  • Author / Creator
    Deng, Qilan
  • Transition dairy cows are susceptible to uterine infections due to the compromised immunity around calving and substantial bacterial contamination in the uterus immediately after calving. Cows with uterine infections are at higher odds of developing other periparturient diseases, resulting in lower milk production and impaired fertility. Infertility related to uterine infections has become the main reason for a cow to be culled from the herd. So far, there have been no effective approaches to treat uterine infections. In this study we tested whether intravaginal treatment of transition dairy cows with a mixture of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) can lower the incidence rates of uterine infections, improve the productivity of reproduction and milk yield. The LAB preparation was composed of Lactobacillus sakei and two strains of Pediococcus acidilactici, isolated from vaginal mucus of healthy pregnant dairy cows and infused into the vaginal tract of 100 dairy cows with the cell count of 108 - 109 cfu/dose before or around calving. Results showed that intravaginal infusion of LAB modulated the bacterial composition in the vaginal tract, increased the production of mucosal sIgA, and therefore lowered the incidence rates of metritis and total uterine infections. It also lessened systemic inflammation indicated by the decreased concentration of lipopolysaccharide binding protein and serum amyloid A in the serum. Furthermore, LAB treatment modulated the production of hormones related to reproduction and expedited uterine involution of transitional dairy cows. Cows treated with LAB before calving had a shorter number of days open; whereas cows treated with LAB around calving accelerated ovarian resumption of cyclicity. In addition, application of LAB intravaginally exerted changes to metabolic status, such as a decrease in the concentration of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), and modified milk composition, such as the content of protein and immunoglobulin (Ig) G. More importantly, cows treated with LAB exhibited greater milk production and higher feed efficiency. In conclusion, application of probiotic supplements intravaginally holds promise to lower the incidence of uterine infections, expedite uterine involution, and improve reproductive and productive performance of postpartum dairy cows.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Animal Science
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Ametaj, Burim N. (Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science)
    • Uwiera, Richard (Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science)
    • Bobe, Gerd (Department of Animal Sciences, Oregon State University)
    • Gӓnzle, Michael G. (Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science)
    • Willing, Benjamin (Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science)