The economic cost of metritis in dairy herds Academic Article uri icon


  • The objective of this study was to estimate the cost of metritis in dairy herds. Data from 11,733 dairy cows from 16 different farms located in 4 different regions of the United States were compiled for up to 305 d in milk, and 11,581 cows (2,907 with and 8,674 without metritis) were used for this study. Metritis was defined as fetid, watery, red-brownish vaginal discharge that occurs ≤21 d in milk. Continuous outcomes such as 305-d milk production, milk sales ($/cow), cow sales ($/cow), metritis treatment costs ($/cow), replacement costs ($/cow), reproduction costs ($/cow), feeding costs ($/cow), and gross profit per cow ($/cow) were analyzed using mixed effect models using the MIXED procedure of SAS (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC). Gross profit was also compared using the Kruskal-Wallis test. Dichotomous outcomes such as pregnant and culling by 305 d in milk were analyzed using the GLIMMIX procedure of SAS. Time to pregnancy and culling were analyzed using the PHREG procedure of SAS. Models included the fixed effects of metritis, parity, and the interaction between metritis and parity, and farm as the random effect. Variables were considered significant when P ≤ 0.05. Metritis cost was calculated by subtracting the gross profit of cows with metritis from the gross profit of cows without metritis. A stochastic analysis was performed with 10,000 iterations using the observed results from each group. Milk yield and proportion of cows pregnant were lesser for cows with metritis than for cows without metritis, whereas the proportion of cows leaving the herd was greater for cows with metritis than for cows without metritis. Milk sales, feeding costs, residual cow value, and gross profit were lesser for cows with metritis than for cows without metritis. Cow sales and replacement costs were greater for cows with metritis than for cows without metritis. The mean cost of metritis from the study herds was $511 and the median was $398. The stochastic analysis showed that the mean cost of a case of metritis was $513, with 95% of the scenarios ranging from $240 to $884, and that milk price, treatment cost, replacement cost, and feed cost explained 59%, 19%, 12%, and 7%, respectively, of the total variation in cash flow differences. In conclusion, metritis caused large economic losses to dairy herds by decreasing milk production, reproduction, and survival in the herd.

author list (cited authors)

  • Pérez-Báez, J., Silva, T. V., Risco, C. A., Chebel, R. C., Cunha, F., De Vries, A., ... Galvão, K. N.

citation count

  • 1

publication date

  • January 2021