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2009, Vol. 4 No. 2, Article 38

 

Peripartum Reproductive Disorders in Buffaloes - An overview

H. M. Khan*1, M. Bhakat2, T. K. Mohanty3, A. K. Gupta4, V. S. Raina4 and M. S. Mir5


1Assistant Professor, Sheep Research Station; 2Assistant Professor, Division of Livestock Production and Management; 5Associate Professor, Division of Veterinary Pathology;

Faculty of Veterinary Sciences & Animal Husbandry,
SKUAST-K, Srinagar, India


3Senior Scientist; 4Principal Scientist;

Artificial Breeding Complex, Dairy Cattle Breeding Division, National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, Haryana.

 

 

 

*Corresponding Author; e-mail address: deep2005raj@gmail.com

 


KEY WORDS

Peripartum, reproductive disorders, buffaloes.

INTRODUCTION

Optimum fertility of breedable buffaloes is the key to dairy economics. Sound reproductive rhythm in each buffalo is essential for ensuring regularity of calving with a narrow dry period to have profitable dairy farming. Reproductive disorders are often multifaceted and multi-factorial problems, which, depending on their nature and severity culminate in varying degrees of suboptimal reproductive performance. Besides these, there are a multitude of non-reproductive or general health problems which have a bearing on reproductive performance. Thus infertility cannot be evaluated in isolation of other diseases and disorders.
Pre-parturient conditions such as hypocalcaemia and ketosis cause parturition associated problems as well as delayed involution of the uterus and metritis (2,3). Parturition associated problems include dystocia, still birth, abortions, retained placenta etc. Stillbirth and dystocia have been recognized as the most important factors compromising the future reproductive life of the animal. They increase the odds of developing metritis and retained placenta (2). Such conditions often cause delayed uterine involution and predispose to secondary infections (4) and abnormalities in the resumption of ovarian cyclicity.
Management of reproductive health for optimization of reproductive performance warrants critical evaluation of the baseline information regarding its various determinants. Therefore, the article is reviewed to provide the basic information required for management decisions for improving fertility in buffaloes.

Incidence of Various Reproductive Disorders

The increased intervention of man in regulating behavior and environment of livestock so as to exploit the best of their genetic potentials has led to an increase in the incidence of the reproductive disorders. This scenario is further aggravating due to more emphasis on selection and rearing of animal for specific commercial purposes which compromises livestock reproduction and creates fertility problems. The term fertility and infertility is often used carelessly, over-simplifying the much complicated patho-physiological determinants in either health or otherwise. Sub-fertility is matter of actual concern than infertility in the genetically characterized stock. The causative agent and pathogenesis of infertility and sub-fertility is influenced by various factors individually or collectively and directly or indirectly. These factors often go overlooked as the most instant factor captures the picture. Thus, there is a need for multi-faceted approach to understand correlation of various factors with reproductive performance. The incidence of reproductive disorders in buffaloes is increasing over years, ranging from 4.66% to 12.66% and comparatively higher incidences were reported in Murrah buffalo as compared to Surti buffalo (5,6,7,8,9,10, 11,12).  (See tables 1 to 6)

Relationship among reproductive disorders

Reproductive disorders are problems caused by a variety of factors and have many aspects. On the severity of the problem depends the extent to which the suffering animal's reproductive performance becomes affected. A large numbers of non-reproductive or general health problems have a bearing on reproductive performance. The problems may be broadly categorized into two groups -
Peri-parturient disorders (pre-parturient disorders, parturition associated disorders and post parturient complications) and General disorders (not associated with parturition).
Among these the most important factors affecting fertility is peri-parturient disorders (1). Milk fever and ketosis have been found to affect uterine contractions, delay calving and increase the risk of retained foetal membranes (RFM) and endometritis (3). Hypocalcaemia and ketosis during pre-parturient period cause parturition associated problems as well as delayed involution of the uterus and metritis (2). Stillbirth and dystocia have been recognized as the most important factor among the parturition associated problems (abortions, retained placenta) compromising the future reproductive life of the animal and increase the chances of developing metritis and retained placenta (2). Physical exertion and exhaustion during dystocia increased the probability of developing left-displaced abomasums, which often cause delayed uterine involution and predispose to secondary infections (4) and abnormalities in the resumption of ovarian cyclicity. From 2.73% to 9.72% buffaloes, parturition has been found to be complicated with retained foetal membranes (RFM) (15,16,8,10,9,12,13). RFM delays uterine involution, predisposes cows to endometritis or metritis and decreases fertility (30,31). Parturition associated disorders needs veterinary assistance. Any lacuna or mishandling during their management often has a fatal effect on future reproductive performance due to development of metritis and endometritis. In recent years, repeat breeding and anoestrus have emerged among the few most important reproductive conditions and differential recognition of a true and false anoestrus is a challenging job in buffaloes. Again the problems may be associated with previous reproductive complication or any other condition leading to hormonal disturbances.

Economic Implications

Poor reproductive performance of the animals leads to economic losses due to reduced production and additional cost on management (32). Sub-fertility, infertility and sterility is the outcome of impaired normal reproductive function, all of which result in economic losses due to the anestrus, extended dry period, late maturity, decreased calving percentage & lifetime productivity of the animal, increased cost of management and intense culling of the animals (33,34).
The economic inference of reproductive problems in buffaloes is scanty; a lead in such areas may be taken from the studies in cattle. In cattle, long calving interval has been incriminated to delay in resumption of ovarian cyclicity and calving to first insemination interval. Postpartum anestrus was reported to be as high as 49% in high yielding dairy cows (35) and has been incriminated for delayed cyclicity or prolonged luteal phase (36). Losses incurred by these problems being multifaceted are always under-estimated.
Peri-parturient disorders and induction of ketosis have been found to have a negative effect on metabolic status and milk yield during the first 14 DIM (38). Milk yield has been reported to decrease by 239 kg for retained fetal membrane, 181 kg for stillbirth, 173 kg for dystocia, and 98 kg for metritis (39). Taraphder (12) reported that the overall milk yield and 305 days milk yield were adversely affected by abnormal calvings in buffaloes.
About 18-40% of cattle and buffaloes were culled mainly due to infertility (40) which incriminates direct losses to the farmer as well as to the genetic resource.

Postpartum Reproductive Performance

Postpartum uterine health is most critical component of reproductive and productive efficiency of dairy herds. During early postpartum period uterus is highly vulnerable to even low grade injuries and infections, which may cause delayed uterine involution and further inflammation of the endometrium, depending on the nature of causative agent and its persistence. Thus, such conditions results in delay of the first ovulation postpartum, reduce conception rate (CR) to first insemination and increase the risk of culling due to infertility (41) even with best managemental practices. On the converse early uterine involution results in better conception rate as Melendez et al., (42) reported that such cows are 5.5 times more likely to conceive at first service and show 17% increase in conception rate at first service. LeBlanc et al., (43) observed that cows took 27% longer to become pregnant and were 1.7 times more likely to be culled for reproductive failure with clinical endometritis between 20 and 33 DIM than cows without endometritis. Risk of early postpartum metritis, stillbirth and retained placenta increased in case of cows with decreased milk production during early lactation period (43,44).
In Nili-Ravi buffaloes 24% incidence of sub-clinical uterine infection was reported by Usmani et al. (45). Such condition are responsible for slower involution of the cervix and uterus, longer mean interval to first postpartum estrus and longer service period in buffaloes of the infected group than in the normal group. Increased milk yield, decreased BCS and decreased body weight were also associated with delayed onset of cyclicity (46).
Post-partum anestrous has been recognized as a major reproductive limitation in buffalo. The calving interval in 48-66% of buffaloes has been >14 months as dictated by exposure to the environment and unpredictable management (53). 34–49% of buffaloes showed estrus during the first 90 days after calving and 31–42% remained anestrus for more than 150 days. Anestrous periods due to cessation of cyclic activity (true anestrus) for 3 or more weeks and prolonged luteal activity for 28 days or more were described to occur in about 25 and 8–11% of the buffaloes, respectively, after the first or second ovulation (50). Usmani et al. (54) reported that short cycles were followed by long anestrous and anovulatory periods due to prolongation of the inter-luteal interval to 21–22 days instead of the normal period of 6–7 days, before establishment of regular cyclicity. Underfeeding coupled with high environmental temperature stress was also incriminated for long anestrous and anovulatory periods (55,56). Inadequate nutrient intake has been found to deplete body energy reserves resulting in extended interval from calving to first estrus.
Season of calving had influence on the reproductive performance. Various workers reported that buffaloes calving in the rainy and monsoon seasons had shorter anestrous periods than other season calvers (57,58,59,60,61). Nevertheless, longer anestrous periods were reported for out of season (156±34 and 91±12 days) than normal breeding season calvers (57±6 and 56±5 days)  (62,63). Tomar et al. (13) reported reproductive disorders mostly in summer and rainy seasons. On the other hand Kaushik and Mathur (64) found problems of difficult calving highest during autumn, followed by rainy and summer months. They reported 8.71% cases of retained placenta followed by abortions (1.18%) and stillbirth (0.44%).
The mean postpartum uterine involution length (PUI), POI and mean postpartum estrus interval (PEI) were 34.30 ± 1.33 days, 59.37 ± 4.76 days and 69.03 ± 6.03 days, respectively. POI was shortest in buffaloes suckled for one month (P<0.05) and suckling period had significant positive (P<0.01) correlation with POI and PEI. BCS in buffaloes resuming oestrus was constantly higher than those failing to resume ovarian cyclicity. Higher BCS was significantly (P<0.01) shortened PET, POI and PEI (65).

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Table 1           Incidence of Abnormal Calvings in buffaloes

Breed

Place

Average

Reference

Murrah

NDRI, Karnal

12.66

12

Murrah

NDRI, Karnal

5.60

5

Murrah

Ambala

8.00

6

Murrah

Meerut

8.94

9

Surti

Dharwad

4.99

10

Surti

Dharwad

4.66

7

Surti

Vallabhnagar

5.49

11

Buffalo

Bangladesh

10.06

8

 

Table 2           Incidence of Retention of Placenta in buffaloes

Breed

Place

Average

Reference

Murrah

NDRI, Karnal

8.63

12

Murrah

Karnal

6.01-14

13

Murrah

NDRI, Karnal

6.60

14

Murrah

NDRI, Karnal

7.30

15

Murrah

Meerut

4.01

9

Surti

Dharwad

2.73

10

Surti

Dharwad

7.56

16

Buffalo

Bangladesh

9.72

8

 

Table 3           Incidence of Metritis in buffaloes

Breed

Place

Average

Reference

Murrah

NDRI, Karnal

9.63

12

Murrah

Karnal

8.69-11.32

13

Murrah

NDRI, Karnal

6.20

15

Murrah

NDRI, Karnal

3.60

14

Murrah

Meerut

3.41

9

Surti

Dharwad

9.81

16

Buffalo

Maharashtra

12.45

17

 

Table 4           Incidence of Endometritis in buffaloes

Breed

Place

Average

Reference

Buffaloes

Gujarat

28.72

18

Buffaloes

Tamilnadu

6.33

19

Buffaloes

Madhya Pradesh

4.08

20

Buffaloes

Andhra Pradesh

18.73

21

Buffaloes

Punjab

8.07

22

Buffaloes

Karnataka

9.00

23

Buffaloes

Andhra Pradesh

20.68

24

 

Table 5           Incidence of Anoestrus in buffaloes

Breed

Place

Average

Reference

Murrah

NDRI, Karnal

28.62

12

Murrah

Karnal

56-67

13

Murrah

Ludhiana

19.84

25

Murrah

Calcutta

50.84

26

Buffalo

Izatnagar

25.10

27

Buffaloes

UP

69.40

28

Buffaloes

Gujarat

9.18

18

Buffaloes

Tamilnadu

9.09

19

Buffaloes

Madhya Pradesh

60.83

20

Buffaloes

Andhra Pradesh

30.67

21

Buffaloes

Punjab

67.11

22

Buffaloes

Bihar

44.60

29

Buffaloes

Karnataka

51.00

23

Buffaloes

Andhra Pradesh

56.36

24

 

Table 6           Incidence of Repeat Breeding in buffaloes

Breed

Place

Average

Reference

Murrah

NDRI, Karnal

12.14

12

Murrah

Karnal

4.57-7.67

13

Murrah

Ludhiana

28.84

25

Buffalo

Bangladesh

28.82

8

Buffaloes

Gujarat

6.35

18

Buffaloes

Tamilnadu

4.03

19

Buffaloes

Madhya Pradesh

0.61

20

Buffaloes

Andhra Pradesh

29.80

21

Buffaloes

Punjab

12.30

22

Buffaloes

Bihar

55.40

29

 

 

 


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