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This article was published in 1946
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Treatment of Sterility

T. G. BUNGERFORD, B.V.Sc., H.D.A., Penrith.

It generally has been conceded that Brucella abortus infection is a common, perhaps the most common, cause of breeding troubles of dairy cattle In New South Wales. Variously it has been suggested that such infection either may cause trouble directly or by paving the way for other secondary invaders which attack the endometrium (and later the cervix, fallopian tubes or ovary): the resistance of which has been lowered due to the primary Brucellosis.

It is suggested that the above views are misleading and incorrect. It is common knowledge that Brucella infections undoubtedly will produce abortions and other breeding troubles; but it is submitted further that failure to breed frequently is associated with inflammatory conditions of the genital tract which are not induced directly ar indirectly oy infection with Brucella abortus. For example, in the Windsor, Richmond and Penrith districts one frequently is consulted by the owner of a herd in which 20% or more of the cows have not been in calf for over a year or more. When a blood test is carried out in such a herd it is usual to find that there is only an odd positive reactor to the agglutination test for Brucellosis, or that the herd is Brucellosis-free.

Treatment of Sterility: As a routine in practice the following is adopted:—All cows which have returned persistently to the bull are bailed up and overalls and gum boots are donned. With a bucket of water and soap (lubricant), a rectal examination is made of the uterus. Pregnancy is determined, or in its absence the condition of the uterus; and the presence or absence of pus investigated carefully. If the animal is not pregnant, the ovaries then are massaged per rectum and any cysts or corpora lutea expressed. The manipulation almost invariably causes free bleeding of the rectal wall, which, in the writer's experience, never has caused any trouble to the cow later.

When all the cows have been treated thus, and an attendant has made brief notes of the operator's observations while in the rectum, the operator scrubs his hands and arms thoroughly in disinfectant. An attendant at the same time scrubs the perineal region with soap and water and then with disinfectant; using a mixture of one part Dettol and three parts liquid paraffin (a lubricant for the arm). The left hand now is inserted in the vagina, the cervix is grasped between the thumb and finger and a pair of Neilson's vulsellum forceps is used to pierce and secure the lower part of the cervix. With the cervix so held a curved Neilson catheter then is passed through into the uterus; in spite of the fact that it has been stated that it is not passible to pass such a catheter unless a cow is in season.

This has been proved to be an error.

Such a catheter is about twice as thick as a teat syphon, and has a curve of about 10 degrees. The technique of passing must be acquired by steady practice. With the vulsellum forceps the right hand is used to draw the cervix backward a little towards the vulva, and the left hand is placed in the vagina and grips the outside of the cervix. The cervix then is wobbled slightly from side to side or up and down whilst the curved catheter is rotated and pushed forward gently. In this way the catheter worms its way through the convolutions of the cervix. Rubber tubing and a metal ear syringe now are connected to the catheter and an aqueous solution of iodine is injected. This solution is made by dissolving one ounce of iodine crystals and two ounces of Potassium iodide in twenty ounces of water. One quarter of an ounce of this is added to ten ounces of water and this amount is injected into the uterus. Other injections tried have been from two to four ounces of a mixture of iodine crystals and paraffin (iodine crystals one part, ground in 100 parts of liquid paraffin), acriflavine solution, acriflavine emulsion, entozon, foaming silver nitrate (Gynex No. 2, the commonest drug used in human practice), sulphanilamide in paraffin and several others; but none of these seems to have so good an effect as the aqueous iodine.

When the uterine injection is completed, all cows are given an intra-muscular injection of thirty milligrammes of Stilboestrol.

In general, it has been found that approximately 70% of animals breed after one treatment. Of the remainder, some will be cured by a second or a third treatment. The progress of the treatment can be gauged accurately by the nature of the discharge from the cervix (found only on vaginal examination).

In conclusion, it will be noted that nothing has been said as to the commonest causes of endometritis, with its associated cervicitis and ovarian abnormalities. These conditions are common throughout New South Wales and generally respond to the above treatment; which is the point of greatest practical significance.


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