Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Pneumovagina

Contributor(s): Ben Dustan, Jo Oultram

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Introduction

  • Vulva lips cease to act as a seal, therefore air +/- feces becomes aspirated into the vagina, resulting in the dilation of the vagina, and possibly uterus, with concomitant bacterial contamination.
  • Causes: aging, vulva conformation, weight, trauma (especially multiple calvings +/- injuries).
  • Signs: see below.
  • Diagnosis: predisposing external conformation of vulva, anus and perineum, vaginal and/or rectal palpation, vaginoscopy, cytology, bacteriology.
  • Treatment:
    • None may be necessary in mild cases.
    • Subfertility affects may be subverted by artificial insemination.
    • Dependent upon economics and cause of condition, surgery may be considered - vulvoplasty / Caslick's operation Caslick's operation.
    • Address predisposing factors, such as body condition.
  • Prognosis: depends on cause and predisposing factors.
    • Mild cases carry a good prognosis for future breeding success.
    • Severe cases are unlikely to breed successfully.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Poor vulvar conformation.
  • Trauma.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Advancing age.
  • Poor body condition.
  • Multiparity.
  • Trauma to vulva, vestibule or perineal body during calving, and to a lesser extent mating .
  • External trauma to vulvar labia.
  • Poor tail-head, perineal fossa conformation.

Pathophysiology

  • Vulvar lips cease to act as a seal   →   air, bacteria and other contaminated material (feces) enters   →   vaginitis   →   Endometritis  →   infertility.
  • Poor vulvar conformation, eg vulva high in relation to pelvic brim and/or cranially sloping vulva, combined with other predisposing factors, especially age and multiparity   →   vulval lips cease to act as a seal   →   air aspirated into vagina and/or fecal contamination of vagina   →   vaginitis    →   ascending infection   →   endometritis →   subfertility or infertility.
  • Some cases develop urinary tract infection (rare).
  • Urovagina may develop in some cases, particularly when vulvar lips sutured ventrally so low as to obstruct exit of urine.
  • Cows in poor Body condition Body condition  →   thin-lipped, toneless muscled vulva, absence of pelvic fat pads allows dorsal vaginal commissure to slope cranially.
  • Vulvar defects often more apparent during estrus.
  • Repeated trauma during calving, eg repeated stretching or laceration of vulva, vestibule or perineal body, Episiotomy Episiotomy  →   disrupt vulvar barrier by damaging underlying musculature.
  • Older multiparous cattle   →   abdominal enlargement and stretching of mesometrium   →   splanchnoptosis   →   anus pulled cranially   →   distortion of perineum   →   vulva becomes stretched and tilted dorsocranially.
  • Thin cattle, particularly heifers, may have vulval lips drawn forwards and decreased substance to labia and weak musculature.

Timecourse

  • Chronic; conformational defect usually excabated by age.
  • Traumatic cause - acute.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMed Resource.
  • Dehghari S N, Yavari M, Kafi M (2011) Treatment of pneumovaginits in dairy catle by caslick operation. ROAVS (6), pp 349-351.

Other sources of information

  • Andrews, Blowey, Boyd, Eddy (2004) Bovine Medicine. 2nd Edn.Wiley-Blackwell. pp 519


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