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Keywords:

  • Active immunity;
  • sheep;
  • uterine infection

Problem

Uterine infections seem more severe in nulliparous animals. Our objective was to determine whether intrauterine inoculation of nulliparous ewes with Arcanobacterium pyogenes and Escherichia coli would produce an antibody response and reduce the severity of subsequent infections.

Method of study

Nulliparous ewes (n = 9/treatment) received (i) ‘primary intrauterine inoculation’ with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) and ‘secondary intrauterine inoculation’ with PBS; (ii) primary PBS-secondary 75 × 107 cfu of A. pyogenes and 35 × 107 cfu of E. coli (PBS–Bacteria); (iii) primary bacteria-secondary PBS; or (iv) primary bacteria–secondary bacteria (Bacteria–Bacteria).

Results

Inoculations evoked an antibody response. Postmortem examinations 6 days after the secondary inoculation indicated that PBS-treated ewes did not develop uterine infections, but all bacteria-treated ewes did. Infections were either less severe or closer to resolution in Bacteria–Bacteria than they were in PBS–Bacteria ewes.

Conclusions

Intrauterine inoculation of nulliparous ewes with A. pyogenes and E. coli evokes an antibody response that may help the uterus reduce the severity of subsequent infections.