14 to 21 Day Post-Service Vulval Discharge



Infection of uterus during breeding, which is released at the next oestrus

Clinical signs

Sows with a creamy cheesy discharge from the vulva which subsequently repeat

Causal agent

None specifically identified.  Escherichia coli (E. coli), staphylococcus, streptococcus and klebsiella are often isolated from swabs

Management factors

Infection of the genital tract late in oestrus




If the sow returns to oestrus 18 to 21 days post-service, cull the sow


No antimicrobial therapy will be effective at stopping discharge or maintaining 'pregnancy'


Breeding control


Two services only are needed 24 hours apart am/am ideally

Only serve sows in standing heat, recognised the signs of oestrus.  Late serving is strongly associated with 14-21 day vulval discharges

Use all AI or Use single natural service followed by AI

Breeding area hygiene


At all times stalled sows must be separated from her urine and faeces

Clean any sow with a soiled rear prior to service.  Ideally this should be done on arrival to service area

Avoid human contact with the boar's penis during service, only use prepuce to direct penis

Ensure that the underline of the boar is kept clean by managing the boar in a clean dry environment

Ensure service is carried out on a good non slip floor

Do not serve lame sows with boars, only use AI

Cease heat checking by 'thumbing'

Ensure AI service carried out by single use disposable catheters

Farrowing house management

To limit trauma and infection of the vagina and bladder


Improve hygiene behind the sow by manually removing faeces 3 days prior and 7 days post-farrowing.  Very dirty rear regions should be cleaned with soap and water

Reduce manual farrowing as much as possible, use plastic gloves and clean hands

All sows manually farrowed should receive a suitable antibiotic by 16 g 1.5" needle intramuscularly into the neck

Encourage the correct use of oxytocin at 5 IU doses

Ideally increase lactating length to 24 days

Increase water supplies to flush out vagina


Heat check three times daily in breeding area and ensure sows rise and urinate

Ensure water supplies clean and freely available

Antibiotic therapy


Consult your veterinarian

The pathogenesis of 14-21 post-service vulval discharges:


Normal events in good standing heat




12 x 1010  sperm and normal bacteria in 150 ml enters the uterus.  Protective oestrogen levels are high

Uterine contractions rapidly transport semen to oviducts.  100,000 sperm only enter oviduct

The uterine defence mechanisms kill off any sperm remaining in the uterus and any bacteria

After ovulation uterine defence mechanism switches off.  Progesterone rises.  Cervix closes

Day 2-3 embryos enter the uterus.  Pregnancy continues.  Embroys implant in insensitive uterus

Serving late

Sow possibly still in some standing heat, may need some force. 12 x 1010 sperm in 150 ml  with normal bacteria enters the uterus.

Uterine defence mechanism reduced under increased progesterone levels.

Uterine contractions poor with poor uptake of semen

Uterine defence mechanism not activated to kill off sperm or invading bacteria.

Cervix closes trapping the invading bacteria.    Bacteria multiply and uterus responses with normal immune response.

Day 2-3 post ovulation embryos enter uterus fighting bacteria embryos caught in battle and die.  Go to new line.

Infection killed.  Purulent material trapped by closed cervix. 

No positive pregnancy signals.  Sow prepares to return on days 18-24

Day 14 to 21 cervix opens and purulent material is released.  Healed uterus looks normal


Sows with a purulent post-service vulval discharge evident between 14 and 21 days post-service.  Both sows presented in oestrus within 4 days of the discharge becoming evident