A granular vulvitis syndrome associated with ureaplasma infection was first recognized in Ontario dairy herds in 1972.
The acute form of the disease was characterized by a purulent vulvar discharge, an inflamed hyperemic vulvar mucosa and varying degrees of granularity. In the chronic form, there was an absence of a purulent discharge and a gradual decline in the severity of the hyperemia and granularity. Epithelial inclusion cysts were observed in the vulvar epithelium of approximately 10% of affected cows.
A seasonal variation in the incidence of the disease was observed. Herd morbidities during the summer months reached a low of 37% and increased to 75% during the winter months with constant housing.
When widespread in herds, the acute form of the disease had a significant effect on fertility. In four herds examined, first service conceptions dropped on average by 27%.
The chronic form of the disease had a less detrimental effect on fertility with first service conceptions being reduced on average by 13%.
Intrauterine infusions of a tetracycline 24 hours postbreeding were found to be of value in improving conception rates in acutely affected herds.