In dairy cows, the efficacy of oxytocin treatment for preventing retained fetal membranes (RFM) is controversial. The physiological condition of cows associated with the calving process may affect the action of oxytocin. This study aimed to elucidate the difference in the efficacy of exogenous oxytocin treatment immediately after calving among cows that received various obstetric interventions. The calving ease was recorded using a score of 1-5, and assisted birth was defined as a score of 2 or more. Cows that required calving assistance (assisted, n = 28) due to delayed calving progression had a prolonged time from calving to expulsion of the fetal membrane (P < 0.01), and impaired reproductive performance compared to cows that did not receive calving assistance (unassisted, n = 78). The effect of oxytocin treatment was determined using cows that did not expel their fetal membrane within 3 h after calving. Cows were randomly divided into the control (unassisted, n = 41; assisted, n = 22) or oxytocin group (unassisted, n = 33; assisted, n = 10). Oxytocin (50 IU) was administered intramuscularly to the cows in the oxytocin group between 3 and 6 h after calving, while no treatment was administered in the control group. In cows with assisted birth, oxytocin administration accelerated placental expulsion (P < 0.05) and improved several reproductive parameters, such as the number of services until conception (P < 0.05) and the calving to conception intervals (P < 0.05) compared to the control group. On the other hand, oxytocin administration slightly accelerated placental expulsion (P < 0.05), but failed to improve fertility in cows with unassisted birth. The results indicate that the action of oxytocin varies depending on the calving situation of the cows. Oxytocin administration during the early postpartum period could prevent RFM and improve the decline in reproductive performance associated with calving assistance.
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