Oculyze MUH – Monitoring Uterine Health
the on-site diagnostic tool for detection of subclinical endometritis in dairy cows


Oculyze MUH – Monitoring Uterine Health
the on-site diagnostic tool for detection of subclinical endometritis in dairy cows

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Subclinical Endometritis

Subclinical endometritis is an inflammatory process of the bovine uterus without the typical symptoms of inflammation and without any involvement of pathogens. However, since the disease is highly correlated with poor fertility, dairy cows suffering from subclinical endometritis usually show poor conception rates.
In the postpartum (p.p.) period, some cows typically develop clinical endometritis, which usually entails symptoms such as vaginal mucopurulent discharge. The rest of the herd appears healthy.

However, it is known that approx. 30% of the herd suffer from the subclinical endometritis, which often remains undetected, but results in poor fertility such as reduced pregnancy rates, increased median days open and diminished first service conception rates (1).

Etiology of subclinical endometritis

Etiology of subclinical endometritis has not been fully clarified yet. Recent studies suggest a multifactorial induction, leading to an inflammation of the endometrium. On the one hand, the inflammatory process could be induced by a foregoing bacterial infection. Although all pathogens have been cleared, the uterine immune response persists due to a disbalanced level of pro- and antiinflammatory cytokines. On the other hand, it is hypothesized that oxidative stress, negative energy balance or ketosis promote the occurrence of subclinical endometritis (2, 3).

Symptoms of subclinical endometritis

Subclinical endometritis often goes undetected as there are no typical uterus infection symptoms. In contrast to clinical/acute or chronical endometritis, there is no mucopurulent discharge, nor any visible signs of uterine inflammation that can be detected via vaginoscopy or ultra sound examination. The imbalance of the uterine immune response can only be diagnosed by endometrial cytology (8). Another indicator for subclinical endometritis can be the conception rates as the disease is known to cause infertility. Hence, poor first service conception rates, a herd average with significantly more than 100 days open and reduced pregnancy rates can be a symptom of subclinical endometritis (1, 4).

Diagnosis of subclinical endometritis

In the past, several techniques have been used to diagnose subclinical endometritis in cattle (6). Nowadays, endometrial cytology with microscopic analysis has become the gold standard. To obtain cytological material of the endometrium, samples can be retrieved by uterine lavage, uterine biopsy or by taking endometrial smears with a cytobrush or cytotape. Recent studies suggest cytobrush or cytotape is the most feasible approach (5, 9). For sampling, cytotape or cytobrush is induced into the cow’s uterus (e.g. during artificial insemination or fertility checkup) and gently rotated against the endometrial wall. The cytological sample is then spread onto a conventional microscopy slide, stained and examined under a microscope in order to define the rate of polymorphnuclear cells (PMNs) to epithelial cells, e.g. the relation of normal endometrial cells to inflammatory cells. After day 28 p.p., a healthy cow should have less than 5% PMNs in an endometrial smear. A level of more than 5% PMNs is defined as subclinical endometritis, implying the ongoing inflammatory process (7).

However, the traditional diagnostic procedures entail several challenges as they rely on manual microscopes, which are heavy and expensive. Furthermore, complex and time-consuming sample preparation and evaluation is required. Hence, subclinical endometritis diagnostics usually requires a specialized lab and experienced staff. A diagnosis is confirmed several days after sampling, which means that potential treatments or measures can only be established with a few days delay.

subclinical endometritis can affect 20-40% of dairy cows without causing visible symptoms
of illness


subclinical endometritis can lead to poor conception rates and infertility


Oculyze MUH helps to identify affected cows by providing reliable, quick on-farm
diagnostic tool


 

Product

Oculyze MUH simplifies and standardizes the diagnostic procedure of subclinical endometritis

  • Step 1

    sample with cytotape

  • Step 2

    streak sample

  • Step 3

    dye sample with fluorescent dye

  • Step 4

    take pictures

  • Step 5

    receive results in less than 1 minute

 

To conduct an analysis, a sample from a cytobrush/cytotape is smeared onto a conventional microscopy slide, stained with one drop of fluorescent dye. After two minutes, the sample can be analyzed on-site (e.g. immediately on the farm). For sample evaluation, 10-20 microscope images or 300 cells in total are required. The images are taken with a mobile fluorescent microscope and a sample with cytotape streak sample dye sample with fluorescent dye take pictures receive results in less than 1 minute smart phone app. After an automatic upload to the Oculyze cloud, they are processed with powerful automated image recognition algorithms. PMN levels are immediately displayed on the app in order to provide instant results.

Technology

Oculyze MUH is based on automated image recognition and analysis, using deep learning and artificial intelligence. Oculyze’s cloud-based mobile microscopy platform transforms ordinary smart phones into powerful tools enabling anyone to capture high-quality microscopic images on-site, and receive accurate and reproducible results in seconds.

MUH - Technology

Cytological smears of bovine endometrium containing endometrial cells and PMNs (fluorescent staining)



MUH - Technology

The image recognition and analysis system of Oculyze MUH identifies and counts PMNs (red boxes) and endometrial cells (green boxes) automatically

Features


On-farm detection of subclinical endometritis

Oculyze MUH provides easy and quick on-farm detection of cows suffering from subclinical endometritis. An accurate and immediate diagnosis enables you to to implement adequate measures to regain sufficient herd reproduction performance.


Standardized analysis

Oculyze delivers expert knowledge to your farm and counts the cells for you. The automated image recognition and analysis ensures standardized evaluation of every sample. Since the results are are independent of the examiner, Oculyze MUH is also suitable for scientific studies which require low intra- and interexperimental variation.


Helps to improve herd reproduction level

Reliable herd monitoring helps to improve the herd reproduction level. The system can be used for the evaluation of individual animals or regular herd monitoring.


Mobile equipment

Oculyze MUH is based on a mobile microscope and a smart phone app. No lab microscope or microscopy expertise are required. The system can be adapted to conventional fluorescence microscopes, if available.

Get in touch

Are you a vet or do you work in dairy breeding/reproduction management?

If you are interested in using Oculyze MUH and want to become a pilot customer, you can apply here:

To contact form

Are you a scientist working in the field of uterus health, reproduction or transition cow management?

We highly appreciate scientific collaborations regarding prevalence and treatment of subclinical endometritis, so please feel free to contact us!

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References

1) Prevalence of endometritis and its effects on reproductive performance of dairy cows. Gilbert, R. O., Shin, S. T., Guard, C. L., Erb, H. N., & Frajblat, M. (2005). Theriogenology, 64, 1879–1888. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0093691X05001482?via%3Dihub
2) Proinflammatory cytokine gene expression in endometrial cytobrush samples harvested from cows with and without subclinical endometritis. Ghasemi, F., Gonzalez-Cano P, Griebel PJ, Palmer C. (2012). Theriogenology;78(7):1538-47. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0093691X12003718?via%3Dihub
3) Selected pro-inflammatory factor transcripts in bovine endometrial epithelial cells are regulated during the oestrous cycle and elevated in case of subclinical or clinical endometritis. Fischer, C., Drillich, M., Odau, S., Heuwieser, W., Einspanier, R., Gabler, C. (2010). Reprod Fertil Dev. ;22(5):818-29. http://www.publish.csiro.au/RD/RD09120
4) Endometrial cytology and ultrasonography for the detection of subclinical endometritis in postpartum dairy cows. Kasimanickam, R., Duffield, T. F., Foster, R. A., Gartley, C. J., Leslie, K. E., Walton, J. S., & Johnson, W. H. (2004). Theriogenology, 62, 9–23.5) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0093691X03004746?via%3Dihub
5) A comparison of diagnostic techniques for post partum endometritis in dairy cattle. Barlund, C. S., Carruthers, T. D., Waldner, C. L., & Palmer, C. W. (2008).Theriogenology, 69, 714–723. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0093691X07007005?via%3Dihub
6) invited review: Systematic review of diagnostic tests for reproductive tract infection and inflammation in dairy cows. DeBoer, M. W., LeBlanc, S. J., Dubuc, J., Meier, S., Heuwieser, W., & Arlt, S., McDougall, S. (2014). Journal of Dairy Science, 97, 3983–3999. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002203021400366X?via%3Dihub
7) The relationship between endometrial cytology during estrous cycle and cutoff points for the diagnosis of subclinical endometritis in grazing dairy cows. Madoz, L. V., Giuliodori, M. J., Jaureguiberry, M., Plöntzke, J., Drillich, M., & De laSota, R. L. (2013). Journal of Dairy Science, 96 (7), 4333–4339. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022030213003573?via%3Dihub
8) Defining postpartum uterine disease in cattle. Sheldon, IM., Lewis, GS., LeBlanc, S.; Gilbert, RO (2005). Theriogenology;65(8):1516-30. Epub 2005 Oct 13. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0093691X05003821?via%3Dihub
9) A novel cytologic sampling technique to diagnose subclinical endometritis and comparison of staining methods for endometrial cytology samples in dairy cows. Pascottini OB., Dini P., Hostens M., Ducatelle R., Opsomer, G. (2015). Theriogenology. 2015 Nov;84 (8):1438-46. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0093691X1500391X?via%3Dihub