Induction of estrus and superovulation in seasonally anestrous ewes

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The induction of estrus in 17 previously cycling nulliparous ewes, 9 to 10 months of age, was attempted with Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MAP) pessaries during the early anestrous period (March-April). Ewes were verified to be anestrous by the lack of estrous behavior in the presence of a vasectomized ram and by a radioimmunoassay for serum progesterone in two samples taken 7 days apart showing less than 1 ng/ml serum progesterone. Superovulation was attempted with injections of either FSH or FSH + LH. MAP vaginal pessaries remained in place for a period of 12 days and FSH was administered to all ewes (IM) at 12 hr intervals over a 3 day period; 5 mg was injected twice on day 11 after pessary insertion, followed by 4 and 3 mg injections twice daily on each succeeding day, for a total of 24 mg per ewe. Nine ewes were given 25 mg LH (IV) within 8 hrs after the onset of behavioral estrus in addition to FSH. Ewes were hand-mated to several rams at 12 hr intervals throughout the estrus period. Ovulation and fertilization rates were recorded for each ewe following midline laparotomy and embryo collection. All ewes were in estrus between 36 and 48 hrs after removal of the MAP pessaries. In ewes injected with FSH only, 8 of 8 ovulated with a mean ovulation rate of 6.0 ± 4.4 and a fertilization rate of 70%. Nine of 9 ewes receiving both FSH + LH ovulated with a mean ovulation rate of 13.9 ± 13.1 and a fertilization rate of 72%. Statistical analysis by Students t-test resulted in differences in number of ova recovered (P<.05) between FSH only and FSH + LH treated ewes and a trend towards increased ovulation rate in FSH + LH treated ewes. These results show that early seasonally anestrous ewes can be successfully induced and synchronized for estrus with MAP pessaries and the number of ova recovered is increased with the inclusion of LH in the superovulation regime. © 1982.

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