Reproductive responses following postpartum suppression of ovarian follicular development with a deslorelin implant during summer heat stress in lactating dairy cows
The objective was to evaluate pregnancy rate to a timed artificial insemination (TAI) protocol in the autumn for cows treated with a non-degradable GnRH agonist implant (Deslorelin [DESL], 5mg) during the summer heat stress period compared with non-treated controls (CON). Cows were randomly assigned to receive or not a DESL implant within 1-4 days postpartum (dpp) twice weekly, from 25 June through 8 August 2001. All cows in DESL implant and CON treatments were injected with PGF"2"@a 7 days after enrollment. Ultrasonography (US) monitored numbers of ovarian follicles and corpus luteum (CL) at approximately 10, 30, 35/36, 45/44, 56/55 and 66/63dpp, while DESL implants were in situ and concurrently CON, respectively. DESL implants were removed at two specific days, 28 August and 4 September. Cows had DESL implant in situ for a range of 28-67 days, depending on date of enrollment and implant removal. Within 61-100dpp, 31 days after implant removal, DESL implant and CON cows were initiated in a Presynch-Ovsynch and TAI protocol. Pregnancy was evaluated by US and palpation per rectum at 28 and 46 days after TAI, respectively. Plasma concentrations of progesterone were analyzed for sets of blood samples collected during the Presynch-Ovsynch and at TAI day followed 8 days later. Cows in the DESL-implant treatment had more (P=10mm) follicles and CL compared with CON cows. Proportion of cows having initiated estrous cycles after calving was less (P<0.01) for cows having ovulations that had initiated estrous cycles after TAI in the DESL implant (39.1%, 18/46) compared with CON (62.1%, 54/87) treatments. Pregnancy losses from day 28 to day 46 of pregnancy did not differ between DESL implant (15.1%, 5/33) and CON (13.0%, 9/69) treatments. The DESL implant induced a delay in initiation of a new wave of follicular development during the postpartum-heat stressed period. The lesser pregnancy rate in the DESL-implant treatment group may be due to a pool of heat stress damaged follicles that were depleted in the control group with re-occurring follicle waves.
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