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Theriogenology. 2000 Jul 1;54(1):1-23.

Induction of ovulation in postpartum suckled beef cows: a review.

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Department of Animal and Poultry Science University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.


Prolonged postpartum acyclicity in suckled beef cows reduces the calf crop, and causes economic loss to beef cattle producers. Once anterior pituitary LH stores have been replenished between Days 15 and 30 post partum in suckled beef cows, methods to initiate cyclicity include non-hormonal methods such as weaning of calves (either complete, temporary or partial), or exposure to bulls, and hormonal methods such as administration of GnRH (either single injection, intermittent injections, or continuous infusion), gonadotropins (eCG, FSH, hCG), and steroids (estrogens, anti-estrogens, and progestogens). Weaning is costly, reduces growth rate of weaned calves, and short cycles are common after weaning-induced ovulation. Exposure of cows to bulls is not practical and its effect is not predictable. Repeated injections of GnRH, or a single injection of hCG are not always effective; ovulation is always followed by a short cycle, and usually a return to acyclicity. Estrogens and anti-estrogens do not consistently shorten postpartum anestrus. Exogenous progestogens include intravaginal devices, such as controlled-internal drug release (CIDR) or progesterone-releasing intravaginal device (PRID), norgestomet implants, and the feed-additive melengestrol acetate (MGA). Administration of exogenous progestogens is more practical than, and offers more advantages over, other treatments to shorten postpartum acyclicity in suckled beef cows. Mimicking the short cycle after Week 3 post partum, by maintaining circulating progesterone at subluteal concentrations or circulating progestin at intermediate concentrations, extends the life-span and allows terminal maturation of the postpartum dominant follicle as in cyclic cows, by initiating endogenous GnRH and LH pulses. This is followed by an LH surge, ovulation and normal cycles. The benefit from using exogenous progestogens after Week 3 post partum in suckled beef cows is that ovulation is induced, cyclicity is initiated, the resulting CL has a normal life-span and function, and there is no need to change management, such as weaning of calves. We present a model for the induction of ovulation and initiation of cyclicity using exogenous progestogens after Week 3 post partum in suckled beef cows.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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