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Reprod Suppl. 2002;60:197-202.

Reversibility of action and safety during pregnancy of immunization against porcine zona pellucida in wild mares (Equus caballus).

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Science and Conservation Center, ZooMontana, Billings 59106, USA.


Contraceptive management of publicly valued wildlife species requires safeguards to ensure that these populations are preserved in a healthy state. In addition, reversibility of contraceptive effects and safety in pregnant animals are major concerns. A population of wild horses has been immunized against porcine zona pellucida (PZP) over a 12 year period on Assateague Island National Seashore, MD (ASIS). Mares initially received one or two 65 microg inoculations and once a year 65 microg booster inoculations, all delivered by dart. All young mares aged > 2 years were treated with PZP for 3 consecutive years regardless of whether they have bred successfully and they were then removed from treatment until they had foaled. All mares vaccinated for 1 or 2 consecutive years became fertile again and 69% of mares treated for 3 consecutive years returned to fertility. All five mares treated for 4 or 5 consecutive years have also returned to fertility, but over longer periods of time. Mares treated for 7 consecutive years have not returned to fertility, but several, while still infertile, have started ovulating again. There was no difference in survival rates between foals born to treated and untreated mares, and PZP treatment of pregnant mares did not affect subsequent fertility of their female offspring.

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