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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Effects of human chorionic gonadotropin administration at various times following breeding on corpus luteum number, diameter, progesterone profiles and pregnancy rates in dairy cattle Sianangama, Pharaoh Collins


Corpus luteum (CL) dysfunction has been implicated among various factors predisposing early embryonic mortality in cattle. Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the efficacy of using human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) given either at the time of breeding (day 0) , day 7 or 14 post breeding, in reducing that component of early embryonic mortality caused by CL dysfunction. The aims of experiment 1 were to investigate the effectiveness of using hCG, in inducing the development of accessory CL, their formation and growth, and the effect of such treatments on the function of both the induced and spontaneous CL. Thirty-four lactating Holstein cows were randomly assigned to one of four treatments. A single intramuscular injection of 1000 IU of hCG was given either at the time of breeding (day 0, n=8), day 7 (n=9) or 14 (n=9) post breeding or no hCG given (control, n=8). A real-time ultrasound machine was used to study follicular dynamics and CL growth. The CL and antral follicle diameter was determined using a built-in system of calibrated callipers. Ultrasound scanning was carried out on days 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 28, 35 and 42 post breeding. Blood and milk samples, for progesterone (P₄) determination using radioimmunoassay, were collected on days coincident with ultrasonography. Diameter of the CL is presented as the sum of the diameter of all luteal tissue in each animal. Differences in CL diameter, milk and plasma P₄ were analyzed using the General Linear Models Procedures while pregnancy data were analyzed using Chi-Square analysis in Statistical Analysis Systems (SAS, version 6.3). Based on the day 7 ultrasound scanning, the incidence of twin ovulations was higher among cows treated on day 0 (3/8) compared to control cows (1/8) and day 7 (1/9). Accessory CL were detected in 7/9 of the day 7-treated cows compared to 4/9 among the day-14 treated cows. Least squares means (LSMeans) for CL diameter were significantly higher (P<0.001) among cows treated with hCG compared to control cows starting at day 7 continually until day 42. Plasma P₄ profiles were significantly higher (P<0.05), at days 18, 35 and 42, in cows treated on day 7 or 14 compared to control cows. The first detectable differences (P<0.05) between hCG treated and control cows, in milk P₄ occurred at day 21 and persisted until day 42. Pregnancy rates were highest among cows treated with hCG on day 7 where 6 of the 9 cows were diagnosed pregnant. Corresponding pregnancy rates for day 0, 14 or control cows, were 4/8, 5/9 and 3/8, respectively. In the second experiment, two trials were conducted at two different farms to investigate the efficacy of using hCG to increase milk P₄ and pregnancy rates. In trial one, 79 lactating Holstein cows were exposed to the treatment protocol described in experiment 1. In addition to the milk sample collection schedule given in experiment 1, a sample was collected on day 0. Milk samples were stored at 4°C and later transported to the UBC laboratories for P₄ analysis. LSMeans for milk P₄ concentrations were different only at days 16 and 18 post breeding. Pregnancy rates were improved (P<0.01) by hCG treatments. The respective pregnancy rates for cows receiving hCG on day 0 (n=20), 7 (n=20), 14 (n=20) or control (n=19) were 25, 35, 35 and 21 %. In the second trial, 121 lactating Holstein cows were randomly assigned to treatments as described earlier. Weekly milk samples were collected from each animal and assayed for P₄ as described above. LSMeans for milk P₄ were significantly different (P<0.05) among groups starting at day 14 until day 42 post breeding. hCG increased pregnancy rates over control cows. The pregnancy rates for cows treated on day 0, 7, 14 and control were 31, 50, 41 and 26 %, respectively. In conclusion, this study revealed that treatment with hCG induced accessory CL development, increased P₄ production and improved pregnancy rates. It is evident, too, that treatment with hCG on day 7 post breeding may have greater potential for improving pregnancy rates not only in dairy and beef cattle but equally beneficial to the embryo transfer programmes. Increased pregnancy rates confirm the hypothesis that CL dysfunction does cost the livestock industry appreciable losses in embryos.

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