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Physiological effects of gonadotropinreleasing hormone immunocontraception on white-tailed deer
- Curtis, P.D., Richmond, M.E., Miller, L.A., Quimby, F.W.
- Human-wildlife conflicts 2008 v.2 no.1 pp. 68
- Odocoileus virginianus, deer, contraception, contraceptives, gonadotropin-releasing hormone, vaccination, adverse effects, animal pathology, granuloma, injection site, blood chemistry, reproductive system, females, bucks
- Before immunocontraceptives can be considered safe to use on wildlife species, potential health risks should be assessed. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) immunocontraceptive has successfully reduced fertility of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus); however, associated deer physiology has rarely been examined. We conducted gross necropsy examinations, histology, and blood chemistry comparisons on euthanized deer previously vaccinated with immunogenic GnRH (n = 18 females and n = 4 males), or left as untreated controls (n = 7 females and n = 6 males). Granulomas were found at injection sites of most deer, even 3 years post-treatment. There were no signifi cant differences in ovary (F2,22 = 0.31, P = 0.73), or pituitary weights (F2,22 = 0.30, P = 0.75) between treatment groups. Ovaries from control females had signifi cantly more secondary follicles (F2,21 = 20.56, P <or= 0.001), but not Graafi an follicles (F2,22 = 2.22, P = 0.13). Immunized males had significantly lower mean testes weights, a number of morphologic abnormalities, and varying degrees of aspermatogenesis with fewer mature spermatozoa. We do not recommend treating male deer with anti-GnRH immunocontraceptive vaccines.