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Effect of equine chorionic gonadotropin administration on day 8 post-partum on ovarian follicular development, uterine health and uterine involution in lactating dairy cows

Canadas, E. Rojas, Lonergan, P., Butler, S.T.
Theriogenology 2019 v.123 pp. 54-61
calving, cervix, dairy cows, endometritis, endometrium, equine chorionic gonadotropin, follicular development, health status, lactating females, lactation, milk, neutrophils, ovarian follicles, ovulation, periodicity, sodium chloride, uterine involution
The objective was to evaluate the effect of equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG) injection on day 8 postpartum on ovarian cyclicity, uterine health and uterine involution in lactating dairy cows. Lactating dairy cows [n = 34, (21 primiparous and 13 multiparous)] were enrolled in the study. Animals were stratified by calving date, parity and BCS, and randomly assigned to either control (CON n = 18) or eCG treatments (n = 16). On day 8 ± 0.9 post-partum (pp), eCG treatment cows received a 2 ml i.m. injection (500 IU) of eCG and control treatment cows received a 2 ml i.m. injection of 0.9% sodium chloride. Ovaries were examined by transrectal ultrasound every second day from day 10 pp until ovulation or regression of the first follicle wave, and the diameter of the dominant follicle was recorded at each exam. Ultrasound exams were conducted on days 21, 28, 35 and 42 pp to measure the diameter of the cervix and the uterine horns. Vaginal discharge score (VDS) was recorded on a 1 to 5 scale on days 14, 21, 28, 35 and 42 pp. Endometrial cytology samples were collected on day 42 pp, and the percentage of polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) determined. Milk samples were collected three times per week from day 14 pp until day 60 pp for P4 determination. Ovarian follicular development variables, ovarian function variables analysed and incidence of subclinical endometritis were not affected by treatment. There was a treatment by parity interaction for pp interval to commencement of luteal activity (P = 0.04) and number of luteal phases (P = 0.05), whereby eCG treatment caused an earlier pp commencement of luteal activity and a greater number of luteal phases in multiparous cows, but not in primiparous cows. A significant effect of treatment on uterine involution was observed (previously gravid horn: P = 0.03; previously non-gravid horn: P = 0.01) and uterine health status (P = 0.03), whereby eCG cows had smaller mean horn uterine diameter and lesser VDS than CON cows. In summary, parenteral administration of 500 IU eCG on day 8 post-partum did not affect resumption of ovarian cyclicity in all cows but did enhance uterine involution and VDS. In multiparous cows, eCG advanced commencement of luteal activity and increased the number of luteal phases.