Successful induction of oestrus, ovulation and pregnancy in adult ewes and ewe lambs out of the breeding season using a GnRH+progesterone oestrus synchronisation protocol

Martinez, M.F.; McLeod, B.; Tattersfield, G.; Smaill, B.; Quirke, L.D.; Juengel, J.L.

Animal Reproduction Science 155: 28-35


ISSN/ISBN: 0378-4320
PMID: 25708125
DOI: 10.1016/j.anireprosci.2015.01.010
Accession: 058929488

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A series of experiments was designed to assess the effect of a treatment protocol (U-synch) for inducing oestrus and ovulation out of the breeding season in adult ewes and ewe lambs. The protocol consisted of a 7-day treatment with an intravaginal progesterone-releasing device (IPRD), administration of GnRH at IPRD insertion on Day 0, and equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG) and prostaglandin F2α at IPRD removal on Day 7. In Experiment 1, 50 or 100 μg GnRH were sufficient to induce ovulation at the beginning of the protocol in 3/9 and 4/9 ewes, respectively; while the resulting proportion of sheep ovulating after the treatment protocol was 88.9% and 77.8% in ewes initially treated with 50 or 100 μg GnRH, respectively. In Experiment 2, the proportion of Romney-cross ewe lambs ovulating was greater (P<0.0001) in the U-synch group (95.4%) than in the untreated Control group (3.2%). In Experiment 3, pregnancy rates of Dorset-cross sheep in the U-synch (60.7%) and Standard (12-day IPRD and eCG treatment; 56.5%) groups were greater (P=0.01) than in the untreated Control group (43.4%). The incidence of twin pregnancies was greater (P=0.005) in the U-synch group than in the Control group. A 7-day IPRD treatment including GnRH treatment at device insertion and eCG treatment at device removal induced oestrus and ovulation during the non-breeding season in a high proportion of mature ewes and ewe lambs. High pregnancy rates to natural mating, with a low rate of triplet pregnancies, were also observed.