• Effect of equine chorionic gonadotropin treatment during a progesterone-based timed artificial insemination program on reproductive performance in seasonal-calving lactating dairy cows

      Randi, Federico; Sánchez, José Maria; Herlihy, Mary M.; Valenza, Alessio; Kenny, David A.; Butler, Stephen; Lonergan, P.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 13S515; 13S528 (Elsevier, 2018-08-23)
      The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of progesterone (P4)-based timed artificial insemination (TAI) programs on fertility in seasonal-calving, pasture-based dairy herds. A total of 1,421 lactating dairy cows on 4 spring-calving farms were stratified based on days in milk (DIM) and parity and randomly allocated to 1 of 3 treatments: (1) control: no hormonal treatment; cows inseminated at detected estrus; (2) P4-Ovsynch: cows received a 7-d P4-releasing intravaginal device (PRID Delta; CEVA Santé Animale, Libourne, France) with 100 μg of a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analog (Ovarelin; CEVA Santé Animale) at PRID insertion, a 25-mg injection of PGF2α (Enzaprost; CEVA Santé Animale) at PRID removal, GnRH at 56 h after device removal and TAI 16 h later; (3) P4-Ovsynch+eCG: the same as P4-Ovsynch, but cows received 500 IU of equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG; Syncrostim; CEVA Santé Animale) at PRID removal. At 10 d before mating start date (MSD), all cows that were ≥35 DIM were examined by transrectal ultrasound to assess presence or absence of a corpus luteum; body condition score (BCS) was also recorded. Pregnancy diagnosis was performed by transrectal ultrasonography 30 to 35 d after insemination. Overall pregnancy/AI (P/AI) was not different between groups (50.9, 49.8, and 46.3% for control, P4-Ovsynch, and P4-Ovsynch+eCG, respectively) but the 21-d pregnancy rate was increased by the use of synchronization (35.0, 51.7, and 47.2%, respectively). Compared with the control group, synchronization significantly reduced the interval from MSD to conception (34.6, 23.0, and 26.5 d, respectively) and consequently reduced the average days open (98.0, 86.0, and 89.0 d). Across all treatment groups, DIM at the start of synchronization affected P/AI (42.3, 49.5, and 53.9% for <60, 60–80, and >80 DIM, respectively), but neither parity (46.5, 50.4, and 48.4% for parity 1, 2, and ≥3, respectively) nor BCS (44.0, 49.4, and 58.6% for ≤2.50, 2.75–3.25, and ≥3.50, respectively) affected the likelihood of P/AI. Two-way interactions between treatment and DIM, parity, or BCS were not detected. In conclusion, the use of TAI accelerated pregnancy establishment in cows in a pasture-based system by reducing days open, but eCG administration at PRID removal did not affect P/AI.
    • Effect of human chorionic gonadotrophin administration 2 days after insemination on progesterone concentration and pregnancy per artificial insemination in lactating dairy cows

      Sánchez, José Maria; Randi, Federico; Passaro, C.; Mathew, D. J.; Butler, Stephen; Lonergan, P.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 13S528 (Elsevier for American Dairy Science Association, 2018-03-28)
      The aim of this study was to examine the effect of a single administration of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) during the establishment of the corpus luteum (CL) on progesterone (P4) concentration and pregnancy per artificial insemination (P/AI) in lactating dairy cows. Postpartum spring-calving lactating dairy cows (n = 800; mean ± SD days in milk and parity were 78.5 ± 16.7 and 2.3 ± 0.8, respectively) on 3 farms were enrolled on the study. All cows underwent the same fixed-time AI (FTAI) protocol involving a 7-d progesterone-releasing intravaginal device with gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) administration at device insertion, prostaglandin at device removal followed by GnRH 56 h later, and AI 16 h after the second GnRH injection. Cows were blocked on days postpartum, body condition score, and parity and randomly assigned to receive either 3,000 IU of hCG 2 d after FTAI or no further treatment (control). Blood samples were collected on d 7 and 14 postestrus by coccygeal venipuncture on a subset of 204 cows to measure serum P4 concentration, and pregnancy was diagnosed by ultrasonography approximately 30 and 70 d after FTAI. Administration of hCG caused an increase in circulating P4 concentrations compared with the control treatment on d 7 (+22.2%) and d 14 (+25.7%). The P/AI at 30 d after FTAI was affected by treatment, farm, body condition score, and calving to service interval. Overall, administration of hCG decreased P/AI (46.3% vs. 55.1% for the control). Among cows that did not become pregnant following AI, a greater proportion of control cows exhibited a short repeat interval (≤17 d) compared with cows treated with hCG (8.6% vs. 2.8%, respectively). In addition, the percentages of cows pregnant at d 21 (59.6% vs. 52.0%) and d 42 (78.3% vs. 71.9%) were greater in control than in hCG-treated cows. The overall incidence of embryo loss was 10.7% and was not affected by treatment. There was a tendency for an interaction between treatment and CL status at synchronization protocol initiation for both P4 concentration and P/AI. In conclusion, administration of hCG 2 d after FTAI increased circulating P4 concentrations. Unexpectedly, cows treated with hCG had lower fertility; however, this negative effect on fertility was manifested primarily in cows lacking a CL at the onset of the synchronization protocol.