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Intravaginal applied GnRH-agonist gel in sows - effect on ovulation and reproductive performance
`Fixed time insemination` and insemination at standing oestrus are important especially in large breeding units. But it can be very difficult to detect the optimal time of oestrus and for artificial insemination in weaning sows. Can a GnRH agonist gel be helpful?

In order to prove the effect of `fixed time insemination` and insemination at standing oestrus after post-weaning application of GnRH, in a Croatian large breeding unit, 502 sows were assigned to three groups and were artificially inseminated (AI) at their first post-weaning oestrus as many times as they stand, in 24-h intervals.

The groups were treated as follows: group 1 (control, n = 160) were AI during their standing reflex; group 2 [`GnRH-fixed time insemination` (GnRH-FT-AI), n = 175] were AI, independent of detection of oestrus and following administration of GnRH-agonist at 96 h post-weaning; group 3 [GnRH insemination at standing oestrus (GnRH-OE-AI), n = 167] the animals were GnRH-agonist treated as group 2 and were AI at their standing reflex.

Pre-trial daily average lactational feed intake, average daily feed intake from weaning to oestrus, oestrus within 6 days post-weaning (%), ovulation within 6 days post-weaning (%), weaning-to-oestrus interval (h), duration of oestrus (h), follicle size (mm), interval from oestrus to ovulation (h), subsequent day 24 pregnancy rate (%), farrowing rate (%) and total pigs born were evaluated.

Pre-trial average daily lactational voluntary feed intake was 7.1 ± 0.08 kg in group 1, 7.0 ± 0.07 kg in group 2 and 7.1 ± 0.17 kg in group 3 (p > 0.05).
Average voluntary daily feed intake from weaning to oestrus was 5.1 ± 0.3 kg in group 1, 5.2 ± 0.5 kg in group 2 and 5.2 ± 0.19 kg in group 3 (p > 0.05).

Oestrus was detected within 6 days post-weaning in 134 (83.8%) in control, 164 (93.7%) in GnRH-FT-AI and 155 (92.8%) animals in GnRH-OE-AI groups (p = 0.05). Follicle size did not differ (p > 0.05) among the groups.

In control 82.8%, in GnRH-FT-AI 91.5% and in GnRH-OE-AI 91.0% of the sows ovulated within 6 days post-weaning (p = 0.04), and had 80.6, 90.9 and 89.7% 24-day pregnancy rates (p = 0.16), respectively.

In GnRH-FT-AI group 90.2%, in GnRH-OE-AI sows 89.7%, in control animals 79.9% farrowing rates were recorded (p = 0.17).

Weaning to oestrus interval was 113.1 h in control, 114.1 h in GnRH-FT-AI and 112.6 h GnRH-OE-AI (p > 0.05).

Duration of oestrus was significantly shorter in GnRH-FT-AI (44.9 h) and GnRH-OE-AI (48.1 h) animals, compared with the control (62.9 h) sows (p = 0.001). Similarly, the interval from oestrus to ovulation revealed significant (p = 0.004) differences between the groups (control 44.1 h, GnRH-OE-AI 34.1 h and GnRH-FT-AI 32.9 h).

GnRH-FT-AI (12.5) and GnRH-OE-AI (12.6) sows had significantly higher (p = 0.01) number of total pigs born (n = 10.4) compared with control sows.

GnRH-agonist-gel treatment to the sow shortens duration of oestrus, the interval from oestrus to ovulation, and may eliminate the need for oestrus detection in the hands of skilled personnel.


Source: Baer, C & Bilkei, G (2004): The Effect of Intravaginal Applied GnRH-agonist on the Time of Ovulation and Subsequent Reproductive Performance of Weaned Multiparous Sows. In: Reproduction in Domestic Animals 39 (5), 293-297.












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