The effect of equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG) on pregnancy rates of white-tailed deer following fixed-timed artificial insemination

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Control of the white-tailed doe's reproductive cycle is not well documented. The objective was to determine the effects of giving equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG) at progesterone device removal on fixed time artificial insemination (FTAI) pregnancy rates in white-tailed does. All does (n = 74) were synchronized with a vaginal progesterone implant (CIDR; 0.3 g progesterone), inserted on Day 0 (without regard to stage of estrous cycle), removed 14 days later, and subjected to FTAI, on average, 60 h post-CIDR removal. Of these, 34 were given 200 IU (im) of eCG at CIDR removal. Overall, FTAI pregnancy rate was 50% across 2 yrs (effect of year, P = 0.35). Administration of eCG at CIDR removal did not affect (P = 0.16) pregnancy rate (eCG = 59%; no eCG = 43%). Pregnancy rates were not affected by vulva score or doe disposition. Does that were ≤ 4 yrs old were more likely (P = 0.01) to become pregnant than does > 4 yrs of age. Does inseminated ≥ 60.5 h after CIDR removal were 22 times more likely (P = 0.002) to become pregnant to FTAI than does inseminated < 60.5 h. When frozen-thawed semen was deposited in the cervix or uterus, does were 17 times more likely (P = 0.005) to become pregnant compared with those receiving intravaginal insemination. Fecundity was not different (P = 0.73) across treatment groups (1.6 ± 0.11; no eCG vs. 1.7 ± 0.10; eCG). Furthermore, fecundity of does pregnant to FTAI was not different (P = 0.72) compared with does pregnant to clean-up bucks (1.7 ± 0.08; AI does vs. 1.7 ± 0.09; clean-up bucks). In summary, white-tailed does were successfully inseminated using a 14 days FTAI protocol, eCG may not be essential for acceptable pregnancy rates, and increased pregnancy rates may result when FTAI is done ≥ 60.5 h after progesterone device removal. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

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