An intrauterine device with potential to control fertility in feral equids

Carlos Gradil, Carolynne Joone, Teresa Haire, Bradley Fowler, Jacquelyn Zinchuk, Christopher J. Davies, Barry Ball

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1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Fertility control of feral equids is difficult. A 4-month pilot study was conducted with a hormone-free intrauterine device (iUPOD). There was evaluation of i) device retention; ii) contraceptive efficacy; iii) fertility following device removal; iv) effects of device on estrous cycle periodicity and; v) abundance of biofilm on devices after removal from the uterus. The iUPODs were inserted trans-cervically in eight mares at random stages of the estrous cycle. Mares were confined in a paddock with a stallion the following day and remained with the stallion for 120 days. Transabdominal detection of the iUPOD, using a non-invasive handheld magnetic detector wand, was performed weekly. Mares were examined using transrectal ultrasonography on days 0 (Time at insertion = day 0), 14, and 30, and subsequently every third week to assess number and size of follicles, corpora lutea, and whether there was intrauterine fluid (IUF) present. The mares and stallion were observed daily for mating behavior. Weekly samples were assayed for progesterone (P4) at day 0 and until 3 weeks subsequent to stallion removal. None of the mares became pregnant while fitted with the iUPOD. Two of four mares conceived within 30 days subsequent to iUPOD removal. Three of eight mares fitted with the device had periods greater than 14 days with P4 concentrations <1 ng/mL, and seven of eight mares had periods greater than 14 days with P4 concentrations>1 ng/mL. There was a marked abundance of biofilm on devices of two mares at the time of device removal.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106795
JournalAnimal Reproduction Science
Volume231
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Hosanna Kim, Samantha Foley, Kaitlyn Parker for help with horse handling and sample collection. Christopher Pollitt for continued enthusiasm to control fertility in Brumbies; Susan Leschine for guidance with the biofilm assay. Carl Wyckhouse for helping with design and quality control and Kirsten Scoggin for performing P4 immunoassays. Karl Hoopes, Dirk Vanderwall and William Payne for continued support in finding a solution to control fertility in feral equids. This research was financially supported by PI’s Clinical revenue , Equine Reproduction Services, Vet&AnSci, UMass Amherst, USA MassachusettsExperimental Station MAS00513, USA.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors

Keywords

  • Contraception
  • Feral horses
  • Fertility control
  • Reversibility
  • Self-assembling
  • iUPOD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology

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