Effects of different five-day progesterone-based fixed-time AI protocols on follicular/luteal dynamics and fertility in dairy cows.
This study compares in two experiments the responses of lactating dairy cows to four different progesterone-based protocols for fixed-time artificial insemination (FTAI) in terms of their effects on follicular/luteal dynamics and fertility. The protocols consisted of a progesterone intravaginal device fitted for five days, along with the administration of different combinations of gonadotropin releasing hormone, equine chorionic gonadotropin and a single or double dose (24 h apart) of prostaglandin F2α. In Experiment I, the data were derived from 232 lactating cows. Binary logistic regression identified no effects of treatment on ovulation failure or multiple ovulation 10 days post artificial insemination (AI). Based on the odds ratio, the likelihood of ovulation failure was lower (by a factor of 0.1) in cows showing at least one corpus luteum (CL) upon treatment than in cows lacking a CL; repeat breeders (> 3 AI) and cows with multiple CLs at treatment showed lower (by a factor of 0.44) and higher (by a factor of 9.0) risks of multiple ovulation, respectively, than the remaining animals. In Experiment II, the data were derived from 5173 AIs. The independent variable treatment failed to affect the conception rate 28-34 days post AI, twin pregnancy or early fetal loss 58-64 days post AI. The results of this study demonstrate the efficacy of 5-day progesterone-based protocols for FTAI. All four protocols examined were able to induce ovulation in both cyclic and non-cyclic animals so that FTAI returned a similar pregnancy rate to spontaneous estrus. Our results suggest that the ovarian response and fertility resulting from each treatment are due more to the effect of ovarian structures at treatment than to the different combinations of hormones investigated.