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A look through the latest literature

The latest academic publications providing further insight into this month's In Focus topic: reproduction

Technique for rapid measurement of progesterone concentrations in bitches

Alain Fontbonne and others, National Veterinary School, Maisons-Alfort, France

Measurements of plasma progesterone levels can help in determining the optimal breeding time in female dogs. Radioimmunoassay is the gold-standard method but it requires specialised equipment with limited availability. Most veterinary diagnostic laboratories will use a chemiluminescence immunoassay (CLIA), while ELISA-based tests are also widely utilised. The authors assess the accuracy of a novel method, surface plasmon field-enhanced fluorescence spectroscopy (SPFS), in comparison with CLIA. Their findings suggest that SPFS is as accurate and produces more rapid results than the established method. It is also a practical option for use by veterinarians in their daily practice.

American Journal of Veterinary Research, 82, 417-424

Update on the origin and clinical significance of ovarian cysts in bitches

Jisna Sasidharan and others, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, India

Ovarian cysts are estimated to occur in at least 20 percent of female dogs aged six to eight years. The pathogenesis of these lesions is obscure, although an insufficient luteinising hormone surge and intrafollicular changes in gonadotrophin receptors are possible predisposing factors. Ultrasonography is a practical imaging modality for diagnosing ovarian cysts, with ovarian steroid assays and histopathology necessary for confirmation. The authors assess the options for the medical management of this condition but conclude that ovariohysterectomy is still the treatment of choice.

Topics in Companion Animal Medicine, 43, 00511

Contraceptive efficiency of an intra-uterine device in domestic mares

Carolynne Joone and others, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia

There are an estimated one million feral horses (brumbies) living in the Australian outback, which compete for resources with domestic livestock and disrupt native ecosystems. The authors evaluate a novel self-assembling uterine device as a potential method for controlling their population. When implanted into a small group of domestic mares undergoing oestrus monitoring and artificial insemination, the method was 100 percent successful in preventing the establishment of an embryo. There was no evidence of bacterial infection or other adverse reactions in the treatment group.

Australian Veterinary Journal, 99, 130-136

Identification of gross and histological abnormalities in the canine placenta

Matteo Tesi and others, University of Pisa, Italy

The canine placenta has received very little attention from veterinary researchers but it is known from other species that placental abnormalities may affect foetal development and be responsible for low birth weight offspring. The authors examined the placentas associated with 82 puppies and found evidence of gross abnormalities such as necrosis, congestion or clotted blood/fibrinoid material in 75.4 percent of these tissues. In this sample of puppies, their birth weight appeared to be unaffected by micro- or macroscopic abnormalities in the placenta.

Reproduction in Domestic Animals, 56, 691-702

Review of the causes of equine perinatal mortality

Michelle Abraham and Jennifer Bauquier, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square, USA

Foetal mortality in late pregnancy or the birth of weak or non-viable foals can have a significant economic impact on the equine breeding industry. There are many potential causes of reproductive loss and the incidence may vary considerably in different populations. The authors identify the main causes of perinatal death and describe recent advances in identifying both infectious pathogens and the indicators of survival in neonatal foals. They suggest that further advances in reproductive medicine may improve both the management of high-risk pregnancies and foal survival.

The Veterinary Journal, 273, 105675

Assisted reproduction techniques in the conservation of threatened species

Thomas Hildebrandt and others, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, Germany

Mammalian species are becoming extinct at an unprecedented rate, largely due to the effects of human activities. Although conventional breeding programmes have achieved some notable successes, it is clear that alternative methods are needed to reduce the pace of biodiversity losses. The authors describe the use of assisted reproduction technologies in preserving a critically endangered species, the northern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni). They state that cryopreservation of genetic material “bridges gaps in time and space” and enhances opportunities to restore viable populations.

Theriogenology, 169, 76-88

Control of testicular function in male goats with altrenogest

Lisa Mihsler-Kirsch and others, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany

Surgical castration is the standard method for controlling reproduction and behaviour in billy goats. There has been little research into temporary, non-invasive and reversible ways of suppressing gonadal function in this species. The authors investigated the effect of the synthetic progestogen altrenogest on testicular function in goats. Daily treatment with 0.088mg/kg had no significant influence on testicular development or blood testosterone while the effects on spermatocyte development varied between individuals. Thus, altrenogest does not reliably suppress gonadal function in male goats.

BMC Veterinary Research, 17, 183

First isolation of equid alphaherpesvirus 3 from an Icelandic mare

Lilja Thorsteinsdóttir and others, University of Iceland, Reykjavik

Equine coital exanthema is a venereal disease caused by equid alphaherpesvirus 3 (EHV-3) which produces papules and ulcers on the external genitals of mares and stallions. The Icelandic horse is the only breed found on Iceland and the only herpesvirus strains known to be present in that population are EHV-2, EHV-4 and EHV-5. The authors report the first confirmed case of EHV-3 in a mare with clinical signs of equine coital exanthema, based on PCR results and sequencing of the glycoprotein G and DNA polymerase genes.

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 63, 6