Pharmacologic application of native GnRH in the winter anovulatory mare, I: frequency of reversion to the anovulatory state following ovulation induction and cessation of treatment. Academic Article uri icon


  • The continuous, subcutaneous infusion of native GnRH into seasonally anovulatory mares stimulates the synthesis and secretion of LH without pituitary refractoriness, offering opportunities to markedly accelerate the timing of ovulation within the operational breeding season. Herein, we tested the hypothesis that ovarian cycles induced in winter anovulatory mares using continuous administration of native GnRH for 28 days, beginning in either early February or early March (North America) would not revert to an anovulatory state after treatment withdrawal. Anovulatory mares received sham pumps (control) or native GnRH (100 g/h) for 28 days beginning from February 2 or 3 (GnRH-Feb) or March 2 or 3 (GnRH-Mar). Mean concentrations of LH were five- to seven-fold greater during February in the GnRH-Feb group compared with control and GnRH-Mar groups through February and ending on March 2 or 3. However, concentrations of LH returned to the winter baseline within 3 to 11 days after pump removal and all GnRH-Feb mares failed to remain cyclic after treatment withdrawal. Correspondingly, during March, concentrations of LH in the GnRH-Mar group were greater (P < 0.001) than in the control and GnRH-Feb groups during the 28-day treatment period. Follicular growth and frequency of ovulation (6/10 GnRH-Feb; 9/10 GnRH-Mar, 1/11 controls, respectively) were greater (P < 0.01) in GnRH-treated mares. Ovulatory cycles continued in five of nine GnRH-Mar mares that ovulated, with interovulatory intervals of 15 to 24 days; whereas, three of nine mares had extended (33-42 days) interovulatory intervals and one of nine mares had a persistent CL after cessation of treatment. In summary, continuous administration of native GnRH for 28 days, beginning in early February or March, elevated circulating LH adequately to stimulate follicular growth and ovulation up to 60 days earlier than in untreated controls. However, if continuous, subcutaneous infusion of GnRH is selected as the only pharmacologic or managerial intervention, and mares are not pregnant, treatment must be continued at least until the end of March. This will improve the likelihood of a normal interovulatory interval after treatment withdrawal.

published proceedings

  • Theriogenology

author list (cited authors)

  • Thorson, J. F., Allen, C. C., Amstalden, M., & Williams, G. L.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Thorson, JF||Allen, CC||Amstalden, M||Williams, GL

publication date

  • March 2014