Deslorelin and naltrexone stimulate follicular development in mares during autumn transition and early anestrus
Horses are long-day breeders and commence ovarian follicular activity during the spring. Evidence suggests that there is an endogenous circannual rhythm in mares, and it is uncertain whether hormonal manipulation during or immediately following the fall transition induces follicular development. The current study was designed to test the hypothesis that both deslorelin and naltrexone induce follicular development in late fall transitioning or anestrous mares. Five of six mares treated with deslorelin, and 4 of 6 mares treated with naltrexone, developed a pre-ovulatory-sized follicle and were inseminated. Zero of three deslorelin-control mares and 1 of 3 naltrexone-control mares were inseminated. The number of mares bred in the deslorelin treatment group was significantly higher than in the corresponding control group (P < 0.05). Six of nine mares inseminated were pregnant 14 days after insemination. In conclusion, we were able to induce follicular development resulting in fertile ovulations during and shortly after the fall transition.