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15th December, 2017

Routine Prostaglandin treatment in maiden heifers not recommended

On a farm visit today outside Dingle, Co. Kerry, a client presented a group of maiden heifers which he planned to sell.  He wanted to scan the heifers to verify that they were reproductively sound.  His son informed me that they had previously injected them with prostaglandin to ensure that no animal was pregnant.  Scanning revealed that 9 out of the 10 heifers presented were cycling or not cycling.  None of them were previously pregnant.  However, the final animal was 180 days pregnant.  In this case, the heifer did not respond to Prostaglandin treatment.  Beyond 65 days of pregnancy, the response to Prostaglandin treatment in terms of induced abortions varies tremendously, in particular beyond 120 days of gestation.  In the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, the adrenal glands of the foetus produces progesterone which maintains a pregnancy status in the absence of a corpus luteum.  This client was delighted that he scanned the heifers as he would have faced a major monetary cost with the sale of this animal.