Periovulatory changes in behaviour and faecal oestrogen and progestogen metabolite concentrations could predict the fertile period in female African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus)

Van den Berghe, F., Paris, D.P.P.B., Sarnyai, Z., Ganswindt, A., and Paris, M.C.J. (2019) Periovulatory changes in behaviour and faecal oestrogen and progestogen metabolite concentrations could predict the fertile period in female African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus). In: [Presented at the 7th Conference of the International Society of Wildlife Endocrinology]. From: ISWE 2019: 7th Conference of the International Society of Wildlife Endocrinology, 13-16 October 2019, Kruger National Park, South Africa.

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Abstract

Artificial insemination (AI) can aid African wild dog conservation, but determining the female's fertile period is difficult because methods used to time AI in domestic dogs are not feasible without immobilization in wild canids. Therefore, we explored whether certain behaviours and faecal oestrogen (fEM) and progesterone (fPM) metabolite concentrations could predict the fertile period in late oestrus. Behaviour was observed in 3 alpha females up to 6 days before until 6 days after the mating period, and frequently collected faeces were analysed for fEM and fPM concentrations using enzyme-immunoassays. To link behaviour and faecal steroid levels with oestrus and ovulation, females were immobilized 2-3 times during the periovulatory period to evaluate vulvar condition and blood steroid hormones, and to perform vaginal cytology, vaginoscopy, and ovarian ultrasound.

Late oestrus could be distinguished from pro-oestrus, early oestrus and dioestrus using behaviour, with a 2- to 5-fold higher rate of male-female affiliative behaviour, sexual follow, alpha male initiating behaviour, ride-up and copulation (P ≤ 0.05). Sexual behaviours, and male-female resting declined significantly or ceased the day after last mating. One female was anovulatory with no increase in fPM/plasma progestogen concentrations during estrus/dioestrus. The two other females showed a 2.5- to 3-fold increase in fPM concentrations in late oestrus compared to pro-oestrus values (P ≤ 0.05). Elevated fEM concentrations that rose during pro-oestrus, declined to baseline levels by late oestrus. Vaginal cytology and vaginoscopy could not discriminate late from early oestrus or pro-oestrus. Ultrasonography could not adequately distinguish between follicles and CL. In summary, an increase in distinct behaviours during late oestrus coupled with rising fPM and declining fEM concentrations appear to be suitable parameters to determine the fertile period in African wild dogs. However, data show that, without frequent invasive sampling, blood steroid hormone concentrations, vaginal cytology, vaginoscopy and ultrasonography can be misleading.

Item ID: 59826
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Keywords: African wild dog; artificial insemination; behaviour; faecal oestrogen metabolites; fecal progesterone metabolites; fertile period; vaginal cytology, vaginoscopy
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Funders: Morris Animal Foundation (MAF), Roger Williams Park Zoo, Fresno Chaffee Zoo, James Cook University, IBREAM
Projects and Grants: Established Investigator Grant, Sophie Danforth Conservation Biology Fund, Wildlife Conservation Fund
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2019 23:52
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 20%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060803 Animal Developmental and Reproductive Biology @ 40%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060801 Animal Behaviour @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 30%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 35%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970107 Expanding Knowledge in the Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences @ 35%
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