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Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

Four-year contraception rates of mares treated with single-injection porcine zona pellucida and GnRH vaccines and intrauterine devices

Gary Killian A D , David Thain B , Nancy K. Diehl A , Jack Rhyan C and Lowell Miller C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A J. O. Almquist Research Center, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16801, USA.

B Department of Animal Biotechnology, University of Nevada – Reno, Reno, NV 89557, USA.

C National Wildlife Research Center, USDA-APHIS-WS, Fort Collins, CO 80521, USA.

D Corresponding author. Email:

Wildlife Research 35(6) 531-539
Submitted: 5 September 2007  Accepted: 18 July 2008   Published: 22 October 2008


We evaluated the multiyear contraceptive efficacy of the gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) vaccine GonaCon, the porcine zona pellucida (PZP) vaccine SpayVac and the human intrauterine device (IUD) 380 Copper ‘T’ in mustang mares provided by the State of Nevada. Eight untreated control mares were compared with 12 mares treated with SpayVac, 16 mares treated with GonaCon and 15 mares treated with the copper-containing IUD. Rates of contraception for Years 1, 2, 3 and 4 respectively for SpayVac were 100% (12 of 12), 83% (10 of 12), 83% (10 of 12) and 83% (10 of 12), rates for GonaCon were 94% (15 of 16), 60% (9 of 15), 60% (9 of 15) and 40% (6 of 15) and rates for IUD-treated mares were 80% (12 of 15), 29% (4 of 14),14% (2 of 14) and 0% (0 of 14). Antibody titres against PZP and GnRH declined over the four-year study. For mares given SpayVac, uterine oedema was commonly observed. IUDs were visible by ultrasonography in non-pregnant mustang mares, suggesting that pregnant mares did not retain their IUD. IUD retention may be a function of uterine size: pony mares with IUDs had high retention and contraception rates for 4–5 years. We conclude that long-term contraception of mustang mares with a single shot of either the SpayVac or GonaCon vaccine is possible.


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