Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

The effects of dietary protein on reproduction in pony mares Public Deposited

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  • Three levels of dietary crude protein (8.6, 11.4, and 17.2) were fed to 24 pony mares to determine the effects on the estrous cycle, conception rate, and serum progesterone concentrations. Mares were allotted into three treatment groups designated as low protein (LP), medium protein (MP), and high protein (HP). Following estrous synchronization with progesterone and prostaglandin F₂∞, dietary protein at the levels investigated, did not affect (P >.05) estrous synchronization, length of estrus, the number of days to ovulation, or the number of inseminations per conception. Conception rate following two cycles tended (P> .05) to be higher in the MP (87%) group than the LP (50%) or HP {57%) fed groups. Serum progesterone concentrations were affected (P <.05) by diet with levels of 6.5±.8, 7.9±.8, and 10.3±.8 ng/ml progesterone (least squares means±SE) in the LP, MP, and HP fed groups respectively. Serum progesterone on days 4, 8, 12, and 16 post-ovulation tended (P =.12) to be higher in pregnant (9.2±.7 ng/ml) than non-pregnant (7.3±.7 ng/ml) mares. A pregnancy status X day interaction (P <.01) indicated higher serum progesterone in pregnant vs non-pregnant mares, respectively, on day 8 (14.3±1.3 vs 9.0±1.2 ng/ml) and day 16 (6.1±1.3 vs 1.4±1.3 ng/ml). During the course of this reproduction trial, 9 of 16 pony mares fed a pelleted ration containing 60% ryegrass straw developed clinical symptoms of ryegrass staggers, Including tremors, incoordination and tetany. Blood parameters remained normal and no gross pathological changes were found. Peniclllium cyclopium was isolated in both the feed and feces of the ponies. This neurological disorder has previously only been reported in sheep and cattle feeding upon dry, closely cropped ryegrass pastures. Removing the ryegrass straw from the diet resulted in marked improvement within 2 weeks and complete recovery with in 2 months.
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