Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Jay W. Call


Jay W. Call


Several studies suggest that the administration of GnRH near the time of insemination improves pregnancy rates in cattle. It has also been reported that there is greater improvement in repeat-breeder animals than at first service. The mechanism for this observation has not been established. Twenty-eight lactating Holstein cows that returned to estrus after one or more inseminations from the USU Caine Dairy were used in the study. Animals were randomly divided into two treatment groups, intramuscular administration of 100 ug GnRH or saline control at the time of insemination. Blood samples were collected at 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3 and 4 hours post-insemination for LH determination and on days 0 through 7, 10, 16 and 22 for progesterone determination. Pregnancy status was determined by rectal palpation 40 to 47 days post insemination.

Serum LH concentrations reached peak concentrations (9.33 ± 5.5 ng/ml) by one hour following GnRH administration. This was significantly different from saline controls (p < 0.005). There was no relationship between LH peak and subsequent progesterone levels and pregnancy status.

Serum progesterone levels increased as expected. from day o to day 16 in all animals. Animals treated with GnRH that became pregnant tended to have the highest progesterone levels beginning from day 4. Animals treated with GnRH that were non-pregnant at 40 to 47 days tended to have the lowest progesterone levels from days 4 through 10 but were high on day 16. Pregnant animals had higher progesterone levels than non-pregnant animals from days 4 to 16. These differences approached significance (0.25 > p < 0.10). These results support the contention that GnRH administration affects progesterone levels rut do not conclusively establish increased early progesterone levels as the mechanism for improved pregnancy rates. Other hormonal and functional factors may be involved.