Reproductive suppression of giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) under managed care using a GnRH immunological product

Giraffe present unique contraception challenges as males persistently pursue females during estrus. Year‐round pursuit during frequent recurring estrus can pose significant risk under slippery conditions. Complete ovarian suppression is a useful tool in giraffe because it eliminates estrous behavior, interest from the male, and controls reproduction. Effective reproduction control in giraffes has been achieved with porcine zona pellucida, oral melengestrol acetate, and depot medroxy‐ progesterone acetate. However, these methods allow some degree of folliculogenesis and estrous behavior. Improvest® is a gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) immunological product that elicits antibodies against GnRH and abrogates the effects of endogenous GnRH. This study evaluated the efficacy of Improvest® for gonadal suppression in seven females and one male giraffe by monitoring steroid hormones. Seven female giraffe were treated intramuscularly with an initial dose, a booster at 4 weeks and maintenance boosters at 3‐month intervals (600 µg/dose) for 12 months. Six females were on supplemental contraception during the induction phase because separation from males was not possible. In the male (treated with 400 µg), testosterone concentrations decreased after the second injection. However, even with low serum testosterone concentrations, mounting (of nontreated females) behavior was still observed occasionally. Ovarian activity was suppressed in all treated females and interest by the males stopped; supplemental contraceptives
(during the induction phase) did not impede the effect of Improvest®. After 15.3 months (seven doses), Improvest® was discontinued in three females which no longer needed contraception. In these females, ovarian activity was noted approximately 90 days after the last dose.

Publish DateOctober 13, 2021
Last UpdatedOctober 13, 2021
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