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Effect of anthelmintic treatment on sexual maturation in prepubertal beef heifers

, : Effect of anthelmintic treatment on sexual maturation in prepubertal beef heifers. Journal of Animal Science 77(3): 736-741

Heifers treated with invermectin at weaning have been reported to reach puberty at a younger age and lighter weight than untreated heifers. We tested the hypothesis that heifers administered invermectin would respond with earlier follicular development and a greater LH response to a 1-mg estradiol-17beta challenge (E(2)C) than untreated heifers. Fall-born Angus heifers (n = 32) were randomly assigned on 284 +/- 9 d of age (215.5 +/- 20.8 kg) to receive invermectin (IVR) or albendazole (ALB), IVR + ALB, or to remain as untreated controls (CONT). Each group (n = 8) was housed separately in adjacent pens throughout the trial and managed to gain .8 kg/heifer on a ration containing 13.2% CP, 58.8% TDN, and 49.9% DM. The CONT heifers received an additional 2.27 kg/heifer of corn silage and 1.59 kg/heifer of corn daily to maintain ADG at comparable levels. Individual body weight was recorded weekly, and nematode eggs per gram (EPG) of feces were measured every 21 d. Ultrasonography was performed on alternate days starting 2 wk prior to E(2)C to characterize follicular wave patterns. Follicles were separated into classes (C1 [3 to 5mm], C2 [6 to 9 mm, and C3 [10 mm]) and sizes (largest [LF], second [SLF], third[TLF], and fourth largest follicles [FLF]). The sizes of the regressing dominant follicle 1 (DF1) and the progressing dominant follicle 2 (DF2) were also determined. Serum concentrations of LH were determined from hourly jugular blood samples collected 8 to 24 h after injection of E(2)C. The IVR + ALB treatment group had more C3 follicles than ALB and CONT (P < .07). The IVR-treated heifers had larger TLF than ALB and CONT (P < .04). The IVR- and IVR + ALB-treated heifers had larger FLF and DF2 than ALB and CONT (P < .1). Least squares means for DF2 were 9.5 +/- .5, 8.0 +/- .4, 9.5 +/- .3 and 8.3 +/- .3 mm, for IVR, ALB, IVR + ALB and CONT, respectively ( P = .02 for treatment effect). The E(2)C-induced serum LH concentration did not differ with respect to treatment. We conclude that heifers administered IVR display increased follicular development, supporting our earlier investigations regarding reduced age at puberty in heifers treated with IVR near weaning.


PMID: 10229371

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