SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • contraception;
  • fallow deer;
  • fertility control;
  • porcine zona pellucida

Abstract

Immunocontraception has become an increasingly valuable tool in the population management of captive exotic ungulates. Although porcine zona pellucida vaccine (PZP) was used successfully in other cervids, a previous study with fallow deer (Cervus dama) suggested that the vaccine did not work in this species. In the current study, PZP was tested in two captive herds of fallow deer. Antibody titers were monitored over a 3-year period to evaluate three different adjuvant protocols, and the vaccine was applied to an entire herd to determine the impact on fawning rates. In a semi-free-ranging herd, antibody titers rose from preimmunization levels of 2.6% of positive control serum to 56.5% 4 weeks after initial inoculations, to 65.1% at 1 year, and to 81.3% at 2 years, after a single annual booster was applied. Fawn production in this herd was reduced significantly over 3 years. The adjuvant protocol of Freund's Modified Adjuvant® (FMA) for the initial inoculation followed by a booster with Freund's Incomplete Adjuvant® (FIA), and the protocol of FMA for the initial inoculation followed in 3 weeks by a booster with FMA both produced significantly higher antibody titers than the 3× FIA (3 weeks apart) protocol after year 1. The FMA+FMA protocol produced significantly higher titers than the 3× FIA protocol at year 2, but was not different from the titers produced by the FMA+FIA protocol at year 2. Zoo Biol 22:261–268, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.