Assessment of peripheral markers and ultrasonographic parameters in pregnant mares receiving intramuscular or intrauterine cloprostenol

Giorgia Podico, Igor F. Canisso, Robyn E. Ellerbrock, Nicholas W. Dias, Vitor R.G. Mercadante, Fabio S. Lima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study aimed to compare two methods of prostaglandin-induced abortion in mares by determining blood markers (progesterone, estradiol-17β, alpha-fetoprotein, 13,14-dihydro-15-keto-prostaglandin-F2α (PGFM)), B-mode ultrasonographic parameters, and time until loss of fetal heartbeat. It was hypothesized that intrauterine infusion of cloprostenol results in earlier fetal compromise than intramuscular administration. Ovarian structures (number and sizes of follicles and corpora lutea area), fetal heartbeat, and fetal mobility of thirteen singleton pregnancies were assessed daily by transrectal ultrasonography until induction of pregnancy termination (60 ± 2 days of gestation). Mares received 500 μg of cloprostenol intramuscularly every 12 h (IM, n = 7) or once transcervically (TC, n = 6). After initial cloprostenol administration, ultrasonographic examinations were repeated at 6-h intervals until loss of fetal heartbeat was detected. Plasma progesterone, estradiol-17β, and alpha-fetoprotein were assessed for five days before and after pregnancy loss. In addition, plasma PGFM concentrations were assessed immediately before cloprostenol administration (0 min), and then 15, 30, and 45 min, and 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 12 h after administration. Data were analyzed using the MIXED procedure with repeated measures in SAS. Significance was set at P < 0.05. All mares lost their pregnancies within 48 h after initial cloprostenol administration, with no difference in time to pregnancy loss. There were significant effects of time starting by 12 h post-induction of pregnancy termination but there was no time by group interaction for progesterone concentrations. Estradiol-17β and alpha-fetoprotein concentrations were not altered upon impending abortion. Concentrations of PGFM increased significantly by 2 h after cloprostenol administration, but there were no differences between groups. No time effects or time by group interaction for fetal mobility and heartbeat was detected. Expectedly, the number and area of corpora lutea decreased significantly after cloprostenol administration with no significant differences between groups. In conclusion, intrauterine administration of cloprostenol was not different from repeated systemic administration to terminate the pregnancy. Both models for early fetal loss were equivalent for the endpoints assessed herein. The present study provides evidence that transcervical cloprostenol administration technique is repeatable in different settings and results in negligible side effects. While systemic administration results in colic-like signs and may result in severe reaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Jan 15 2020


  • Abortion
  • Early pregnancy loss
  • PGF2αalpha analogue
  • Pregnancy termination
  • Progesterone
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals
  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Equine


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