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Abstract

Efficacy of SpayVac® as a contraceptive in feral horses.

Abstract

We tested the efficacy of 2 formulations of the immunocontraceptive SpayVac®, which packages the immunogen porcine zona pellucida (PZP) and an adjuvant in multilamellar liposomes, as a contraceptive in captive feral horses (Equus caballus) for 3 consecutive breeding seasons (Pauls Valley, OK, USA; 2012-2014) following a single inoculation. Annual fertility rates in control adult female horses (n=30 each yr) were 100%, 96.7%, and 100%. In the nonaqueous treatment group, fertility was 16.7% in the first year (n=30) and 75.9% in the second year (n=29), at which point we dropped the group from the study. Fertility rates in the aqueous group were 13.3%, 46.7%, and 43.3% (n=30 each yr). Fifteen of the females in the aqueous group were infertile in all 3 years. Across 11 sampling dates postvaccination, mean PZP antibody titers in serum were 33.7-91.9% greater in nonpregnant females than pregnant females for the aqueous treatment group and 7.8-82.8% greater for the nonaqueous group. However, the 15 consistently infertile females did not necessarily have the greatest antibody titers. Reactions at the injection site occurred in 29.8% of the 84 females that received an injection other than saline solution, but there was no evidence that the reactions were painful or affected mobility. The nonaqueous formulation produced more local reactions than did the aqueous, but presence of PZP did not increase the frequency of reactions above that seen with liposomes+adjuvant. Uterine edema was not found at frequencies greater than would be expected in untreated females. Additional research to explore relationships between vaccine dose, adjuvant, and efficacy is warranted.