Division of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506-6108, USA.
Problem: Spontaneous mastitis or induced infections mimicking mastitis reduce pregnancy rates in ruminants. The effect of immunization with either a mastitis-related pathogen component, peptidoglycan-polysaccharide (PG-PS), or killed Streptococcus pyogenes on pregnancy outcome was investigated.
Method Of Study: Ewe lambs were immunized with PG-PS (n = 50) or killed bacteria (n = 50) or were not immunized (control, n = 100). Titers of PG-PS immunoglobulin G (IgG) were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Ewes were bred by rams at synchronized estrus. All immunized ewes and half of the ewes not immunized were challenged with PG-PS on day 5 after breeding. Pregnancy maintenance was evaluated.
Results: Although the proportion of ewes pregnant at day 42 after breeding did not differ among treatments, the probability of pregnancy decreased with total dose of PG-PS (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Immunization of ewe lambs with PG-PS or killed S. pyogenes did not improve pregnancy maintenance. Furthermore, the toxic streptococcal component decreased pregnancy rate in immunized sheep in a dose-dependent manner.