Effect of immunocastration on behaviour and blood parameters (cortisol and testosterone) of Holstein bulls
Keywords:immunocastration, Holstein bulls, testosterone
To evaluate the effect that immunocastration has on behaviour, testosterone and cortisol levels of feedlot Holstein bulls, 720 intact animals aged between 7 and 8 months, weighing 232±1.19 kg were randomly assigned to two treatments: immunocastration using the Bopriva vaccine and a placebo (360 animals per treatment). The bulls were slaughtered at day 239 of treatment. Animals were vaccinated on days 1, 21, 101, and 181, and on those same days testosterone levels were measured; while cortisol, glucose and creatin kinase measurements were done on day 181 and during exanguination at slaughter. Sexual, aggressive and social behaviours were evaluated and it was found that intact bulls showed a higher average of head butts, mounting, threats, flehmen sign and sniffing (P<0.05), no differences were found for vocalisations, lowering of the head and grooming (P>0.05). Testosterone levels in intact bulls remained at 0.47ng/mL throughout the study, however, by day 181 differences (P<0.05) were observed in immunised bulls, with values of 0.22ng/mL. At slaughter, testosterone levels were 0.21 ± 0.06 ng/mL in immunocastrated bulls and 0.54 ± 0.06 ng/mL in the placebo group. The use of immunocastration with Bopriva has shown to be effective to reduce testosterone, sexual and aggressive behaviours on Holstein bulls.
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