Estrus, ovulation, and serum progesterone, estradiol, and LH concentrations in mares after an increased photoperiod during winter.Am J Vet Res. 1977 Feb; 38(2):203-7.AJ
On December 11, 1974, 15 seasonally anestrous mares were assigned at random to 1 of 3 experimental groups: outdoor-control, indoor-control, or indoor light-treated (a 16-hour photo-period). This experiment was terminated on April 21, 1975. The five mares in the indoor light-treated group ovulated 59.0+/-6.9 days later, which was 74 days earlier (P less than 0.01) than 2 of the 5 outdoor-controls (the other 3 ovulated after April 21 during a subsequent experiment) and 50 days earlier (P less than 0.05) than the indoor-controls. Durations of the 1st estrus for the 3 groups of mares were 13.3+/-3.6, 8.4+/-2.0, and 6.0+/-1.0 days for the indoor light-treated, indoor-control, and outdoor-control groups, respectively. The indoor light-treated mares averaged 4.2 estrous cycles before April 21, the indoor-control mares averaged 1.4 estrous cycles, and 2 of 5 outdoor-control mares ovulated 1 time during the experiment. The peripheral blood luteinizing hormone (LH), estradiol, and progesterone concentrations were minimal during winter anestrous. The hormone changes normally associated with estrous cycle activity in mares--maximal estradiol and luteinizing hormone concentrations near ovulation and maximal progesterone concentration during diestrus--were observed in all mares beginning at the 1st estrus. Hair loss was observed earlier in the light-treated mares, than in either of the other groups. In conclusion, a 16-hour photo-period initiated in early December for anestrous brood mares caused endocrinologically normal estrous cycles to begin within 2 months. This may allow breeding and foaling considerably earlier than normally expected.