1Department of Genetics, Breeding and Reproduction, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
(Manuscript received 24 September 2020; accepted for publication 15 February 2021)
Abstract. The objectives of this study were: 1) to determine the percent of cows with low P4 at Day 7-8 post-AI; 2) to treat the animal with low progesterone for 14 days with a P4-releasing intravaginal device (PRID DELTA); 3) to analyze the influence of P4 exogenous supplementation on pregnancy rate in treated and non-treated cows and 4) to create a protocol using “P4 Rapid” test allowing increased pregnancy rate under farm conditions. For this purpose, the current study has been conducted on 155 repeat breeding Holstein cows (<3 artificially inseminated – AI) with prolonged estrus cycle (<26 days). At day 7 and 8 post-AI, the milk progesterone levels were measured (P4 Rapid test). The cows with low P4 (n=104 or 67%) were divided into two groups each n=52. In Group I the progesterone devices were inserted for two weeks and control Group II without progesterone devices. At days 40 and 50 post artificial insemination (AI) all animals (n=104) were submitted to ultrasound pregnancy detection. Pregnancy was registered in 27 animals (51.9%) for Group 1, and in 16 cows (30.7%) for Group II. P4 Rapid is a quick, easy and practically applicable test to measure milk progesterone levels in dairy farms. The method is highly accurate and detects animals with low or high P4 at Day 7-8 after insemination. It also allows identification of conditions such as ovarian cysts, ovarian hypofunction and distinguishing of cycling and non-cycling cows. The combination of P4 measurement by P4 Rapid test and treatment with exogenous P4 to increase circulating concentrations in the first few days after conception can prevent embryo death and improve reproductive efficiency in dairy cattle.