Acupuncture to Induce Oestrus in Gilts

J. Cerovsky, V.Hudecek, M. Rozkot, D.Harapat, Z.Hercik
Research Institute of Animal Production,
Praha-Uhrineves, 51741 Kostelec n.Orlici,
and ZEVOS Zizelice , SVCH Prevysov,
Czech Republic
e-mail :



Anoestrus is a common reproductive disorder in replacement gilts. It manifests as an external sign of ovarian inactivity. Farmers on large pig farms define this disorder as a delayed pubertal oestrus, or as a loss of reproductive ability.

Anoestrus in gilts may be due to inadequate nutrition, adverse management regimes during rearing, and adverse housing systems. Anoestrus depends more or less on a genetic variability, or is a result of the influence of all the above mentioned factors (Meredith, 1979). Different types of hormonal treatment have different effects in anoestrous gilts (Dial et al., 1984). Treatment by a combination of PMSG and HCG often succeeds in cases of prepubertal ovaries, but not in cases of functional ovaries (Schilling and Cerne, 1972). In the latter case, the combination may be harmful (Lin et al. 1984).

Hsia & Lee (1988) and Huang (1992) described an acupuncture method to induce oestrus in gilts and sows. Hsia & Lee (1988) reported success rates of 50-70% in gilts treated with this method. According to some scientific reports (Shilling and Cerne 1972; King et al. 1982). The usual success rate with modern hormone treatment is from 70-80%. However , these same treatment results have never been achieved and effectiveness of boar contact, shower bath or exercise treatment is even worse in Taiwan (Koh and Lin, 1984). It seems that results of modern hormone treatment are similar, but more expensive.


Materials and methods

Researchers, especially in Professor Linīs group, have used acupoints Baihui (T4, in the midline, in the lumbosacral space) and Weiken (HL11, in the midline, in the sacrococcygeal space) to treat reproductive disorders in many species.

Three groups of anoestrous Large White x Landrace gilts were assigned to treatment:

The mean age of the control and experimental groups did not differ significantly (244.0 v 245.9 days; t=0.73; P >0.05)

The experiment was terminated 28 days after the last acupuncture treatment. The following parameters were compared: the number of mated and unmated gilts, and the interval (days) from the first treatment to oestrus (mating)



The data confirm the conclusions of Taiwanese workers that acupuncture may be used to induce oestrus (by shortening the anoestrus interval) in gilts. Two sessions of acupuncture had more effect than a single session. Failure to show a significant difference in the percentage of gilts showing oestrus within 28 days (70.3% of acupuncture-treated (MA+AA) gilts v 57.5% of control gilts) may have been due to the numbers studied. This needs further research.


Table 1. Numbers treated and mated in the experimental groups and the control group

Methods of acupuncture


Treated 1 x Treated 2 x
treated mated treated mated Total mated
n n % n n % n %


44 8 18.2
35 23 65.7 31 70.4


20 8 40.0
10 6 60.0 14 70.0


64 16 25
45 29 64.4
45 70.3

Control group n=40

23 57,5

* P<0.05, *** P<0.001

Table 2. Interval from the beginning of the experiment to the onset of oestrus (mating)


Interval (days) to onset of oestrus (mating)


Standard deviation

Control group
(C, n=40)



Treated group
(MA+AA, n=64)




13.2**, P<0.01




We thank Phil Rogers MRCVS, Dublin, Ireland, for help in editing this article before publication in the Web Journal of Acupuncture.