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,
e-mail : email@example.com
- Using 104 acyclic hybrid (Large White x Landrace) gilts, we studied the efficacy
of acupuncture to induce oestrus. We compared the results of aquapuncture (AA, n=20) at
acupoints Baihui and Weiken with those of moxa-acupuncture (MA, n=44) at the same points,
and with data from untreated control gilts (C, n=40).
- The interval from the start of the trial to oestrus (and mating) in the control
(C) and acupuncture-treated (AA+MA) gilts and was 30.8 v 17.6 days, P <0.01).
Acupuncture treatment shortened the interval to oestrus (and mating) by 13.2 days (P
- The percentages of gilts induced into oestrus within the 28 days after the last
treatment in groups C, AA, MA, and (AA+MA) were 57.5, 70.0, 70.4, and 70.3%, respectively.
These differences were not significant (P >0.05). Further research, with larger numbers
of gilts, is needed to re-examine that finding.
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:
Group C (n=40 gilts) were untreated controls;
Group AA (n=20 gilts) were treated by aquapuncture (AA): 2 ml of 20 % glucose
solution was injected at Baihui and Weiken.
Group MA ( n=44 gilts) were treated by moxa-acupuncture (MA): the needle was
inserted at Baihui and Weiken. A piece of moxa roll, 2 cm long and 1 cm in diameter, was
inserted onto the needle-handle and left 1 cm above the skin. The moxa was ignited and
took about 10-15 minutes to burn out.
In groups MA and AA, 45 gilts that failed to show oestrus after the first acupuncture
were retreated exactly 7 days after the first treatment. No other treatments, or treatment
sessions, were given.
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)
- Of the control gilts (C), 57.5% showed oestrus (and were mated) in the same time as
- Significantly more gilts came in oestrus (and were mated) after the first
session with aquapuncture (AA) than after the first MA session (40.0 v 18.2%, c 2=3.49; P <0.05; Table 1). However,
after session 2, and on analysis of sessions 1+2 together, the differences between methods
AA and MA had disappeared (session 2: AA v MA 60.0 v 65.7%; sessions 1+2 combined: AA v MA
70.0 v 70.4%; P <0.05; Table 1).
- The repeated (double) treatment gave significantly better results than the
first treatment only (64.4 v 25.0%, respectively; c 2=16.96;
P <0.001; Table 1).
- In agreement with the conclusions of Hsia & Lee (1988), 70.3% of
acupuncture-treated gilts (MA+AA) came in oestrus and were mated within the 28
days. Although that was a better result than in control group (C, 57.5% mated within the
same time, Table 1), the difference was not significant (P <0.05).
- In comparison with control group (C), the most important effect of acupuncture
(MA+AA) was to significantly shorten the interval to the onset of oestrus and mating (30.8
v 17.6 days; t=4.15; P <0.01; Table 2).
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
|G I L T S
||Treated 1 x
||Treated 2 x
||Control group n=40
* P<0.05, *** P<0.001
Table 2. Interval from the beginning of the experiment to the
onset of oestrus (mating)
to onset of oestrus (mating)
We thank Phil Rogers MRCVS, Dublin, Ireland, for help in editing this
article before publication in the Web Journal of Acupuncture.
- Dial GD, de Vier GW, Hixon JE & Gustafsson BK (1984) Endocrine pathogenesis of
postweaning anestrus in swine. Response of the persistently anestrous sow to hormonal
stimuli. Amer. Journ. Vet. Research 45, 9:1737-1742.
- Hsia LC & Lee JH (1988) Inducing oestrus. Pig Intern., 18, 4:24-26.
- Huang CY (1992) Acupuncture in reproductive disorder. Training course on pig production
for participants from friendly countries (2). Anim. Industry Res. Institute, Taiwan Sugar
- Koh and Lin 1984 see Huang CY (1992)
- Lin JH, Chan WW, Chyr SC, Shien YS & Fung HP (1984) Induction of oestrus in
anoestrous sows with acupuncture-A preliminary report. Journ. Agric. Assoc., China
(Taipei), new series, 126:83-89.
- Meridith MJ (1979) The treatment of anoestrus in the pig: A review. Vet. Rec., 104:25-27.
- Schilling E & Cerne F (1972) Induction and synchronisation of oestrus in prepubertal
gilts and anoestrus sows by PMSG/HCG compound. Vet. Rec., 91:471-477.