Induction of parturition in cattle with corticosteroids: an analysis of field trials

Induction of parturition in cattle with corticosteroids: an analysis of field trials
Peer reviewed


Prolonged gestation in cattle is characterized by abnormalities in the foetal pituitary and adrenal glands (Kennedy et al 1967). Experimental verification of the crucial role of this endocrine axis initiating parturition hypophysectomy or came from adrenalectomy of of foetal lambs (Liggins et al 1967; Drost and Holm, 1968). Further studies extended the concept by showing that cortisol, dexamethasone and ACTH infusions could induce premature parturition in normal foetal lambs or induce parturition in hypophysectomized foetal lambs (Liggins, 1968). While corticosteroid treatment of the foetal lamb would induce parturition, initial reports suggested that corticosteroid treatment of the ewe (4 mg dexamethasone per day) did not have such an effect (Liggins, 1968). However, more recent trials with higher doses (20 mg dexamethasone), have shown that parturition can be induced by treating the ewe (Fylling, 1971). Similarly in the cow, large doses of corticosteroids injected into the mother will induce parturition (Adams, 1969; Adams and Wagner, 1970; Welch, 1969, 1971, 1972). It is reasonable to assume that when the drug is injected into the cow it acts on the foetus…

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