Free Access
Reprod. Nutr. Dev.
Volume 43, Number 3, May-June 2003
Page(s) 225 - 236
Reprod. Nutr. Dev. 43 (2003) 225-236
DOI: 10.1051/rnd:2003022

Determination by echography of uterine changes around puberty in gilts and evaluationof a diagnosis of puberty

Françoise Martinat-Bottéa, Eric Royera, Eric Venturia, Christian Boisseaub, Philippe Guillouetb, Vincent Furstossb and Michel Terquia

a  UMR 6073 INRA-CNRS-Université F. Rabelais PRC, 37380 Nouzilly, France
b  UEICP INRA, 86480 Rouillé, France

(Received 2 December 2002; accepted 4 April 2003)

Three experiments were carried out to evaluate the use of ultrasonography in assessing the onset of puberty in gilts. In experiment 1, gilts ( n = 17) were scanned 3 times per week beginning at 133 and continuing until 187 days of age. The ultrasonic appearance of the uterus was described, quantified and compared with the reproductive status observed at slaughter. The quantification of the pictures showed a different correlation in time for infantile, impubertal, prepubertal and pubertal stages. For pubertal females, "uterine area" increased at around 180 days of age, well-defined sections of the uterine horns appeared 3 $\pm$ 0.5 days before puberty. In infantile and impubertal gilts during the same period of age, uterine images remained dark and homogeneous; no significant change in the "uterine area" was observed. This difference in images allowed an evaluation of the diagnosis of puberty. In experiment 2, the gilts ( n = 123) were scanned, the result was verified at slaughter the day after by examination of the genital tract. The uterine weight of the gilts that had reached a prepubertal or pubertal stage was significantly greater ( P = 0.0001) than that in impubertal gilts. The sensitivity and the specificity of the diagnosis were 91.9% and 96.5% respectively. Experiment 3 was performed on a farm and echographic examinations were carried out one and five days after gilts ( n = 117) arrived at the piggery. Oestrus detection or blood sampling for progesterone determinations were used as tools to determine the reproductive status. The sensitivity and the specificity of the diagnosis were 98.9% and 100% respectively. This diagnosis of puberty is thus accurate.

Key words: pig / puberty / detection / ultrasonography

Correspondence and reprints: Françoise Martinat-Botté

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2003