Vaginal biota number is smaller in tailed than docked hair ewes (Ovis aries), but is not affected by copulation
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A greater accumulation of feces could facilitate the entrance of bacteria or inert particles into the vagina, particularly while mating tailed ewes. Two experiments were performed to determine if the tail has an active role in the growth of bacterial flora and the entrance of inert material in the vagina after mating, during induced or natural estrus. Twenty ewes were used, 10 tailed and 10 docked. All ewes displayed estrus after CIDR treatment, and half of them; 5 tailed and 5 docked were exposed to rams during the first experiment. For the second experiment, the rest of the animals were mated 15–17 d later at spontaneous estrus. In the induced estrus, no differences in the number of CFU/mL in docked or tailed ewes were observed before mating, but after mating, CFU values tended to be greater in docked than tailed ewes, and the number of inert particles was greater in docked than tailed ewes (5.8 ± 1.3 vs 1.6 ± 0.6, P = 0.024). During natural estrus, docked ewes had less CFU/mL than tailed ewes (19.6 × 103 ± 0.4 vs 80.0 × 103 ± 0.0, P = 0.006) before mating, and a similar tendency was maintained after mating, when the number of inert particles was similar in docked and tailed ewes. Staphylococcus and Escherichia were observed in the induced estrus, while in the natural estrus, even though these were the more frequent, five other genera of bacteria were observed. It was concluded that the presence of the tail protects the vaginal environment against increases of the biota load.
KeywordsWelfare, estrus Sheep Mating Contamination Feces
Compliance with ethical standards
The study was approved by the Internal Committee for the Care and Use of Experimental Animals at the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, México (UAEM), in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. The manuscript does not contain clinical studies or patient data.
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