A Differential Equation Model to Investigate the Dynamics of the Bovine Estrous Cycle
To investigate physiological factors affecting fertility of dairy cows, we developed a mechanistic mathematical model of the dynamics of the bovine estrous cycle. The model consists of 12 (delay) differential equations and 54 parameters. It simulates follicle and corpus luteum development and the periodic changes in hormones levels that regulate these processes. The model can be used to determine the level of control exerted by various system components on the functioning of the system. As an example, it was investigated which mechanisms could be candidates for regulation of the number of waves of follicle development per cycle. Important issues in model building and validation of our model were parameter identification, sensitivity analysis, stability, and prediction of model behavior in different scenarios.
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