Sheep were medicated with progestogen sponges, pregnant mare's serum gonadotrophin, naloxone or nalbuphine during April, May, June or September 1986. It was observed that when suckling ewes were treated three or five weeks post partum with 45 mg medroxyprogesterone acetate (incorporated on an intravaginal sponge) for 12 days followed by 500 iu of pregnant mare's serum gonadotrophin and 0.4 mg naloxone administered intramuscularly after the withdrawal of the sponge, oestrus became evident 24 to 48 hours after the sponges were withdrawn. However, when the naloxone was replaced by 10 mg nalbuphine administered intramuscularly, oestrus was not shown. When the ewes were medicated with the same combination of drugs during anoestrus, the result was similar to that observed during lactation and oestrus was displayed only in the ewes that received naloxone. Thus the opioid antagonist naloxone facilitates the expression of oestrus in the ewe during anoestrus and lactation.
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