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Long-Lasting, Single-Dose Immunocontraception of Feral Fallow Deer in British Columbia

Mark A. Fraker, Robert G. Brown, Geoffrey E. Gaunt, Jason A. Kerr and Bill Pohajdak
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 66, No. 4 (Oct., 2002), pp. 1141-1147
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3802946
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3802946
Page Count: 7
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Long-Lasting, Single-Dose Immunocontraception of Feral Fallow Deer in British Columbia
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Abstract

Practical field application of immunocontraception to manage overabundant deer has been hampered by the need for multiple inoculations to establish and maintain contraceptive antibody levels. To determine whether contraception lasting >1 year could be achieved with a single dose of SpayVac™ immunocontraceptive vaccine, we treated 41 female fallow deer (Dama dama) on James Island, British Columbia, Canada. Unlike other contraceptive vaccines, which use porcine zona pellucida (PZP) proteins and require boosters, SpayVac™ uses PZP encapsulated in liposomes and requires only 1 dose to achieve high antibody titers. Pregnancy status was determined for 22 treated does in 1, 2, or 3 breeding seasons (8-35 mo) post-immunization. No treated doe was pregnant, whereas 96.4% of untreated does were pregnant. High anti-PZP titers persisted throughout our study, suggesting that contraception will continue well beyond 3 years. The need for multiple inoculations with conventional PZP vaccines is a major limitation to their practicality for controlling fertility of free-ranging populations. The long-lasting, single-dose capability of SpayVac™ makes field applications more practical and less expensive while reducing treatment stress and risk of injury to deer.

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