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Online Journal of Veterinary Research


Volume 21(11):720-727, 2017...

Metachromasia of exfoliated vaginal epithelial cells as marker of ovarian activity in ewes


Nazih Wayes Zaid.


Veterinary Obstetrics PhD, Department of Surgery and Obstetrics, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Baghdad, Iraq E-mail:




Nazih Wayes Zaid., Metachromasia of exfoliated vaginal epithelial cells as marker of ovarian activity in ewes, Onl J Vet Res., 21(11):720-727, 2017. Five pre-pubertal, 5 pubertal and 15 older Awassi ewes were swabbed for exfoliated vaginal epithelial cells. Swabs and blood were taken every 15 days. Swabs were stained with methylene blue. Cells from ewes in estrus or pregnant, shifted blue to red-blue or purple, with status confirmed by ultrasound and microscopy. At estrus, progesterone varied 1.9-19.1 ng/ml and estrogen 52.4-88.0 pg/ml and in pregnancy, 6.5-25.1 and 10.1-99.5 pg/ml. Cells taken postpartus, showed no change at 2 weeks. Inactive ovaries were confirmed by sonar, 0.6 ng/ml progesterone and 4.1 pg/ml estrogen. Cells swabbed in late postpartum from 11 ewes with cyclic activity shifted light to dark blue with 2.2 ng/ml progesterone and 5.7 pg/ml estrogen. Uterine infections did not affect color. Results suggested that color of exfoliated vaginal cells may be a useful marker of ovarian cyclical activity in ewes. At pre-puberty, no color change in inactive ovaries was found, supporting the findings.

Keywords: Metachromasia, ewes, vaginal, epithelium, ovarian, sex hormones.