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The anti-GnRH immunotherapeutic product Improvest was administered to intact male large flying foxes (Pteropus vampyrus) under managed care for androgen mitigation, leading to a decrease in agonistic behaviors, falls, and injuries from conspecific attention.


12 males were included in this study.


Eleven bats received subcutaneous (SC) Improvest interscapular, and 1 animal received Improvest SC in its leg. Assessments included clinical presentation, treatment, behavior, and urine and fecal glucocorticoid metabolites and testosterone (T5) concentrations.


Eleven of the 12 bats developed reactions, which included facial edema, localized irritation, swelling of the head and neck, and pruritus with varying degrees of skin ulceration and subsequent necrosis. Three of the animals required extensive treatments, and the 1 animal who received the injection in its leg was unaffected. Posttreatment, fecal glucocorticoid metabolite and/or T5 values were at or below the nonbreeding season baseline for 3 successive breeding seasons, and there was a reduction in agonistic interactions, falls, and injuries.


A behavioral characteristic of this species is to focus on areas of irritation that exacerbated the extent of the skin wounds. Some cases required medical, surgical, and behavioral intervention. Large flying foxes may be particularly sensitive to this immunotherapeutic when given subcutaneously in the interscapular region. Despite this reaction, the positive long-term effects on behavior and multiyear reduction of hormones suggest that the use of this immunotherapeutic warrants further investigation, although the results should be taken into consideration with other factors such as handling, treatments, chronicity of lesions.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research