Fecal progesterone analysis for monitoring reproductive status in dairy goats


Abstract: The present study was undertaken to evaluate the use of fecal progesterone (FP_4) concentration for early pregnancy diagnosis, estrus detection, and predicting the litter size and parturition date in dairy goats. Fecal samples were collected from 17 hand-mated goats 3 times a week for 22-23 weeks, beginning on the day of mating. The levels of FP_4 were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Significant positive correlations were found between the levels of serum P_4 and FP_4 (r = 0.8787, n = 13). Pregnancy diagnosis was performed at 2 months postmating with transabdominal ultrasonography and confirmed upon birth of the offspring. The results indicated a significant difference in the mean FP_4 concentration obtained during days 19 and 20 postmating between the pregnant and nonpregnant does (2492.4 ± 239.1 vs. 577.0 ± 112.9 ng/g, P < 0.05). A significant drop in the FP_4 concentration was noted 3 days prior to the detected day of estrus (P < 0.05). The mean weekly FP_4 profile obtained in this study showed a progressive increase from week 7 to 14 until a plateau was reached between weeks 15 and 21, and then a rapid decline began 5 to 6 days prepartum, with a significant drop 1-2 days prepartum (from 3884.3 ± 576.0 to 1205.0 ± 339.0 ng/g, P < 0.05). No significant correlation was observed between the FP_4 concentration and the number of kids born. In conclusion, the measurement of FP_4 concentration could potentially be an alternative method for early pregnancy diagnosis, prediction of estrus, and parturition in dairy goats.

Keywords: Fecal progesterone, pregnancy, estrus, dairy goat

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