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Comparison of two bovine serum pregnancy tests in detection of artificial insemination pregnancies and pregnancy loss in beef cattle

by Emmalee J. Northrop, Jerica J. J. Rich, Jim R. Rhoades, George A. Perry

Blood tests for early detection of pregnancy in cattle based on pregnancy-associated glycoproteins (PAGs) are commercially available. The objective of these studies were to compare the accuracy of blood tests to transrectal ultrasonography in detecting AI pregnancies, and to compare the accuracy of blood tests in predicting pregnancy loss. Beef cattle from 6 herds were synchronized using a recommended CIDR based protocol (Study 1: n = 460; Study 2: n = 472). Pregnancy status was determined by transrectal ultrasonography between days 28–40 following AI, blood samples were collected at this time. In study 2 a final pregnancy determination was performed at the end of the breeding season to determine pregnancy loss. Each serum sample was examined for PAG concentrations using a microtiter plate reader and/or scored by two technicians blind to pregnancy status and pregnancy loss. For study 1 Cohen’s kappa statistics were calculated to assess the agreement between each test and transrectal ultrasonography. For study 2 data was analyzed using the GLIMMIX procedure of SAS with herd as a random effect, and loss, age, and their interaction included in the model. Agreement was good to very good for each test. There was no difference (P = 0.79) in sensitivity, but a difference (PP = 0.04), age (P = 0.0002), and their interaction (P = 0.06) on PAG concentrations. In conclusion both pregnancy tests were accurate at detecting AI pregnancies, and were in very good agreement with transrectal ultrasonography. Both tests detected differences in PAGs among females that maintained and lost pregnancy; however, prediction proved to be difficult as most females were above the threshold and would have been considered pregnant on the day of testing.
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