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Comparison of pregnancy diagnosis in dairy cattle by use of a commercial ELISA and palpation per rectum

Matthew W. BreedDepartment of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Charles L. GuardDepartment of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Maurice E. WhiteDepartment of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Mary C. SmithDepartment of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Lorin D. WarnickDepartment of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

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Abstract

Objective—To compare agreement between 2 pregnancy tests in dairy cattle.

Design—Evaluation study.

Animals—976 and 507 cattle for phases 1 and 2, respectively.

Procedures—Blood samples were collected, and palpation per rectum (PPR) was performed on cattle. Blood samples for the pregnancy-specific protein B (PSPB) ELISA were sent by courier to a commercial laboratory with results returned later. Results of PPR were extracted from herd records. Statistical comparison of results was performed by use of a mixed linear model and N analysis.

Results—Of 571 cattle classified as pregnant by the PSPB ELISA in phase 1, 30 (5%) were nonpregnant by PPR. Mean ± SE adjusted optical density (OD) of cattle classified pregnant by both tests was significantly higher (0.31 ± 0.01), compared with the adjusted OD of cattle classified pregnant by the PSPB ELISA and nonpregnant by PPR (0.22 ± 0.02). Of 255 cows classified pregnant by the PSPB ELISA in phase 2, 31 (12%) were nonpregnant by PPR. Mean ± SE adjusted OD of cattle classified pregnant by both tests was significantly higher (0.26 ± 0.01), compared with the adjusted OD of cattle classified pregnant by the PSPB ELISA and nonpregnant by PPR (0.21 ± 0.01). The N value was 0.82 and 0.81 for phases 1 and 2, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Good agreement existed between the 2 tests, especially at longer intervals after insemination. Discrepant results appeared to be attributable to a nonviable fetus, embryonic loss, or fetal loss.

Abstract

Objective—To compare agreement between 2 pregnancy tests in dairy cattle.

Design—Evaluation study.

Animals—976 and 507 cattle for phases 1 and 2, respectively.

Procedures—Blood samples were collected, and palpation per rectum (PPR) was performed on cattle. Blood samples for the pregnancy-specific protein B (PSPB) ELISA were sent by courier to a commercial laboratory with results returned later. Results of PPR were extracted from herd records. Statistical comparison of results was performed by use of a mixed linear model and N analysis.

Results—Of 571 cattle classified as pregnant by the PSPB ELISA in phase 1, 30 (5%) were nonpregnant by PPR. Mean ± SE adjusted optical density (OD) of cattle classified pregnant by both tests was significantly higher (0.31 ± 0.01), compared with the adjusted OD of cattle classified pregnant by the PSPB ELISA and nonpregnant by PPR (0.22 ± 0.02). Of 255 cows classified pregnant by the PSPB ELISA in phase 2, 31 (12%) were nonpregnant by PPR. Mean ± SE adjusted OD of cattle classified pregnant by both tests was significantly higher (0.26 ± 0.01), compared with the adjusted OD of cattle classified pregnant by the PSPB ELISA and nonpregnant by PPR (0.21 ± 0.01). The N value was 0.82 and 0.81 for phases 1 and 2, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Good agreement existed between the 2 tests, especially at longer intervals after insemination. Discrepant results appeared to be attributable to a nonviable fetus, embryonic loss, or fetal loss.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Breed's present address is Livestock Poultry Health, Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, Clemson University, Columbia, SC 29224.

Supported by a grant from the Dean's Fund for Clinical Excellence, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University.

Presented in part at the 40th Annual Convention of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, Vancouver, BC, Canada, September 2007.

The authors thank Michelle Stefanski-Seymour for technical support.

Address correspondence to Dr. Breed.