Article Text

Laboratory methods of equine pregnancy diagnosis
  1. D Walker

Abstract

Rectal examination is a reliable method of diagnosing pregnancy in the mare. Also, test kits are available for the simple quick detection of pregnant mare serum gonadotrophin. Nevertheless there is a considerable demand by practitioners for an independent laboratory service in equine pregnancy diagnosis, particularly during the gestational phase when placental gonadotrophin is concentrated in the blood. An initial attempt to provide a service by means of the agar gel diffusion test was disappointing and alternatives were sought. The primary requirements for an ideal alternative technique were defined as: accuracy, sensitivity, applicability to the optimum request period, elimination of subjective interpretation and a minimal inconclusive rate. Additional considerations included cost, practicality and test duration. The various tests available are summarised and their published accuracies are discussed. It was decided to reverse the current trend from biological to immunological techniques and to modify the test by which Cole and Hart announced the discovery of PMSG in 1930. The utero-ovarian response in the immature female mouse was quantified simply to produce a numerical result. The reason for this is explained, the method is described and its accuracy is evaluated. The primary requirements, defined above, were achieved.

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