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Plasma progesterone concentrations in pregnant and non-pregnant llamas (Lama glama)
  1. CL Adam,
  2. CE Moir and
  3. P Shiach
  1. Rowett Research Institute, Bucksburn, Aberdeen.


Female llamas ovulate in response to copulation, and progesterone secretion by the corpus luteum indicates recent ovulation (mating) and, or, pregnancy. The plasma progesterone concentration was 0.9 to 1.4 ng/ml in five non-pregnant llamas and 7.4 to 9.2 ng/ml in three llamas in the last month of pregnancy. After ovulation had been induced in nine of 10 llamas by a single intramuscular injection of 500 or 750 iu of human chorionic gonadotrophin, the plasma progesterone concentration increased after two days from 0.5 to 1.2 ng/ml to 4.6 to 10.3 ng/ml after six to nine days and returned to basal values after 10 to 13 days, reflecting the life-span of a corpus luteum in the absence of conception. After a male llama had been introduced into a group of 13 females, 10 matings which resulted in eight conceptions occurred in the first 11 days, and 11 of the llamas became pregnant. The llamas' progesterone concentrations increased after mating and remained high if conception had occurred: 6 to 12 ng/ml in months one to four, and 5 to 9 ng/ml in months five to nine of the 11-month gestation. Two of the 13 llamas had high concentrations of progesterone although they did not become pregnant.

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