Med. Weter. 77

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Association between a single measurement of progesterone and cortisol blood concentrations at two to one week before parturition, and number of fetuses in the Teramana goat
The Teramana goat is an at-risk breed, needing population protection and programs to increase their numbers. The first step for a population increase is the best management of reproduction, leading to an as high as possible number of healthy and viable kids born. To this purpose, beside the optimization of mating, the best possible management of pregnancy and parturition is mandatory. The goat is a prolific farm animal in which single, double, or triple ovulations can occur, leading to singleton, twin or triple pregnancies, and the birth of multiple kids. Twins and triplets are associated to increased risk for perinatal mortality and need a special surveillance and possible assistance at birth. Knowledge of the number of fetuses that have to be delivered from each goat could be a practical tool for a better management of parturition. Among the methods to define the number of fetuses in the goat, the measurement of blood progesterone (P4) concentrations have provided inconsistent results. Therefore, the present study was aimed to assess the possible association between the maternal concentrations of plasma P4 and cortisol (C), two hormones possibly associated to the number of fetuses, measured only once at about two to one week before parturition in Teramana goats, and the number of fetuses. The results, obtained from 23 does, showed that both plasma P4 and C are higher in does bearing multiple fetuses than does with singleton pregnancies. However, the single measurement of plasma C, but not P4, two to one week before the expected parturition in the Teramana goat is useful to distinguish between does bearing singleton and triplet pregnancies for a better surveillance and assistance at delivery. Therefore, it could represent a tool for the best management of reproduction in a breed population at risk for extinction.
Key words: goat, late pregnancy, cortisol, progesterone, number of fetuses