Authors:Tímea Milisits-Németh, Orsolya Gabriella Balogh, István Egerszegi, László Kern, R. Garth Sasser, and György Gábor
The early detection of pregnancy and the determination of fetal numbers have economic benefits in sheep production because of the seasonal breeding patterns where missing a breeding opportunity means the loss of one productive year. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the B6-HRP ELISA for ovine pregnancy-specific protein B (oPSPB) measurement in the detection of pregnancy and estimation of fetal numbers in different sheep breeds. BioPRYN® ELISA assay kit was used for the detection of pregnancy in the experimental animals. Ninety-three ewes of three breeds (British Milksheep – BM, Lacaune – L and Transylvanian Racka – TR), each from three farms in Hungary, were included in the study. BM and L ewes were artificially inseminated (AI). Thirty-five days after AI, all ewes were examined by transabdominal ultrasound. The TR flock was mated naturally over a six-week period. At the end of the mating period, the ewes were similarly examined by ultrasound. Blood samples were taken from all pregnant ewes twice (35 and 65 days after AI), and serum samples were assayed by the BioPRYN test. It can be concluded that the detection of serum PSPB by ELISA is a much easier, safer, less expensive and highly accurate method for the detection of ovine pregnancy. Although some breed-related differences were detectable at 35 and 65 days post breeding, no differences in oPSPB levels were found in pregnant ewes carrying different numbers of fetuses.