The mean ± s.e.m. concentration of oestrone sulphate (OS) in serum from 31 non-pregnant red deer was 2.0±0.2 ng/ml. The value 3 standard deviations above this mean was 6.2 ng/ml which represents the highest serum OS concentration likely to be found in non-pregnant deer. Only 2 out of 40 serum samples obtained from 15 deer between 118 and 182 days pregnant had an OS concentration >6.2 ng/ml, the overall mean ± s.e.m. value for the 40 samples being 2.4±0.3 ng/ml. On days 195 and 209 of gestation, 5 of 10 deer and 7 of 9 deer respectively had serum OS concentrations above 6.2 ng/ml; the mean ± s.e.m. concentrations on days 195 and 209 being 7.2±1.3 ng/ml and 14.9±3.4 ng/ml respectively. These results show that mean serum OS concentrations rise markedly in red deer during late gestation, and that by day 209 serum OS concentrations have risen above 6.2 ng/ml in most hinds. Measuring serum OS concentrations in the last month before expected calving may offer an alternative to ultrasonography for verifying pregnancy status in red deer.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 59, , 131-133, 1999
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