Friday, May 18, 2012
Pregnancy Testing Alpacas
Pregnancy testing alpacas
Alpacas are induced ovulators, mean they can be bred anytime of year without having a specific season heat cycle like most other mammals. This creates a high probability that alpacas become pregnant one of the first breedings. This write-up goes over how you check.
There are a number of reasons why alpacas do not conceive or slip their pregnancy in the early days after conception. Corrective action can be taken in these circumstances, but first you need to know that the re-absorption has happened.
The Spit TestI would suggest testing periodically about every 2 weeks for 4-6 weeks.
Ultrasound pregnancy test
The results from an ultrasound scan pregnancy test depend largely upon the skill and experience of the operator and the quality of the machine used. However, the best can see pregnancies and fetal development 20 days post mating. A pregnant scan shows a dark area, which is the fluid-filled uterus, and the cria is seen as a brighter area inside this.
Blood pregnancy test
Blood tests can be done to test for progesterone levels - which indicate pregnancy. These tests are around 5 dollars and we found to be fairly accurate. By drawing a small vile of blood and sending it into a laboratory such as M & M Laboratories, you can tell usually tell if an alpaca is pregnant within 20 and 60 day marks.
It is important that the labs/vet tell you the actual progesterone level (a number) and not just "pregnant/not pregnant".
A word to the wise
With experience and with knowledge of the individual behavior patterns of your alpacas, you can actually look at alpacas and tell whether they are pregnant or not. Hormonal change creates behavioral change. So a sweet friendly alpaca can become a grumpy one once she is pregnant, which is a mixed blessing. Maiden alpacas – first time moms– can be fairly pronounced in a mood change. Especially if you know your alpacas’ personalities well, this can help you determine if she has conceived.
Note that between 15% - 18% of alpaca pregnancies do slip - or miscarry - in the first 90 days so be vigilant. Testing for pregnancy at the appropriate times will save you waiting and watching your prize female for 12 or 13 months and wondering why she is not producing the eagerly awaited cria.