Peripartal Hormonal Changes in Alpine Goats: a Comparison Between Physiological and Pathological Parturition

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In this study, 31 pregnant Alpine does were used to investigate the peripartal plasma profiles of progesterone, estradiol-17β, 15-ketodihydro-PGF2α and cortisol, assessing differences between goats with physiological and pathological parturition. The goats were observed around the time of parturition; all peripartum abnormalities were recorded, and veterinary assistance was provided if necessary. Blood samples were collected every 12 h from 7 days before to 7 days after delivery, and plasma used for hormonal analysis by radioimmunoassay. Two animals died during the study, and their data were excluded from the study. Of the remaining 29 animals, 23 goats had a spontaneous and physiological delivery, while six goats showed pathological parturition, including dystocia and retained placenta. The 65 alive kids were viable at birth and at 7 days of age. The results concerning the hormonal concentrations in the normal parturition confirm and define more precisely the patterns already described in the goat, while the comparison between physiological and pathological parturition has never been previously reported in this species. Highest peripartum levels of cortisol were found in the pathological group at delivery (30.6 vs 15.9 ng/ml) (p < 0.01) and 12 h later (26.2 vs 11.1 ng/ml) (p < 0.05); the greater cortisol concentrations found in goats with dystocia and retained placenta could suggest a higher level of stress. No significant differences between the two groups were found with respect to the circulating values of the other hormones, but the individual variability and the small number of goats enrolled in the pathological delivery group could have masked possible differences.

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