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Lindgren Kero, Linnea, 2019. Relaxin as a tool for pregnancy diagnosis in al-pacas : evaluation of the point-of-care test FASTest Relaxin. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Clinical Sciences



The alpaca is a South American camelid that originates from the Andes. Their popularity and
numbers in Sweden and other western countries have increased over the last few decades and
they are kept as pets and for their fleece (fiber).
Their reproduction differs from other ruminants in that they are induced ovulators, have a long
gestational period, very rarely have twins and are older when they are first mated. Pregnancy
losses are also common in alpacas, especially early pregnancy losses, with 10-50% of the losses
occurring during the first two months of pregnancy. Therefore, alpacas have a poor breeding
performance which makes advances in breeding slow. It is estimated that only half of the alpacas produce offspring each year. Because of this, an easily accessible, accurate and userfriendly tool for pregnancy diagnostics is crucial to be able to mate the female again during the
season, thereby increasing the number of offspring produced by each alpaca and enabling the
producer to reach breeding goals more effectively.
The most commonly used methods for diagnosing pregnancies are observing the females’ behaviour towards males, ultrasonography and progesterone concentrations in plasma. Ultrasonography is considered as an accurate method, but as many veterinarians either lack the
knowledge or equipment to perform it, it is still not a readily available tool for alpaca breeders.
Measuring progesterone concentration or observing the females’ behaviour towards males are
not entirely reliable since they are not specific for pregnancy.
Relaxin, on the other hand, is a pregnancy-specific hormone produced in the utero-fetal-placental unit. Relaxin concentration in blood is used in pregnancy diagnostics for several species,
including dogs and cats. Two scientific papers described the relaxin concentration in pregnant
and non-pregnant alpaca females and showed a significant difference between them.
In this study, the point-of-care test FASTest Relaxin, developed for dogs and cats, was evaluated as a tool in pregnancy diagnosis in alpacas. In total, 18 female alpacas were included in
this study, which was conducted in the United Kingdom; 12 were 61-90 days pregnant and 6
were non-pregnant. The pregnancies were confirmed by ultrasonography on the same day as
the blood samples were collected. The blood was centrifuged and the plasma was used in the
FASTest Relaxin test, according to the test instructions, within 4 hours. Later, plasma was sent
for quantitative analysis in a laboratory.
All the results from FASTest Relaxin were negative even though the results from quantitative
analysis showed levels of relaxin similar to those of dogs and cats. The conclusion is, therefore,
that FASTest Relaxin does not work as a tool for diagnosing pregnancy in alpacas. In contrast,
the quantitative analysis showed a clear difference in relaxin concentrations between pregnant
and non-pregnant females.

Main title:Relaxin as a tool for pregnancy diagnosis in al-pacas
Subtitle:evaluation of the point-of-care test FASTest Relaxin
Authors:Lindgren Kero, Linnea
Supervisor:Morrell, Jane
Examiner:Ström Holst, Bodil
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2019
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:VY002 Veterinary Medicine Programme 330 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Clinical Sciences
Keywords:Alpaca, Relaxin, pregnancy diagnostics, point of care test, FASTest Relaxin
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal husbandry
Deposited On:21 Jan 2020 07:10
Metadata Last Modified:06 Jul 2020 11:27

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