Pregnancy diagnosis is important for facilitating herd management in alpaca and llama herds. Up to 15% of pregnancy diagnoses based on behavioural non-receptivity to the male are inaccurate and this could result in significant cost-implications for the breeder. Correct pregnancy diagnosis facilitates planning for optimal nutritional and herd health management, it proves sire fertility and identifies sub-fertile females for investigation. Herds should develop a programme for monitoring pregnancy and foetal well-being. Ultrasonography is a readily available tool and should be used to confirm behavioural indications of pregnancy.
Pregnancy diagnosis is important because it reduces the risk of missing an entire reproductive year, it facilitates planning for optimal nutritional and herd health management, it proves sire fertility and identifies sub-fertile females for investigation. Herds should develop a programme for monitoring pregnancy and foetal well-being: any females that prove subsequently to have lost pregnancies can be checked and managed appropriately before being brought back into the breeding programme at the start of the following season. Although technically camelids are non-seasonal breeders, most owners will plan to have births during the spring and summer in order to optimise weather for birthings and grazing for lactational performance.
When can pregnancy diagnosis be performed?
Ideally, pregnancy diagnosis should be done around 60-90 days to ensure a female is pregnant and past the first 60 day period where losses are high. Earlier pregnancy diagnosis can be done (from 23-30 days) via transrectal ultrasound or from 45 days via transabdominal ultrasound. This is important where an earlier diagnosis of pregnancy is useful for problem breeders.
Confirmation of pregnancy status is then useful around 8 months of pregnancy. After this the foetus grows exponentially and the mother requires extra feeding to compensate. Confirmation of pregnancy at this stage ensures that pregnant females are fed the right diet then until birthing and any non-pregnant females can be re-bred at the start of the breeding season rather than waiting for a cria that will never arrive!
Most vets have little difficulty performing the earlier stage pregnancy diagnosis. However, some struggle with later term pregnancy diagnosis which can be more challenging due to the presence of less foetal fluid to help identify the pregnancy.
Claire is able to come to your farm to perform routine pregnancy testing by ultrasound examination. She is able to perform both transabdominal ultrasound (from 45-60 days gestation) and transrectal ultrasound (from 23 days gestation, but ideally from 30 days) in order to give earlier pregnancy diagnosis. This is particularly useful for problem breeders. I will be able to confirm non-pregnancy if transabdominal ultrasound is inconclusive or negative. Good handling of alpacas and llamas is necessary for transrectal ultrasound: if handling is inadequate, transrectal ultrasound will not be done. If non-pregnancy raises questions, the ultrasound examination can be extended to provide further information at additional cost.
Pricing is subject to change, please call/email for current information.
- Farm visit based on distance travelled
- Ultrasound set-up fee of £40, plus £15 per scan
- For transrectal ultrasound examinations that require further info, a “reproductive ultrasound” fee of £30 will be charged (please note that this is not a detailed breeding soundness evaluation).