Determining the pregnancy status of feral camels.
This project describes the development and validation of a simple blood test for pregnancy that can be performed safely, efficiently, and reliably at the point of capture. A simple method for obtaining blood from the jugular or facial vein of a camel and then analysing the serum or plasma for progesterone levels using a portable immunoassay analyser (miniVIDAS®) is described. Pregnancy detection was confirmed by transrectal ultrasound. This report is primarily targeted at veterinarians that work in regional areas of Australia that are likely to encounter camels in their business, either directly or through cattle producer clients. The second target audience are camel producers, the end beneficiary of this research. The development of a method for pregnancy detection that can be applied at the point of capture of feral camels is a significant breakthrough for improving the efficiency of this emerging industry. This method creates the potential for buyers to confidently obtain camels with the desired pregnancy status. Camel dairies can now confidently purchase animals that can be efficiently managed. Camel sellers now have a means of providing some market assurance to buyers on the pregnancy status of wild camels, with the likelihood of this leading to premium sale prices. This also reduces the high costs of transporting unsuitable camels to their destination farm. Consequently, camel producers (dairy and meat industries) now have a tool upon which to more efficiently select animals based on pregnancy status to suit their particular needs. This report has been produced as part of AgriFutures Australia's Emerging Industries Program. It is an addition to AgriFutures Australia's diverse range of over 2000 research publications and forms part of Arena 4 which focuses on new industries with high growth potential. Emerging animal and plant industries play an important part in the Australian agricultural landscape, they contribute to the national economy and they will be key to meeting changing global food demands.