Bovine pregnancy test

Bovine pregnancy test

Gribbles Veterinary’s serum pregnancy test for cattle delivers fast, accurate and economical diagnostic results. This ELISA detects Pregnancy Specific Protein B (PSPB) produced by the placenta and is therefore specific for pregnant animals (as opposed to progesterone or other hormones).

Heifers and cows can be tested at 28 days or later, after mating. Lactating cows must be tested 73 days after calving as they can have residual PSPB from the previous pregnancy. Therefore samples should be taken at 28 days or more after mating and 73 days or more after calving.

The main benefit of the serum pregnancy test over traditional pregnancy testing is that it can accurately identify pregnant and empty cows earlier at 28 days of gestation as opposed to 35 days with routine scanning. However, the serum pregnancy test is not a replacement for routine herd pregnancy testing and it will not age pregnancies.

The applications of this technology include:
1) Earlier identification and treatment of empty cows to maximise days in milk next season
2) Early identification and treatment of phantom cows (empty inseminated cows that do not return to service prior to pregnancy testing)
3) Earlier identification and resynchronisation of empty cows on synchrony programs.

The serum pregnancy test can also be performed on sera already submitted to the laboratory for other testing e.g. BVD, trace elements and metabolic profiles.

The sensitivity of the test is >99% (1% false negatives) when cows are tested at least 28 days after mating. The specificity of the test is 95% (5% false positives) when cows are tested at least 28 days after mating and at least 73 days after calving.

Up to 8% of false positives have been demonstrated in periods of hot weather presumably due to higher rates of early embryonic loss (this will occur with any milk or serum pregnancy test). These cows will however usually be identified during heat detection as returns for service or serviced during natural mating.

Samples required: Serum (red top tube)

Turn-around time: 1-3 days

Cost of testing: Refer to our current price book

Testing will be carried out in our specialised serology laboratory in Palmerston North.


Crowe MA, Hostens M, Opsomer G.  Reproductive management in dairy cows – the future.  Irish Veterinary Journal. 71, 1-13. 2018

Giordano, JO, Fricke PM, Cabera VE. Economics of resynchronization strategies including chemical tests to identify nonpregnant cows.  Journal of Dairy Science.  96, 949-961, 2013.