[en] Progesterone ; Early fetal period ; Milk production ; PAG ; Dairy cows
[en] The aim of the present study was to determine whether certain animal- or management related factors could affect plasma progesterone concentrations on Day 42 of gestation in high producing dairy cows. Factors affecting early fetal loss were also analyzed. The study population was comprised of 199 pregnant cows classified as having high (> or =9 ng/ml) or low (<9 ng/ml) plasma progesterone concentrations. Through logistic regression procedures it was determined that, based on the odds ratio, cows with two or more corpora lutea were three times more likely to have high progesterone concentrations than cows with a single corpus luteum. Low producing cows during the warm season were 2.86 times more likely to have high progesterone concentrations than the remaining cows. Primiparous cows with high concentrations (>4 ng/ml) of pregnancy associated glycoprotein-1 (PAG-1) were 2.73 times more likely to have high progesterone concentrations than the remaining cows. Of the 199 pregnancies, 25 (12.6%) suffered early fetal loss: 22/136 (16.2%) during the warm season and 3/63 (4.8%) during the cool season, all in cows without additional corpora lutea. Based upon the odds ratio, cows without an additional corpus luteum were 3.67 times more likely to suffer fetal loss during the warm season than during the cool season. Our results indicate that milk production, the presence of two or more corpora lutea and plasma PAG-1 concentrations can affect plasma progesterone concentrations at the onset of the fetal period. The presence of an additional corpus luteum strongly diminished the risk of early fetal loss during the warm period.