Pregnancy, ovulation, and ovarian function in dry or lactating goats can be determined by a rapid, inexpensive, laboratory test for the hormone "progesterone."

  • Only a small amount of milk or blood is needed.  Milk must be stabilized with a preservative prior to sending the sample to us.  We supply the preservative.  It is the standard DHIA preservative.  Use mid-collection milk, not strippings.
  • Results are available the day after we receive the sample.
  • Samples may be sent by USPS First Class Mail. We supply sturdy, plastic (not glass) sample tubes for milk or blood.  Please use a padded envelope, not a regular envelope.  Regular envelopes are torn open by the USPS automatic canceling machines.

  • A Corpus Luteum (CL) forms in the ovaries after ovulation.  This CL produces the hormone "progesterone."  The progesterone concentration remains high (more than 1.5ng/mL) throughout pregnancy.
  • In a non-pregnant doe, the CL is reabsorbed prior to the next estrus, decreasing the progesterone concentration to 0.1ng/mL or less.

  • A low progesterone concentration (0.1ng/mL or less) more than a few days after breeding indicates that the does is not pregnant.  A doe cannot carry a fetus to term with a low progesterone.
  • A high progesterone concentration (more than 1.5ng/mL) in a normal doe 19-24 or 44-48 days after breeding indicates that the doe was pregnant at the time that the sample was taken.



  • Incorrect estimation of the time of estrus and ovulation, embryonic loss, and various ovarian disorders all can produce a "false positive" result.  The pregnancy test sample should be collected when the doe normally should come back into heat, whether she shows signs of heat or not.

  • A series of progesterone tests can be used to determine whether the doe is cycling.  The progesterone concentration will cycle along with the estrus cycle.
  • Silent heat can be detected, since the progesterone level should always be low during estrus and at ovulation.  A low progesterone concentration is necessary for ovulation to occur.
  • A doe who is not about to ovulate, even though she shows signs of heat, can be identified because the progesterone level will be too high to be compatible with ovulation.
  • In a pregnant doe, the probability of multiple kids increases as the progesterone level increases.  For example, a doe with a progesterone level of 2.2ng/mL at 19 days post breeding should have only one kid.  A doe with a progesterone concentration of more than 10ng/mL may have 1, 2, 3, or 4 kids, depending upon how many ova were fertilized and how may embryos survive.


    We also offer other endocrine tests to help  your veterinarian in the evaluation of any reproductive problems.

    Progesterone testing has been found to be 98-99% accurate in predicting that a doe  IS  NOT  PREGNANT, because a doe with a very low progesterone concentration (0.1ng/mL) more than a few days after ovulation, cannot carry a fetus to term.  However, a high progesterone concentration (1.5ng/mL or more) is only 85-88% accurate in predicting that she  IS  PREGNANT. This is because a doe may be cycling in an abnormal manner or she may have been pregnant when tested, but later reabsorbed or aborted. We also provide endocrine (hormone) testing for many other species, including horses and llamas.


    Rocky Mountain Instrumental Laboratories, Inc.
    108 Coronado Ct.
    Ft. Collins, CO 80525


    LAST MODIFIED:   16 APRIL 2012