Urinary steroid evaluations to monitor ovarian function in exotic ungulates: II. Comparison between the giraffe (giraffa camelopardalis) and the okapi (okapia johnstoni)

Ovarian activity in the female giraffe was evaluated during the nonfertile ovarian cycle and during the terminal stages of gestation. Progesterone metabolites, in the form of pregnanediol‐3‐glucuronide (PdG), were measured in daily random urine samples collected from four adult parous giraffes. The follicular phase averaged 4.0 ± 0.1 days in length (N = 12; range 3–5 days) and peak PdG levels in the postovulatory period averaged 30.9 ± 1.7 ng/mg Cr (N = 12). PdG levels during the latter half of gestation greatly exceeded average luteal phase levels, which is in contrast to domestic ruminants. Prior to parturition, a marked decline in PdG excretion was evident, which may be useful for anticipating this event. These data serve to elucidate ovarian function in the mature female giraffe and to provide information concerning the physiologic role of certain anomalous ovarian structures. In addition, observed similarities in the pattern of PdG excretion during the nonfertile cycles of the giraffe and the okapi indicate similar underlying physiologic processes.

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January 27, 2021
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