Pregnancy testing cattle is a tool used by many producers in both intensive and extensive cattle enterprises. Pregnancy testing involves the manual palpation or ultrasound visualisation of the cow’s reproductive tract to determine pregnancy status as well as diagnosis of some reproductive diseases.
The benefits of pregnancy testing your herd on an annual basis are as follows:
- Early identification of non-pregnant stock (cows that will not produce progeny and thus not generate income for that breeding season)
- Diagnosis of congenital (present from the time of birth) or acquired abnormalities of the reproductive organs resulting in infertility
- Allows determination of pregnancy stage to assist in management of the calving period.
- May indicate the presence of reproductive disease, at the individual cow and herd level, and allow early detection and management of such disease.
- Certified pregnancy tested cattle may draw market premiums. A program that supports accredited pregnancy testers is the National Cattle Pregnancy Diagnosis scheme (an initiative of the Australian Cattle Veterinarians).
An experienced pregnancy tester can detect pregnancy as early as 6 weeks gestation and thus pregnancy testing, ideally, should occur at least 6 weeks following the end of the joining period.
Veterinary Bull Breeding Soundness Evaluation (VBBSE)
BBSE refers to bulls being subject to physical examination and semen testing prior to the breeding season. This evaluation serves to reduce the risk of a failed joining due to bull infertility. BBSE is usually carried out within the 2 months prior to commencement on the breeding season or prior to sale/purchase.
The BBSE process involves:
- Restraint of the bull in a crush
- Examination of the head structures, legs/joints, penis/prepuce/sheath, internal reproductive organs and the testes.
- Semen collection and visualisation of the erect penis.
- Crush-side semen evaluation – assessment of sperm concentration and motility of individual sperm.
- A sample is also collected at this time for sperm morphology testing which is used to detect specific abnormalities of individual sperm and thus determine cause of sub-fertility.
It is important to remember that illness, or climatic extremes may affect fertility in the bull for up to 70 days post-insult due to the sperm cycle. Such effects on fertility will be detected by BBSE.
Emergency Cattle Services
Western Namoi Veterinary Services also provides assistance with a range of other aspects of cattle production. Calving difficulty, prolapsed vagina/uterus, individual cow medicine, herd medicine and mortality investigations are all areas in which we may be able to provide assistance by phone or on property consultation. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any queries you may have relating to these issues.