Ruminants


21
May 2019
alpaca face

A normal llama and alpaca pregnancy lasts for an average of 11 and 11.5 months, respectively. Pregnancy is not visually obvious until late pregnancy (if at all) in either species of camelid. The traditional alpaca “spit off” method, where the female treats the male with hostility, actually only confirms ovulation – not a successful pregnancy. It would have to be repeated multiple times several weeks after the last mating to confirm that the female is not pregnant, and even this is not fool-proof, with less experienced female alpacas known to accept the......

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29
Sep 2018
Beef cattle

I’ve been working with the British meat grading industry for 6 years now, and earlier this month, I also had the opportunity to visit Switzerland for the second time to work on ultrasound meat grading for sheep. This week, I flew to Ames in Iowa, to see how the CUP Lab are running their ultrasound technician training programme, and learn how the Americans are collecting data on intramuscular fat percentage (IMF%) in cattle. There are other data processing laboratories in the USA, but it was Quality Assurance Manager Emily’s willingness to discuss her......

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08
Aug 2018
Scanning a pygmy goat on Bassetwood Farm

The following article is a short introduction to getting started with goat scanning using the Scan Pad ultrasound machine. This machine has been reviewed against other systems in our goat ultrasound road trip article. We have produced a free downloadable quick start guide for the Scan Pad, which covers setting up your system and adding your name to the top left, saving images and videos, adjusting basic controls, and a final section on more advanced controls once you become more confident in your scanning. You can claim yours here.   Probe positioning......

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22
Jul 2018

Since my goat ultrasound trip around England last month, I’ve been on a mission to identify an unusual-looking structure that was found in 4 goats (from a herd of 44). I’ve been through the usual suspects: hydrometra / starburst, cystic ovaries (with the help of Yvette), even udder (with the help of Julie Jarvis from Animal Cracker Farm) with or without mastitis. Nothing quite fits in terms of appearance or size. Above: mystery structure in what should have been a pregnant goat   Last week, Dr Baxendell – a goat veterinarian in Australia – kindly......

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19
Jun 2018
Kid at Newholme Farm

Last weekend, I traveled around England scanning goats. Despite having a large number of goat breeders in our farm animal scanning Facebook group, I’d never had much hands-on experience myself, as the vast majority of our goat breeder group members are in the USA. Ultrasound scanning to confirm pregnancy in goats is very popular in the States, even on small farms. I believe the greater distances between the farms and their local scanner or veterinarian is a major contributing factor, but also, goat breeding just seems to be a lot bigger – and perhaps......

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24
Dec 2017
Cotyledons on ultrasound

The uterus is comprised of three main layers – the perimetrium, myometrium and endometrium. The perimetrium is a thin membrane which secretes lubricating fluids. The myometrium consists of smooth muscle which facilitates contractions, which are necessary to aid the passage of sperm and also for parturition (giving birth). When oestrogen is high and progesterone is low, the myometrium is firm and in animals which can be palpated (mainly the cow and mare rectally), this can be felt and is one indicator of oestrus. Under the influence of progesterone, the myometrium in most......

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02
Jan 2017

Modern research on the accuracy of gestational age calculations for goats is scarce, but one paper from 2011 compares three different methods in Saanen goats. In this research by Abdelghafar et al. (2011), crown-rump length was measured at the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th weeks of gestation. Measurement markers were placed at the upper part of the skull, to the end of the sacrum (end of the spine), when the fetus was fully extended. In the event that the fetus was curved, measurements were taken in two phases; head to heart,......

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