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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Nutrition, Growth and Physiology » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #318322

Title: Use of ultrasonography to make reproductive management decisions

item PERRY, GEORGE - South Dakota State University
item Cushman, Robert - Bob

Submitted to: Professional Animal Scientist
Publication Type: Literature Review
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/7/2015
Publication Date: 4/1/2016
Citation: Perry, G.A., Cushman, R.A. 2016. Use of ultrasonography to make reproductive management decisions. Professional Animal Scientist. 32(2):154-161.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Transrectal ultrasonography has been available for making management decisions since the mid 1980’s. This technology allows for the real-time visualization of internal structures (i.e. ovary and fetus) that are otherwise difficult to evaluate. The use of this technology in making reproductive management decisions can be divided into three key areas: 1) selection of animals to be kept in the breeding herd, 2) increasing the likelihood of reproductive success, and 3) pregnancy determination. When selecting replacement animals, ultrasonography can be utilized to assess antral follicle counts in females. Antral follicle counts have a direct impact on animal fertility. Around the start of the breeding season transrectal ultrasonography can be utilized to determine puberty status, reproductive tract score, and estrous cycling status. In addition it can be used to determine response to synchronization protocols (presence of a dominant follicle, ovarian cyst, and follicle diameter), or if other assisted reproductive technologies are being utilized it can be used to predict success (superovulation response or presence of a CL for embryo transfer). Following insemination this technology can be used to determine pregnancy status as early as 28 days after insemination, fetal age and sex, and presence of multiple offspring. The largest limitations to the use of ultrasonography include the time and technical skills required, and the strain on the arm and shoulder. While handles can be used for pregnancy diagnosis exams, measurements on the ovary require consistent placement of the transducer that to date can only be accomplished manually. Future improvements that may overcome some of these limitations include better imaging software, larger hard drives allowing the storage of video clips, and improved diagnostic capabilities of the machine (i.e. software that will be able to use pixel density to categorize ovaries). Color doppler and three-dimensional images are being explored for earlier pregnancy diagnosis and for blood flow and health of the CL and follicles. Thus transrectal ultrasonography has and will have a role in the successful reproductive management of cattle herds.