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E.I. Medical Imaging Portable Ultrasound Solution Blog

IBEX® Ultrasound: Stages of Early Bovine Pregnancy, part 1

Posted by Mia Varra on Mon, Jul 09, 2012 @ 03:40 PM


Bovine ultrasound is used to diagnose pregnancy and even more importantly to diagnose open cows and return them into breeding protocols. This is an incredibly crucial part of any bovine operation business. It can mean the difference between "make it" or "break it" economics on difficult years. Every bit of management plays a roll in the profitability on a dairy or beef cow operation, so having the most accurate and immediate information like ultrasound to diagnose pregnancy (or lack of) is nothing to shake a stick at.

The first step in learning ultrasound is to have an understanding of how ultrasound works and how to read an ultrasound image. The next step to learn bovine ultrasound is to have a very good understanding of bovine anatomy. Knowing what normal looks like will allow you to diagnose abnormal.

Bovine Anatomy

bovine anatomy ultrasound

Now, let’s look at early stages of bovine pregnancy.

bovine ultrasound 25 day

Bovine Ultrasound, 25 day pregnancy


bovine ultrasound 30 day

Bovine Ultrasound 30 day pregnancy


32 day bovine pregnancy ultrasound

Bovine Ultrasound 32 day pregnancy


cattle ultrasound 32 day

Bovine ultrasound 32 day pregnancy


cattle ultrasound 37 day

Bovine Ultrasound 37 day pregnancy


bovine preg check 39 day

Bovine Ultrasound 39 day


preg check cows 40 day

Bovine Ultrasound 40 day pregnancy

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Did you find this article helpful? Do you currently use ultrasound for your cow herd’s pregnancy diagnosis?

ibex ultrasound discount free battery 

Tags: stages of pregnancy, stages of ultrasound, early bovine ultrasound, cattle ultrasound

Bovine Ultrasound; Linear vs. Curved Linear Transducer

Posted by Mia Varra on Tue, May 29, 2012 @ 04:48 PM

written by Kevin McSweeney

International Bovine Training Solutions, http://bovinetraining.com/

 cattle ultrasound

What Type of Transducer Do You Use For Bovine Reproductive Ultrasound?

Even if you have narrowed down your choice of an ultrasound to buy, your decisions might not be over. Usually ultrasounds are sold with many different choices of transducers that you attach to the main unit. The transducer is the thing on the end of the cord that produces and receives the sound waves that bounce off of tissue and structures to give us an image. For reproduction in cattle the usual choice is a linear transducer, which produces a rectangular image.

  6.25Linear NBCKgrdetrusfluid

Ibex ultrasound transducer shown above; L6.2 Linear Transducer (8-5MHz Multi-frequency Transducer)

However, linear transducers are not your only option, nor always the best for cattle reproduction. There is also the curved linear transducer, which produces a pie-shaped image.

 pieshapedcurvedlinearbovine transducer curved linear


 Ibex ultrasound transducer shown above; MC8.0 Micro Convex Transducer (10-6MHz Multi-frequency Transducer)


As I mentioned, historically most people use the straight linear transducer for reproductive work in cattle. Why is this? I think the main reason is precedent and habit.

When ultrasound was first researched in animal agriculture reproduction, it was done by O.J. Ginther at the University of Wisconsin, and the first species studied was horses. Horses have a rectum that can be torn and when that happens, it is extremely life threatening. Take a look at the images of the two different transducers above. The dark grey surfaces on the transducer are where the sound waves come out, and those surfaces need to be pressed flat against the rectal wall to get a good image. If you notice, the curved linear transducer has a shorter surface that is on the end of the transducer, so when you want to get an image you need to point that end into the rectal wall. I think Dr. Ginther wanted to minimize the risk of tearing the rectal wall, and avoided anything that created a more pointed orientation inside the rectum. After researching horses, Dr. Ginther then moved into cattle, and I think they just stuck with the linear transducer, even though the same concerns do not exist for cows. It is much harder to tear the rectal wall in cattle, and in the unfortunate instance that it does happen (which in my 15 years of scanning has only happened once and it was in a heifer with severe diarrhea, and I think a compromised rectal wall), cows are very good at handling those things, and it does not create a life threatening condition.

I originally learned ultrasound using a linear transducer, but this work was mostly done with an Aloka 500 table top machine, mostly inside a chute, which didn’t require the machine to be portable. However, when I started a masters degree after veterinary school it was focused on dairy cattle reproduction and all the scanning needed to take place out in the pens with the cows restrained in lock-ups. This required something portable, but at the time there were not many choices that had the image quality I needed for my work. The one option at the time was the Sonosite 180, which was a machine designed for battlefield medics after the first Persian Gulf War; however, they had no need for a linear transducer and as result made none. They did have a curved linear transducer, and I began to convert over to it. After about a half a morning using it, I was hooked. Since that time Sonosite made a linear transducer for the veterinary market, but I refused to switch back, because I felt the curved linear was the better option. And now, I use an E.I. Medical Ibex, and helped them to develop a curved linear transducer that is very much like the Sonosite transducer that I used before.

dairy cow ultrasound

Why do I like the curved linear better?

1-    It is easier to get better contact with the curved linear than the straight linear. In order to get good images with the ultrasound, you need to have good contact between the transducer surface that is emitting the sound waves and the tissue that it is contacting (in the case of bovine reproduction, it is the rectal wall). The sound waves cannot pass through feces or air very well and will produce very poor images on the screen. The curved linear transducer has a smaller surface that produces the sound waves, so there is less potential space for interference or poor contact. Another thing is the conducting surface is on the end of the transducer, which makes it easier to press into the rectal wall. All you have to do is point, as opposed to the linear, which requires a more broad/flat push to maintain contact with the rectal wall. I find this to be most important for people that are just beginning to learn. They have a very hard time getting good contact between the rectal wall and the linear transducer, and as a result produce very poor images. It is very hard to learn if you cannot see what you are looking at. This ease of attaining good contact also creates much less strain on the arm of the person scanning.  

2-    Fetal sexing is much easier. If you progress to the skill set of fetal sexing, consider a curved linear. Fetal sexing is all about fetal orientation. You need to see certain structures (genital tubercle or genitals) in relation to other structures to be able to confidently determine the sex of the fetus. In order to do this you need to be able to change the position of the fetus to get those images, unless you are extremely lucky, and the fetus is always in the right position. In that case you need to quickly book a flight to Las Vegas and start playing the slots. But for most of us, this will not be the case, and we will find the fetus in a position that does not lend itself to determining the sex. To change the position of this fetus requires drastic hand movements with a linear transducer, but with the curved linear, it is just a simple twist of the transducer since the sound waves are emitted from the end. You will be able to attain the position you want much faster and with less arm strain using the curved linear.

3-    You will only need one transducer if you are a mixed animal veterinary practice. Since the curved linear is preferable for any abdominal work, you will only need to purchase the one transducer, saving thousands of dollars for your practice.

One last thing to consider when choosing a transducer is the megahertz (MHz) of the transducer. The megahertz is essentially the frequency of the sound waves, and determines the depth at which you will scan things. Most transducers sold range from 2-15 MHz, with the lower number being able to penetrate much deeper/further. Historically, bovine reproduction has mostly used 5 MHz, but it is nice to have options. If you are scanning a cow that has a very deep uterus and you can’t quite reach the fetus, it is nice to have a lower MHz transducer to give you a few more inches. In the past, if you wanted to change your megahertz you would have to buy another transducer, but now they make transducers that scan constantly in a range of megahertz. These are called broad bandwidth transducers, and they allow you to instantly change the depth that you want to scan. These are by far the best option when you are using an ultrasound. Make sure the range of megahertz is the range you want to scan.


Interested in more bovine ultrasound training? Click here to see upcoming courses at E.I. Medical Imaging or contact International Bovine Training Solutions for customized training to meet your needs.

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Tags: cattle ultrasound, Bovine ultrasound, best transducer for bovine ultrasound, transducer for cattle ultrasound

IBEX Makes Cattle Ultrasound Pregnancy Checking Quick and Easy

Posted by Mia Varra on Thu, May 10, 2012 @ 05:00 PM


By: Hilary Parker 

 cattle ultrasound, dairy ultrasound, dairy palpation

Ask any of E.I. Medical Imaging’s customers and they’ll tell you that they would never go back to palpating after bringing the IBEX reproductive ultrasound tool on board. Not only is palpating hard on their body and far less accurate, it also doesn’t give them all of the information that the IBEX can provide.

Dairying is an industry with a tight enough margin; producers need all of the help they can get to maintain a profit. That’s what the IBEX does best: It gives them the information they need to make decisions that affect their bottom line.

palpate cows, pregnancy check cows

In addition to bovine ultrasound pregnancy and timed breeding checks, veterinarians and producers rely on the IBEX to diagnose abdominal abnormalities. This means they can better time their artificial insemination round based on whether and when the animal is open. It also allows them to identify those animals that are not suited for breeding, saving time, money and effort. And the IBEX allows vets and producers to identify the stages of pregnancy each animal is experiencing — whether in the barn or in the field. But the machine’s ruggedness, long battery life and well-thought-out accessories are what separate the IBEX and IBEX Lite from the competition.




Simply put, the IBEX’s cow ultrasounds provide vets and producers with the information they need to troubleshoot management issues that affect animal health — and, ultimately, a higher conception rate and stronger bottom line.

If you’re currently using an IBEX, please leave a story below about the time and money it has saved you, your clients or your operation!



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Tags: palpation or ultrasound, cattle ultrasound, benefits of bovine ultrasound

Favorite Ibex Portable Bovine Ultrasound Images

Posted by Mia Varra on Wed, Aug 11, 2010 @ 03:40 PM

The staff at E.I. Medical Imaging has selected their top picks and favorite Ibex bovine ultrasound images this month. In the staff selections below you will see bovine ultrasound images at all different stages of pregnancy as well as bovine ovary images, cysts, CL (corpus Luteum), twins and more. Submit your best Ibex bovine images and maybe your image will be selected next month. Good luck.

 describe the image

 40 Day Bovine Pregnancy, four legs and amnion. Image taken with the Ibex ultrasound system and  Micro Convex 8.0MHz multi-frequency transducer.

43 day bovine twins


43 Day Bovine Twins. Image taken with the Ibex Portable Ultrasound system and the MC8.0MHz transducer. 

 45 day twins bovine w 6 10MHz Micro Convex


45 Day Bovine Twins. Image taken with the Ibex ultrasound system and the MC8.0MHz transducer 

53 day bovine fetus 7.5MHz

 53 day bovine fetus. Image taken with the L6.2MHz linear transducer.

100+ day bull w muscle groups hind legs


100+ Day Bovine "Bull" showing muscle groups in hind legs. Image taken with the Ibex Lite and L6.2Mhz linear transducer.


Bovine female full body

Bovine "Heifer" fetus showing full body. Image taken with the Ibex Pro and MC 8.0Mhz transducer.

Bovine Follicle & CL 6 10MHz

Bovine follicle and CL. Image taken with the Ibex Lite and MC8.0MHz transducer.

Cystic bovine CL w 6 10MHz

Bovine Cystic CL. Image taken with the Ibex Pro and MC8.0MHz transducer.

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Tags: cattle ultrasound, Bovine ultrasound, Bovine ultrasound images, best portable bovine ultrasound images, cattle ultrasound images, livestock ultrasound, bovine veterinary ultrasound

Why Bovine Ultrasound?

Posted by Mia Varra on Fri, May 28, 2010 @ 10:36 AM

By: Jill Colloton, DVM Bovine Services, LLC


Pregnancy vs. Open Diagnosis 

Accomplished ultrasonographers can determine pregnant versus open status with excellent accuracy as early as 27 days in cows and 26 days in heifers (Romano, 2006)

27  Day Pregnancy

27 Day Bovine Pregnancy

Ovarian Diagnosis

Palpation is less than 80% accurate for accurate diagnosis of normal ovarian structures.  For diagnosis of cystic ovarian conditions palpation is only from 10% (Stevenson) to 50% (Lievaart) accurate.  Ultrasound can approach 100% for identification of a corpus luteum.  Correct diagnosis of ovarian structures is particularly important to maximize the effectiveness of synchronization programs.

 Mature Follicle with CL

Fluid filled CL.  The thin wall would make it easy to misdiagnose this structure as a follicular cyst on palpatiation

Note the very thin outer walls and irregular shapes of these follicular cysts

Uterine Pathology

Ultrasound can assess the quality of intra-uterine fluid - purulence vs. mucous.  It can also detect very small amounts of fluid that would not be palpable in subclinical metritis cases.  In clinical cases it can determine if the discharge is due to metriris or vaginitis.

Note the clear mucous in the lumen of the uterus on the left side of the screen and the 18mm follicle on the right side.

 Note the flocculence representing purulent material in the lumen of the uterus.  Although in heat this cow would clearly not be fertile.  On palpation this uterus would feel identical to the previous image of a normal uterus.

Fetal Viability

Fetal remnants and placental membranes can remain in utero weeks to months after fetal death (Ginther), creating a false positive diagnosis of pregnancy by palpation.  Lack of fetal viability is readily apparent with ultrasonography.

In this 54 day twin pregnancy the amount of fluid and the size of the amnions is perfectly normal.  However, the flocculence in the amniotic fluid, the lack of heartbeats, and the lack of form in the fetuses confirm fetal death.

Note the extreme flocculence in the pregnancy fluids and the degradation of the dead fetus.  On palpation there would still be cardinal signs of pregnancy, including a membrane slip.

Twin Diagnosis

Skilled ultrasonographers can diagnose more than 90% of twin cases if cows are examined before 100 days in gestation.  Diagnosis of twin pregnancies in the same uterine horn is particularly important due to the high rate of embryonic and fetal loss for unilateral twins (Lopez-Gatius)

Normal bilateral twins at 39 days.

Fetal Sexing

Male fetus at 70 days.  Note the umbilicus at 9:00 and the bright white male genital tubercle just below it at the junction of the umbilicus and body wall.


 Knowing fetal gender is important to producers for cull decisions, marketing decisions, peripartum monitoring, and calf management decisions.

Femal fetus at 65 days.  The perineal area with a cross section of the tail and the bi-lobed female gential tubercle is on the left of the screen.  The tarsi and cloven hooves are well-delineated on the right of the screen.


Fetal Anomalies

Though rare, fetal anomalies such as schistosomus reflexus, multiple heads, fetal ascites, and extreme arthrogryposis are devastating if allowed to go to term.  Ultrasound, particularly at the stage for fetal sexing, can often identify these anomalies much earlier. 

Two-headed fetus.  Fetal anomalies are most often noticed during fetal sexing examinations.

For more bovine ultrasound imagesand cine loop videos by Dr. Colloton and other respected bovine ultrasound practitioner please visit www.eimedical.com. For more information on durable, water- resistant, portable cattle ultrasound equipment the Ibex Pro and Ibex Lite or call toll free 1.866.365.6596 * 970.669.1793

Click Here For A Free  Ibex Portable Ultrasound Demo

Tags: cattle ultrasound, durable ultrasound, why bovine ultrasound, benefits of bovine ultrasound, cow ultrasound, dairy ultrasound, fetal sexing ultrasound, twin diagnosis ultrasound, metritis ultrasound, water resistant portable ultrasound

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