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E.I. Medical Imaging Portable Ultrasound Solution Blog

3 Reasons To Use Portable Ultrasound Over Blood Testing

Posted by Jim Turner on Wed, Jul 24, 2013 @ 04:00 AM

By Hilary Parker 

Managing Your HerdAre you still sitting on the fence, trying to decide whether to invest in an IBEX® portable ultrasound? Fertility Management is about timing and decision making.  Proper management techniques can ultimiately save a farm or dairy operation money. Can you make decisions with inaccurate information or untimely information?

Many fertility managers use blood testing for for their management of their herd.  We want to provide a better alternative or solution to blood testing your animals.  If you do any fertility management work on farms, you should think about the following three reasons ultrasounds are superior to blood tests.

1. Ultrasound saves time: Using ultrasound lets vets and producers know if a cow is open or pregnant at the earliest possible moment. The IBEX® is a highly-accurate tool for diagnosing pregnancy as early as 25 days after breeding. Getting results from a blood test can be very slow (testing results can take up to five days). That leaves plenty of time for a producer to unwittingly sell a bred heifer or miss the breeding window of an open one. With blood test results arriving days after the sample is collected, there may be a second time to handle cattle required due to the results. This causes additional time and stress to the cattle.

2. Ultrasound saves money: Knowing what you need to know about a cow’s breeding status as early as possible means that the vet or producer may make decisions about breeding or culling immediately, rather than wasting money feeding and even vaccinating an animal that is ready to go to market.

3. Ultrasound makes herd management decisions easier: It also can alert managers to multiples, fetal viability and other reproductive tract conditions, enabling them to make decisions about the animal’s breeding potential.

Simply put, there are no substitutes for ultrasound. But don’t just take our word for it — ask Jill Colloton, DVM, Bovine Services LLC, in Edgar, Wisconsin. She states:

“With ultrasound, they get much more information for the same price — twins, fetal gender, ovarian diagnosis, pathology diagnosis, fetal anomalies, etc. — plus the convenience of less cow handling".


For example, Colloton notes that she can use her ultrasound to quickly find 95 percent of twins vs. around 50 percent for palpation.

Ultrasound also is superior when calculating fetal age, she says.

“Ultrasound measures the fetus itself rather than just the fluid in the amniotic sac,” Colloton adds. “Fetal size is very consistent amongst breeds and does not vary seasonally. The amount of fluid can vary considerably between animals, even of the same breed, and is reduced during hot weather.”

Then there’s its advantage when diagnosing reproductive problems.

“Subclinical metritis, differentiating tumors from abscesses, vaginitis, etc., are all much easier to diagnose with ultrasound,” she says. “In addition, severe fetal anomalies like schistosomous reflexus, large umbilical hernias, water belly, fetal anasarca, etc., are often identifiable when fetal sexing is done between 55-90 days of gestation.”

Of course, ultrasound is critical for identifying corpora lutea, or CLs, on embryo recipients, she adds.

“At 7 days post-heat, CLs, particularly in heifers, are small and soft so are very easy to miss by palpation,” Colloton says. “Hence, with ultrasound, we reject far fewer recipients, saving the expense of carrying them for more days than necessary.”

Not to mention determining fetal gender.

“My commercial clients use this information for cull decisions on marginal cows,” she says. “Registered breeders use it for marketing and planning.”

Colloton notes that her clients are thrilled to have her visit their farms.

“The veterinarian is actually a pretty cheap ‘employee’ because we show up only when needed, aren’t on payroll, aren’t likely to quit, have already been trained, can do accurate exams quickly and have the knowledge about anatomy, physiology and current reproductive research to provide the most ‘bang for the buck,’” she adds.


Click Here For A Free  Ibex Portable Ultrasound Demo


Tags: fetal sexing cows, purchase veterinary ultrasound, fertility, fetal sexing ultrasound, veterinary ultrasound, veterinary practice tips, Ibex Ultrasound, herd management

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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