Dr Joey Rheinberger BVSc MANZCVS
Many farms already use pregnancy diagnosis as an integral part of their management practices. Pregnancy diagnosis may be performed using rectal palpation or transrectal ultrasound either with a hand held ultrasound device or a probe mounted on an introducer. Many farmers are now also taking advantage of the ability to have early pregnancy testing done at 6 weeks after mating.
The advantages of these two forms of pregnancy diagnosis is that the farmer receives an immediate (cow-side) and very accurate result that can enable them to make informed decisions with the veterinarian
about the animal in question. Pregnant animals can be recorded with dry off dates allocated to them and the animals can then be managed through transition cow diets as needed.
The benefits of an early pregnancy test approximately 6 weeks after the mating start date include more accurate dates and therefore more accurate information regarding whether the animal has conceived to a valuable AI sire or natural service. This can be very beneficial in planning
and budgeting for the heifer replacements the following year.
Early pregnancy diagnosis will also give more accurate dates for dry off and the animals found to be empty early on in the mating period can be reprogrammed for a shortened cycle to try and get them in calf before the end of the mating period. It is also more accurate in diagnosing twins so cows carrying twins can be managed accordingly and if necessary intervention can be established in a timely fashion.