FAQs from our recent Bovine webinar

Missed the opportunity to ask questions on our Bovine webinar last month? We have collated the most common questions for our host, Ben, together for you!

Our webinar was focused on;

  • Effective management of reproduction on cattle farms being key to the farm's economic success

  • Learn how to maximize pregnancy rates on farm

Bovine webinar

Within this, the topics covered included fetal ageing and assessing for viability as well as looking at equipment requirements for ultrasound that you are going to use on farm.

If you’d like to view the webinar now, it is available for free on our website here.

Frequently Asked Questions;

  1. What is the earliest day a pregnancy check (if not day 28) can be done safely to ensure the pregnancy with heartbeat appearance? (Based on your experience).

I found that using a calendar month (i.e. 30/31 days, being careful about February!) made life easy on-farm from a logistics point of view. (i.e. If an animal was served on 15th, it could be scanned on 15th of the following month) That also resulted in maximum accuracy of scanning (i.e. accuracy didn’t get any higher after this time), and a heartbeat could be guaranteed to be visible if the fetus was alive. (i.e. If the heartbeat was absent then I was comfortable to confirm that the fetus had died.)

  1. So, when we should perform pregnancy check earlier (rather than 28 day) that can give us precise pregnancy information?

My personal feeling is that there’s little point doing a pregnancy check before you can be sure that, at that check, you’ll be able to assess fetal viability (i.e. observe a heartbeat), so I’d refer you to my point above. I didn’t deal with herds using ET, and I worked in practices whose clients were quite geographically spread out, so doing multiple examinations per cow was impractical. If you’re working for just one farm, or your clients’ farms are fairly close by, then earlier exams may have merit, but that wasn’t my personal experience. I would stick to a single exam as described above.

  1. Is It necessary to remove all faeces before scanning or we can confirm pregnancy without removing faeces?

It is certainly possible to perform rectal ultrasound exams without removing faeces, but if you do it’s important to be able to get good contact between the (ventral) rectal wall and the ultrasound transducer face without faecal material getting in the way. If there’s any faecal material in the way at all, you’ll get a significant reduction in image quality, which can make the technique difficult and inaccurate. Therefore, my personal preference is to remove the faeces. Vets who argue against removal of the faeces do so on the grounds that air can be introduced into the rectum and getting air between the rectal wall and the transducer can also make the image quality very poor. In addition, a gas-filled rectum is usually quite difficult to manipulate, so it can make things harder. Ultimately, you have to find which technique works best for you.

  1. How to differentiate between mucometra and pyometra?

Mucometra isn’t something we see much at all in the UK and I’ve never personally scanned an animal suffering from mucometra. However, my understanding is that the mucus in the uterus is very watery, and as such will be mostly anechoic on ultrasound exam, whereas in cases of pyometra (which are seen relatively commonly in the UK) the material in the uterus is highly cellular and therefore echogenic. The appearance is of a largely homogenous, ‘granular’ appearance, with moderate echogenicity.

  1. Is it true that we want as high frequency as it is possible to have the best image in our machine?

The answer is that you want to use the highest frequency possible that allows you to see deep enough into the tissue to see the structures you’re interested in. The bit in bold is critical – higher frequencies give better axial resolution, but at the cost of depth of penetration. It’s no good being able to see the first 1cm of tissue under your probe at great resolution if the structure you’re trying to image sits 10cm from the probe! In that case you have to sacrifice some resolution (frequency) to achieve the necessary tissue penetration.

Watched the webinar and have further questions? Submit them to;


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