As someone who works for an ultrasound company, I often get asked, “So, how do I use this thing?” Well, there are a couple of different types of people in this world. Those who take the ultrasound out of the box, press power, and never look back. And those who read the emails we send, look at the videos, study the manual and then call with questions. Both are great—it just depends on what you want to do with your ultrasound.
At our training courses, I hear the frustration and the desire to become more accurate at fetal aging constantly. It’s that time of year…time to preg-check and time to hear if your calls last year were accurate. Fetal aging can be a challenge depending on the situation. I did a course with Dr. Jerry Roush (Springmill Vet) a while back. He phrased it beautifully (and my paraphrasing will not do it justice) Successful fetal aging=a little bit of skill and a lot of client education and managing of client expectations.
Our ultrasounds are very durable. But, sometimes, there are forces outside of your control. How do you know when to send in your machine? There are a couple of key indicators that mean you should get your ultrasound checked out! Stop Drop Roll Lightning Bolts They appear on your image while you are ultrasounding. This is indicative of a greater problem and if dealt with early on, it could be a less expensive repair!
Fetal aging is a great service for clients. There are many uses for this information: calving groups, sale barn sorts, a measure of bull performance, etc. Fetal aging heifers in the 35 to 85 days post-breeding window can be very accurate. As pregnancy progresses and cow size increases, there are greater challenges that affect accuracy. In mid-gestation, it is often difficult to visualize the fetus within the ultrasound image. Large frame and older cows add to this challenge.
Fetal gender determination is all about training your eye. This video will walk you through the basics of fetal sexing.
Curious about ovarian structures? Check out this video of some bovine ovaries!
Becoming a good ultrasounder is all about reading the details amidst the shades of grey. Training your eye to know what “normal” is, will be quite helpful. If you learn what a standard or normal image looks like, you will be able to determine a variation. Ultrasounding takes some effort to learn. The natural progression is pregnant/open determinationàfetal agingàfetal sexing and detailed ovarian exams. Confirming pregnancies is simple and can be learned quite quickly for most.
Pregchecking is an important tool to manage your herd efficiently. There are multiple ways to determine the pregnancy status of an animal: wait and see, palpate, draw blood and ultrasound. As in many facets of the cattle industry, there is not a one size fits all solution. Most of us are addressing the questions, “Am I feeding open cattle?” and, “How do I determine which are my most productive animals?”. Ultrasound technology helps answer these questions.
Becoming a good ultrasounder is all about reading the details amidst the shades of grey. Training your eye to know what “normal” is, will be quite helpful. If you learn what a standard or normal image looks like, you will be able to quickly pick up anything that is outside of that. A great illustration of this was in a group of heifers the other day: they were all between 60 and 120 days along.
Safety at the Chute during Pregnancy Testing – This includes your personal safety! Working cattle is always a challenge. This challenge should focus on quality of work rather than speed. Quality work includes accurate pregnancy testing, safe and efficient handling of the cattle and no injuries! Sometimes the injuries are chronic in nature and only the person that wakes up the next day with a sore shoulder or back knows that the injury has occurred or that an old injury has flared up again.