"If you review efficiency trendlines and reductions in carbon footprint over the past 20 years in the pork industry, you can’t help but be excited by the strides we’ve made. Unfortunately, with the pandemic turning our world upside down, we now have to put the brakes on production and restrict performance of live animals as processing plants are slowed or halted...." Pig Health Today and Joseph F. Connor
"There are several reproductive technologies that enable livestock breeders to produce more high-quality offspring and/or extend the genetics of valuable animals. Artificial insemination, frozen semen, embryo transfer, etc have become relatively commonplace among seed-stock breeders..." -Heather Smith Thomas
"Why can I check my mare in foal at 14 days, but I can not check my cows until 35 days and after? Is there some trick I am missing when I preg-checking my cows?
Signed: Confused mind
"The development of equipment for ultrasonography in the last decades has allowed to check mares as early as day 10 after ovulation for pregnancy diagnosis. Particularly, the spherical shape of the equine embryonic vesicle is well documented, attributed to the glycoprotein capsule that surrounds the vesicle.The capsule provides resilience to the embryo during the intrauterine mobility phase, which is necessary for the maternal recognition of pregnancy. The presence of the capsule, the embryonic spherical shape and the increase of the uterine tone favor the ultrasonographic visualization of the newly embryonic-vesicle. In practice, mares are routinely examined by transrectal ultrasonography for pregnancy at 14 or 16 days after ovulation with high accuracy, and consistently checked for early embryo losses. In the other hand, an expert by transrectal ultrasonography can visualize as early as day 21 after insemination the heartbeat of a bovine embryo, but with low sensitivity and specificity. Studies in bison and cows have shown that pregnancy diagnosis between days 21 and 25 after breeding has 44.8% sensitivity and 82.3% specificity, which further increase to 97.7%and 87.7%, respectively, between 26 and 33 days after breeding. The same for lactating dairy cows, whereas the sensitivity and specificity of pregnancy diagnosis were 96% and 97% respectively, from 28 to 35 days after breeding based on ultrasonographic detection of uterine fluid and embryonic membranes."
Signed: The Expert
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Fun question Curious Breeder. And the answer is field work versus lab work!
When doing a BSE (breeding soundness exam) your veterinarian must examine the sperm in a microscope in conditions that are less than ideal. And generally he/she is just looking for a pass or fail criteria.
We go 3 steps beyond the field. We bring the samples into our laboratory then assess motility using a computer assisted sperm analyzer – a fancy name for a machine that tells us so much more than a visual motility. We also analyze for those factors that can’t be seen visually…the DNA, the membrane, the acrosome and the fluidity of the membrane. We can’t see these things but they all impact fertility!
And you know, if we identify a problem, there are steps that you might be able to take to improve fertility!
Well, Ms. Mind the answer is a little harsh. Animals in the wild obviously don’t have the benefit of veterinarian care and they are also naturally selected for reproductive ease. A female that doesn’t have reproductive fitness in the wild doesn’t pass on her genetics. Thus, only animals that can reproduce with ease will contribute to the next generation resulting in a population of fit animals. Depending on the species you are referencing, many have evolved mechanisms that increases the likelihood of producing offspring such as multiple rounds of the estrus cycle during the breeding season allowing them mating opportunities with a variety of different males. The problem we see in our domestics is that we take away the natural selection and traits of interest become our focus. This is not true for all domestic animals but dogs and horses are a great example of this.