Use of ultrasound imaging has become an important tool for farmers and livestock owners over the last few decades. Livestock such as cows, sheep, pigs and goats can be difficult to treat in more ordinary veterinary circumstances and often require treatments and procedures to be carried out in a barn. Ultrasound machines are portable and can be used to diagnose a number of common issues, including blockages in the digestive system, inflammation of tissues (such as arthritis), blood clots and more.

Pregnancy management

By far the most common use for ultrasound imaging in livestock is in the management of pregnancy. With lambing and calving season well underway for 2020, breeding for the 2021 stock won't happen until later in the autumn, but it's never too late to start planning and to understand the benefits.

Sheep

Ultrasound is particularly useful for sheep and cows as it can detect how many babies the mother is carrying. In sheep, this can help with estimating flock numbers and ensuring that mothers carrying twins, triplets or potentially more are kept under close watch and given the right amount of feed over the winter. It can also help farmers monitor the progress of the lambs if they are perhaps trying to breed a rare breed of sheep and are keen to ensure the best outcome of many healthy lambs.

Cattle

In cattle, twins are much rarer (around 1 in every 200 births will be a set of twins, whereas twins are the most common type of birth in sheep), and the risks are much higher for the mother and the calves. If a cow scans positive for twins, she will need to have extra care, particularly when it comes to giving birth. Monitoring her throughout the pregnancy to ensure the survival of both calves is advised.

Being able to predict how many new animals will be joining your flock or herd the following year is an important part of livestock management. Equally essential, it can also help with planning finances for the following year. Investing in ultrasound imaging can benefit animals and businesses in a multitude of ways, and help get the littles ones off to a great start in life.

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