Sunday, January 24, 2010

can a person be too well informed?

a few months back we took our heifer to rendezvous with a bull.

we had calculated her cycles and made sure that she'd be with the bull during our best guess at standing-heat. she stayed for over a week to be sure. we are really good at second guessing ourselves in these matters. so for the past two months we have had the question looming "is jocelyn pregnant?"

we use a method called bio-tracking to check for cattle pregnancy. this method can test for for pregnancy in goats, sheep, elk, horses, bison, and deer as well. you have to take blood from the animal but that is only mildly traumatic. they send a kit of vacutainers and some double sided needles. don't use the vacutainer part of the method described unless you are a trained vet or phlebotomist.

we used the tail vein. there are instructions that anyone can follow on their site. after a small trial we learned that a simple syringe can be used to draw the blood, instead of directly using the vacutainer and double needle. this is easier for the novice since you get more than one shot at the vein. the syringe can then transfer the blood to the vacutainer and ready for shipping. this is a real trick and should be marked if you might attempt to use bio-tracking.

after a few more days of wringing our hands the results came in last night by email on a saturday. she is pregnant. hooray we are so happy. but the numbers seemed a little high. well, really quite high. tabitha did some further reading and discovered that she is likely with twins. we are tentative about this to say the least. so back to my original question, can a person be too well informed?

what should have been a joyous sigh of relief still presents a looming question. "will she have complications delivering twins?"


Ed said...

Congratulations! Funny how much science has progressed. I remember using a hand held ultrasound like device on our hogs back in the day but it probably gave us as many false-positives as it did real-positives. Eventually we just quit using it and weeded them out in a month when it became visually obvious. Of course we weren't "real" farmers since we lost a cycle and thus money.

feebeeglee said...

Oh for Pete's sake!

Jessika said...

You used to have a bull calf, is it possible he bred her and she is farther along? Also, I have had the biotracking numbers vary WILDLY from one bovine to the next at the same exact stage of gestation. Gale, due on Feb 2nd, had numbers that might of suggested twins. I'll let you know how it turns out for her. Did you call the folks at biotracking?

tabitha said...

Jessika- we already mulled this over. He was castrated in May, which would mean she would be due now, and she is a normal heifer with no udder development at all.

Even if somehow the castration didn't work and he bred her stealth-like, we charted serious heats every 21 days like clockwork, and they came to an abrupt end as soon as she was bred.

We aren't sure what to think, maybe if she gets really bigger than we expect we'll send another sample, but there is nothing we can do either way but wait. I hope it is not twins. We didn't call them but read the literature associated with the report. Numbers don't correlate to months bred (nor can you compare 2 cows' numbers across the board), but as they say extraordinarily high numbers are a good reason to suspect twins, as very low numbers at the end of pregnancy are bad news, too.

She is 60 days bred with .7155 - normally it would read .2, .3

Finding me said...

you never know though, you aren't supposed to be able to test positive w/ a normal pregnancy test for humans super early, but I got a solid positive on one of those digital tests when I was 10 days before AF....and no, I knew exactally when I got only have sex once in kinda know!

he was as BIG as two babies, but just the one in there ;)

I tested super early with first baby too, not quite as (like 3-4 days before AF was due) but still very early. some people have very very high hormone levels, and i assume cows do too!

maybe you will have 2, or maybe just one big healthy baby!

I always tested very early, showed very late, had almost no pregnancy symptoms except hip pain, and probably produced as much milk as a cow!
maybe the same will be true for your heifer! maybe she'll be extra milky. lol.

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