Donor Cow Set-Up
by Troy Smith for Angus Productions Inc.
NASHVILLE, TENN. (Aug. 6, 2010) — When embryo transfer first came into practice, the only way to set up donor cows was by natural heat detection, or the use of prostaglandin injection to synchronize a group of donor cows together. That was difficult, said veterinarian Tony Greer, during the Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle (ARSBC) Conference Aug. 6 in Nashville, Tenn. Greer is associated with Large Animal Services of East Tennessee, Greenville, a veterinary practice offering embryo transfer (ET) services.
According to Greer, development of progestin delivery devices has made it possible to synchronize multiple donors. However, effective administration of donor cow set-up protocols requires an understanding of the estrous cycle and follicular waves.
Greer said he and his associates flush donor cows at their clinic, but also on clients’ farms. For ET to be successful, donor cow set-up procedures must be user-friendly, so clients can synchronize donors. That allows Greer and associates to spend only one day a month on ET procedures. Clients are provided with appropriate drugs and instruction for donor set-up.
Greer said three basic protocols are used to set up donor cows. Each involves doses of exogenous follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) to elicit follicular wave emergence. By far the most used protocol utilizes the CIDR® to deliver progestin, along with gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) injection, and prostaglandin injection when CIDRs are pulled to set donors up for flush on Day 16.
Regardless of the choice of protocol, Greer said, “recordkeeping is very important, including records of protocols used, and protocols must be followed precisely.”
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