New rapid pregnancy test technology

Livestock farmers in Kenya can now easily confirm pregnancy in cows, following the introduction of a new rapid pregnancy test technology.

The advanced “RapidVisual Pregnancy Test” enables dairy and beef producers to establish whether their animals have conceived or not, just 28 days after insemination.

The new blood pregnancy test, a simple technology that uses a blood sample obtained from the tail of the animal, takes only 21 minutes to determine the status, making pregnancy detection easier, faster and more accurate. It can be run in a laboratory, veterinary clinic, side laboratory or on a busy dairy farm.

“After 45 days, you can use the rectal palpation to check if the pregnancy is still there because the animals can also lose pregnancy or suffer from early embryonic death,” said Lancet Pathologists’ head of Veterinary Services and Veterinary Pathologist, Dr Dhaval N. Shahto.

The test has been described as a game changer in reproductive management of livestock. Dr Ahmed Kalebi, a consult- ant pathologist and CEO of Lance Group of Labs, which introduced the technology in Kenya, said: “The new test reduces the days a cow is un- productive by early detection after insemination, within four instead of six weeks with conventional methods, so that they can be synchronised for a repeat insemination.”

Traditionally, veterinary professionals have practised rectal palpation, in which a hand and forearm is inserted through the rectum to feel for the womb.

This way, pregnancy can only be detected 40 to 45 days after insemination by a highly experienced veterinarian. This means that failed conception cannot be established until six to seven weeks post-breeding.

“This exciting point-of-care rap- id test has been shown to save live- stock farmers weeks and months of waiting to know if their livestock has conceived or not after insemination,” Dr Kalebi added. “It allows farmers to decide in  good time whether or not to re- inseminate their cows, or check for  possible health problems preventing pregnancy or to sell them to  save the costs of maintaining un- productive animals.”

Identifying non-pregnant cows early and accurately after insemination and calving means shorter calving intervals, he stated, increased milk production, increased reproductive efficiency, and better profits.

Previous testing for pregnancy in  cows relied on testing levels of progesterone and estrogen hormones,  but these levels were not specific  to pregnancy and thus unreliable,  therefore, not favoured by the live- stock industry.

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