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Ultrasonographic examination of pregnant ewes: From early diagnosis of pregnancy to early prediction of dystocia

Barbagianni, M.S., Ioannidi, K.I., Vasileiou, N.G.C., Mavrogianni, V.S., Orfanou, D.C., Fthenakis, G.C., Valasi, I.
Small ruminant research 2017 v.152 pp. 41-55
dystocia, early diagnosis, ewes, fetus, flocks, monitoring, prediction, pregnancy, pregnancy diagnosis, pregnancy toxemia, progeny, ultrasonography, veterinarians, viability
Ultrasonographic examination has been established as the most valuable method for early and accurate pregnancy diagnosis in ewes. Early and accurate diagnosis of pregnancy is particularly useful for correct health management of flocks during gestation. It is also important to study pregnancy processes and foetal development with a non-invasive method, as ultrasonographic examination, because various events might affect normal development of foetus and viability of offspring. Evaluation of normal physiological pregnancy progress and outcome, as well as pregnancy disorders and peri-parturient disorders are significant in sheep health management. Hence, ability to perform pregnancy diagnosis and to identify common pathological conditions of pregnant ewes is of importance to clinicians active in sheep practice. Further, monitoring of foetal growth during pregnancy is useful for those working with sheep. Moreover, various disorders of pregnant ewes (e.g., pregnancy toxaemia) can lead to dystocia and it would be beneficial to predict such cases, if any of these disorders has been diagnosed. In all the above circumstances, ultrasonographic examination can support the veterinarian in reaching a diagnosis and in taking decisions for management of each situation.