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Influence of practitioner expertise during early pregnancy diagnosis on pregnancy loss rate: A controlled, blinded trial

Patron, R, López‐Helguera, I, Sebastián, F, Pesantez‐Pacheco, J‐L, Pérez‐Villalobos, N, Vicente González Martín, J, Fargas, O, Astiz, S
Reproduction in domestic animals 2017 v.52 no.6 pp. 1145-1148
artificial insemination, cows, dairy farming, farms, field experimentation, pregnancy, pregnancy diagnosis, risk, scanners, veterinarians
A controlled field trial was conducted to assess the potential influence of practitioner inexperience during early pregnancy diagnosis with ultrasound (PD‐US) on the risk of pregnancy loss. A veterinarian with more than 10 years’ experience in PD‐US (Vet‐A) and a veterinarian with fewer than 12 months’ experience at the start of the study (Vet‐B) visited the same dairy farm once a week for 33 and 26 weeks, respectively. The two veterinarians did not interact with each other at any time during the study, nor did they know that their data would later be used in this study. Using the same farm scanner, they performed PD‐US at 28–34 day after breeding, together diagnosing 915 pregnancies. All cows were re‐checked at 49–56 day after artificial insemination, and cows no longer pregnant were recorded as having suffered pregnancy loss. Although Vet‐A and Vet‐B diagnosed a similar proportion of pregnancies (58.44 ± 16% vs 56.96 ± 18%, p > .05), the rate of pregnancy loss was significantly higher among cows diagnosed by Vet‐B (10.41 ± 11.2% vs 4.87 ± 9.0, p = .029). In addition, among cows diagnosed by Vet‐B, the rate of pregnancy loss was significantly higher among cows diagnosed, while he had fewer than 12 months’ PD‐US experience (11.17 ± 12.14%) than among cows that he diagnosed later (7.14 ± 11.01%, p = .038); in fact, this latter loss rate was comparable to that among cows diagnosed by Vet‐A during the same period (3.51 ± 9.83%, p = .620). These results suggest that inexperience with PD‐US during the late embryonic period can increase risk of early pregnancy loss, supporting the need for proper training.