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Field ultrasound evaluation of some gestational parameters in jennies

Nervo, Tiziana, Bertero, Alessia, Poletto, Mariagrazia, Pregel, Paola, Leone, Roberta, Toffoli, Valentina, Vincenti, Leila
Theriogenology 2019 v.126 pp. 95-105
abdomen, asses, body weight, breeding season, breeds, conception, crossbreds, descriptive statistics, edema, fetal development, fetus, gender, gestational age, gonads, heart rate, monitoring, ovulation, parturition, pregnancy, thorax, umbilical arteries, velocimetry
The aim of this study was to collect and analyze ultrasound measurements of fetal-maternal structures during normal and pathological pregnancies in jennies, a livestock species of growing interest. For two breeding seasons, 38 jennies of different breeds and crossbreeds aged between 3 and 18 years were monitored weekly by transrectal examination using a portable Esaote ultrasound (MyLab™ 30 GOLD VET) with a 5–7.5 MHz probe. The jennies were divided into two groups, < 250 kg and >250 kg body weight, and the dates of conception and parturition/abortion were recorded to calculate pregnancy length. Descriptive statistics were performed for the following variables: pregnancy length and maternal-fetal parameters (measurements of the orbit, gastric bubble, thorax, abdomen, gonads, heart rate, umbilical artery velocimetry, and combined utero-placental thickness). A total of 68 pregnancies were studied, 36 of which ended during the study period. The average pregnancy length was 370.82 ± 16.6 days for full-term pregnancies (N = 28, 77.8%) and 316.13 ± 36.6 days for abortions (N = 8, 22.2%). The season of conception and fetal gender did not affect the pregnancy length. Pregnancy examination can reasonably be performed by two weeks after last service if ovulation date is not known. The orbital diameter was the most reliable parameter for monitoring the physiological development of the embryo and fetus, and it was strongly related to the gestational age. No differences in fetal development were observed in relation to the mother's body weight. The combined utero-placental thickness was not associated with the gestational age and thickening and edema, frequently observed, were not associated with fetal pathologies.