Bovine in vitro embryo production – What happens after OPU?

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Published on: September 26, 2017

AETA Practice Tip

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Published on: September 26, 2017

By Marianna Jahnke and Dr. Tyler Dohlman, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University

Who has not gotten frustrated with a straw exploding or issues with loading a direct transfer 0.25-cc straw? Last year we had some problems with the yellow 0.25-cc DT straws that are commercially sterilized and repackaged in groups. We had a few straws exploding, and within those straws we noticed that the cotton plugs and the PVC were separating during the loading process. As we were pulling the last column of ethylene glycol, the ethylene glycol kept going through the cotton plugs into the syringe as seen on the images. As we all have been trained and continue to train others, it is important to make sure fluid penetrates the PVC and cotton plugs in order to create a good seal to the straw. With this issue, our concerns were that the straws were not sealing properly, leaving them at an increased risk of exploding during the thawing process or even potentially allowing liquid nitrogen to enter the straw. This is probably not new information to some of you who have been in the industry for some time and it probably has been discussed over the years, but this was our first major straw issue. In addition, we have noticed other straws from other ET practitioners that seem to be doing the same thing, with a cotton plug being exposed at the end of the straw or gone completely.

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Evidence-based ET: Is the exposure time of bovine embryos to ethylene glycol (EG) prior to freezing and/or after thawing critical to survival?

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Published on: September 26, 2017

Is the exposure time of bovine embryos to ethylene glycol (EG) prior to freezing and/or after thawing critical to survival?

John F. Hasler

Efficient and efficacious cryopreservation of bovine embryos is critical to the commercial ET industry because, as shown by the most recent AETA statistics (2011), 72% of embryos were frozen following collection versus only 28% that were transferred fresh into recipients. Following the published report of Voelkel and Hu in 1992 on cryopreservation with EG, the commercial bovine ET industry rather quickly switched from glycerol to EG as the major cryoprotectant in freezing media. The overall percentage of embryos frozen in EG rose rapidly starting in 1992 and reached 97% in 2008, the last year that the AETA collected data on this specific statistic.

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Small Dry Shippers

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Published on: September 26, 2017

By Karen Rockey

Let’s face it, without our cryogenic tanks, we would not be in business. So let’s take a little time to discuss the tanks we use for export shipping of embryos.

Small dry shippers and Dobles are most widely used for domestic transportation and shipping to neighboring countries, because of their size and non hazardous status. Unfortunately, they have limited hold times. Knowing the hold time is very important. If you have issues in customs, or papers are lost, a hold time of 14 – 17 days doesn’t give you much time to rectify the situation.

One of the items available (and recommended for all wide mouth dry shippers), is the cabosil insert. When fully absorbed with nitrogen and placed inside the tank with the embryos, it will give the tank a little extra time of charge. Insurance may also require the use of these inserts. I am not sure if others are making these now, but our source has been Chart/MVE.

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Understanding Shoulder Pain and How to Return to Living

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Published on: September 26, 2017

By Meredith Griffin PT, DPT

Shoulder pain is a very common issue. Every day in the clinic, I see at least one patient with complaints of shoulder pain and the only other diagnosis I see more frequently is low back pain. Shoulder pain can be brought on by a variety of causes, including over use, trauma, and aging. Veterinarians, especially ET practitioners, are highly susceptible to the former of the three. Despite the cause, the progression of therapy is generally the same.

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Sleep Deprivation

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Published on: September 26, 2017

By Mid-Maryland Vets

I had a weird experience at an early morning herd check.  Donald was bouncing off the walls, talking a mile a minute, yelling, and sprinting like a mad man.  He bragged about the all-nighter he spent out in the fields before coming home to milk and prep for herd check.  He had popped a few caffeine pills chased with black coffee an hour before to amp him up for the morning which explained his nuclear energy level.  I think I could even see his heart trying to explode out of his chest. A visit to another farmer during late spring revealed a completely run-down, exhausted, incoherent mess of a man barely able to function.  But like the aforementioned spastic man, this fellow also bragged about his lack of sleep.  Most farmers and a few veterinarians love to brag about the all-nighters and present their lack of sleep like a badge of honor.  They believe that pushing through exhaustion by extending the work day and depriving themselves of sleep makes them more productive.  In reality, sleep deprivation makes us less productive.

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Summer’s Heat Stroke

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Published on: June 30, 2017

By Mid Maryland Dairy Veterinarians

Summer is finally here!  With summer upon us, the Mid-Atlantic region can look forward to the 3 H’s:  Hazy, Hot, and Humid.  We should not be surprised to witness one of those epic heat waves with scorching hot and dangerously high heat indexes close to 110F. Heat stroke is a dangerous condition that cattle can experience during a heat wave.  Do we need an epic heat wave to create heat stroke?  Absolutely not!  Exertion from calving, disease, and poor facility ventilation/heat abatement can induce heat stroke.  You need to be able to recognize the animal experiencing heat stroke, treat it quickly, and take steps to minimize the risk of heat stress.

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Exporting Efficiency

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Published on: June 30, 2017

EXPORTING EFFICIENCY

Are your records accurate?

QUARANTINE!

We’ve all heard it, and most have experienced it in one way or another.

As traceability becomes more of an issue, registration numbers are very important. Complete registration numbers; leaving zeros out of an 840 registration number will land you in quarantine. Forgetting the CAN in front of a Canadian registration number or USA in front of the USA registration numbers can end up in quarantine as well. Including official ear tag numbers on testing is also important and required by the USDA.

Exporters ask for a D form copy to make sure the numbers and names are correct: Exactly correct. It is a simple task to verify this information on the individual breed website. This is the first thing done in the export preparation process. Holstein (http://www.holsteinusa.com/hol/animalSearch.action), Jersey, Angus, Hereford, and Wagyu, to name a few, all have easily accessible websites. Leaving out an –ET can be as much of a problem as unnecessarily adding it. Misspelling is another common issue, especially with shortened registered names. For the Holstein 840 numbers, make sure it matches the official pedigree (84000…), even though it is shown at least three different ways on their website.

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AETA Practice Tip

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Published on: June 30, 2017

By Marianna Jahnke and Tyler Dohlman

When transferring embryos it is important to be quick and keep your cane 3 inches below the frost line in the neck of the tank while trying not to burn your fingers and not exposing or potentially damaging the neighboring straws in the cane. One of the practices that makes our lives easier when transferring embryos is the ability to remove the straw from the cane without having to completely remove the top goblet from the cane. Not only is it easier and quicker, but we do not have to worry about potentially exposing or damaging other straws a second time when putting the top goblet back on to the appropriate cane.

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Understanding Cervical Disc Herniations and What To Do About Them

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Published on: June 30, 2017

By Meredith Griffin PT, DPT

C6/7 Posterior

In the image you can see what many hope to never see on their MRI, a spinal disc herniation or herniated nucleus pulposis (HNP). For decades it was believed that if you had an HNP you were doomed for surgery and all you could do is hope that the results of the surgery were good (decreased pain, improved sensation, etc). Our society has developed a one track mind in wanting a quick fix and thinking that the only way to manage a problem like this is to go under the knife and cut it out. More recent research has shown that alt-hough there my be “abnormal” findings on various imaging, that does not justify surgery despite the fact that the many surgeons use this as their rational. In fact, we are finding that it is more abnormal to not have changes on imaging, or what are being called by some experts as “wrinkles on the inside.” If you have any “abnormal” findings on your x-ray, MRI, CT scan, etc, I would like to congratulate you on being just like the vast majority of the human population. These are considered age-related changes and are normal. Any-thing from arthritis to stenosis to disc herniations are all part of the normal aging process and are a result of being mobile organisms. Imaging studies have found that arthritic changes have been noted and can begin in the human body as early as the mid-20’s. More studies have also found little to no correlation between find-ings on imaging and patient reports of symptoms and pain levels. The problem becomes when pain impedes our lifestyles.

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IVF Aspiration “Learning Curve”

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Published on: March 21, 2017

IVF Aspiration “Learning Curve”
By Dr. Pat Comyn, DVM

What I’ve Learned from my Foray into IVF/OPU

I launched myself into trying to provide OPU about a year ago. I am AETA certified and EU qualified and have performed ultrasound exams for pregnancy, fetal aging and sexing for about 12 to 17 years. I’ve manually palpated a lot of cows in my career. So, taking on OPU wasn’t going to be a huge leap I thought. Ha Ha. I was wrong. So, here I’ll try to give a list of things that I’ve learned will sting you if you commit them while doing OPU.

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Winter Barn Ventilation and Photoperiod

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Published on: March 21, 2017

Winter Barn Ventilation and Photoperiod
By Mid Maryland Dairy Vets

1 – Truth serum time—can you handle it? Cows and calves can handle cold temperatures. A big winter problem is a tightly sealed barn. If temperatures are in the mid-20s or higher with minimal wind, KEEP THE BARN WALLS OPEN! I understand that, ergonomically speaking, warmer barns are more comfortable for employees and make it easier to keep water and manure flowing. Barns are designed to be no more than 10°F warmer than outside temperatures. Once you exceed that temperature threshold, moisture and particulates build up in the air.

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Practice Tip: Capturing All Flushing Media

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Published on: December 9, 2016

By: Tyler Dohlman and Marianna Jahnke

Iowa State University

There have been times at the end of a flush that there is still some recovery media left in the uterine horn that defies the odds and will not come out through the Foley catheter using the closed/gravity flow technique with the Y-junction tubing. This tends to happen more with cows that have larger reproductive tracts especially the uterine horns. We are uncertain why this happens in some cases but it tends to annoy the practitioner leaving fluid and potentially an embryo still in the uterus.

In order to ease the practitioner’s mind, there is a technique that we have done that has provided some good results with removal of the stubborn fluid. In order to do this you will need an additional hand.

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Practice Tip: Cystic Cow Treatment

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Published on: December 9, 2016

By Brad R. Lindsey, PhD

Ovitra Biotechnology, Inc.

I have used the following protocol to successfully treat cystic donors, AI cows, fat show heifers, etc. in order to get them bred, to get a good CL for a reference heat, or even to be an embryo recipient.

Basically, if the cysts do not manually rupture or are drained by DFR, etc., I will administer GnRH. The next day I put in TWO NEW CIDRs. If the cyst(s) do rupture or DFR is accomplished, I will go ahead and put the 2 CIDRs in immediately, the same day. Leave the CIDRs in for 14 days (this is approximately the maximum amount of time before they will run out of P4), then pull the CIDRs and administer PGF the same day. At 60 hours, administer GnRH (if you are going to AI, do so at 72 to 78 hours post-PGF). When the animal goes out of heat, put TWO MORE new CIDRs in. Pull in 14 days with NO PGF, obviously, then cross your fingers and wait. If she comes back in heat, repeat the protocol with GnRH, AI?, 2 CIDR for 14 d, etc.).

The idea is to take total hormonal control of the animal, not allowing her a chance to go cystic again and to “force” her to produce a CL. The 2 CIDRs will elevate P4 levels high enough to reduce LH pulse frequency and amplitude, thus depriving the LH-dependent follicle(s) of LH. Leaving the CIDRs in for 14 days somewhat mimics a normal mid-cycle luteal-phase. This approach is somewhat drawn out, but works pretty well to restore even a chronic cystic cow to normal cyclicity, at least long enough to potentially conceive or collect for ET. As previously suggested, it probably won’t enhance the stimulation of a low embryo producer.

 

Practice Tip: Estrotect heat patches: Simple yet amazing!

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Published on: December 9, 2016

For those who are frugal and always looking to save a buck here and there, Estrotect patches can be cut in half lengthwise and they seem to work just fine. I had a client run 210 recips at me today, and every single one was still on securely.

 

cow

Managing With Low Milk Prices

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Published on: September 13, 2016

By Mid Maryland Dairy Vets.

The downturn in dairy pricing has forced most of our clients to look critically at their dairy enterprise.  In the best of times and worst of times, a business should be consistently striving to reduce costs and maximize revenues.  The following article provides a simple dairy management checklist that you can use along with your advisors to help survive and thrive in the volatile dairy market.

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Practice Tip: Taking photos and videos of embryos through a stereoscope

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Published on: September 13, 2016

From time to time, the need arises to take either still photomicrographs or video pictures of embryos through a stereoscope.  This could be for quality control purposes, consulting with other practitioners or research. In the case of a practitioner just learning to evaluate embryos, a photomicrograph sent digitally to a mentor can provide a valuable second opinion for the client.   Many practitioners don’t have access to microscopes with built in camera mounts, but smartphone technology has improved to the point that high quality photographs can be made through a microscope with a smartphone.  Holding the phone camera steady over the ocular lens long enough to snap a picture, however, can be a challenge even for those with a steady hand.

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Ask John: Exploding Straws

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Published on: June 17, 2016

Ask John

John F. Hasler

Don’t ask John! Sometimes that is undoubtedly the best option. More than 20 years ago, my then high-school-aged daughter gave me a T-shirt with the caption “To save time, let’s just assume that I know everything.” I still wear it, sometimes even in public. My daughter, who now is an attorney, has often disagreed with my opinions! Most of you will probably not be surprised by that.

Matt, the editor of A Closer Look, asked me to submit a copy of what I recently wrote as a response to a question submitted to the CETA Tech Talk program. Actually, I submitted two responses to Tech Talk on the issue of exploding straws. In my first submission, written in haste and poorly considered, I included the comment “When straws freeze, a vacuum forms inside any air columns as the temperature goes down.” That is really not true. Aqueous fluids, such as cryoprotectant media, expand in volume about 9% when they freeze. Although air does decrease in pressure as it cools, the volume of air in either semen or embryo straws is not large enough to overcome the pressure exerted by the increased volume of the ice.

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Summertime Focus on Water

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Published on: June 17, 2016

Summertime Focus on Water

By: Mid Maryland Dairy Vets

The Blue Mountains were disappearing in the haze.  It was a hazy, hot, and humid day in August and at midday, time to catch the show heifer on pasture for a much-needed drink.  Unfortunately, she had something else in mind, like a game of tag.  After the farmer got close enough to lasso the halter over her head, the heifer took off like a Kentucky Derby Thoroughbred out of the gates.  The chase was on without an ATV or a roping horse and of course asking for help was out of the question.  He was not prepared for this game in sweltering midday heat and humidity.  So after 20 minutes of a full-on chase, the non-athletically gifted caretaker collapsed with exhaustion and dehydration as his vision became blurred and the dreaded cold sweat took over.  With heat stress and exhaustion setting in, he needed to cool down, rehydrate, and then ask for help.

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Practice Tip: OB Sleeve Holder Options

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Published on: March 28, 2016

Likely one of the most traditional ways to hold an OB sleeve up and onto the shoulder is the forceps (mosquito, towel, tissue, etc.).

sleeve1

If any of you are like me, you will find some times when those pesky things disappear and you are without. Oh no, what to do now?

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