Ask a question to an AETA certified ET practitioner

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Published on: February 18, 2021

By Pat Comyn

Ask an ET-related question. An AETA-certified practitioner will answer!

Here’s one I asked Dr. Reuben Mapletoft to answer regarding proper or best thaw temperature for direct thaw (DT) embryos.

Question: Reuben, is there any data that support a 28 to 29°C thaw versus a 35 to 37°C thaw? I see that Japanese papers and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recommend 37°C. And how about a 5-s air thaw versus right in bath? It seems to me that cracked zona concerns are a question mark as it hopefully cracks anyhow.

Answer: You are correct; with a direct transfer a cracked zona is probably even preferred. The air thaw is only important for glycerol where it is important to be able to find the embryo.

We looked at several thaw temperatures between 25 and 35°C several years ago and found no difference in survival. I suppose you argue that perhaps you should be thawing near environmental temperature, but I think it is important to thaw quickly. Having said that, thaw rate to 0°C is probably the same for all temperatures, so then the thaw temperature really determines where it ends up.

Reuben J. Mapletoft

Distinguished Professor Emeritus

Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences

Western College of Veterinary Medicine

University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B4 

The AETA Certification Requirements Have Been Updated

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Published on: November 2, 2020

Summary of changes to AETA Certification Program

The Certification Program has undergone two significant changes that every certified individual needs to understand and plan for. These have been approved by the board of directors and go into effect immediately.

  • 1. Certification cycle has changed from three to five years.

a.) Each individual’s certification cycle has been extended by two years. No matter where you are in your old three-year cycle, it will be extended. If it expired on December 31, 2019, the new expiration will be December 31, 2021.

b.) For continuing education purposes, you will now need 50 credits in your five-year cycle, 30 of which must come from attendance at AETA annual conferences. Each annual conference has a   value of 10 credits. The remaining credits may come from a variety of sources, which are outlined in the certification guidelines.

  • 2. Random inspection of certified members has been discontinued.

a.) Random inspection has been replaced with an inspection session that will occur each year at the annual conference. Attendance will be limited to approximately one fifth of the number of certified individuals. It will be an interactive format where representative examples of labeling and paperwork from each individual will be peer reviewed in small groups and at the whole session. If an unsatisfactory compliance with accepted protocol is determined during this session and not corrected, a site inspection may be generated.  

b.) Each individual will be responsible for attending one of these inspection sessions during their five-year cycle. Sign-up for this event will be announced well in advance, and priority will be given for a period of time to those people in the last year of their cycle. After that deadline, it will be first come, first served.

We hope these changes will help people with unforeseen conflicts during the annual convention and allow more flexibility in scheduling. If we all go into the new inspection session with a positive attitude and allow it to be a learning experience, we feel it will help our entire industry with uniformity and the image we project to the world.

2020 Fall Certification Exam Follow-up

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Published on: November 2, 2020

The AETA certification committee would like to express our gratitude to Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine and the embryo transfer staff for hosting our fall 2020 Examination. They went above and beyond in making our experience very pleasant in the midst of a chaotic time, and provided us a professional atmosphere to accomplish our mission. Thank you; your help is appreciated very much.

AETA 2019 Statistics Survey Results Available

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Published on: November 2, 2020

Embryo Evaluation Survey Follow-up

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Published on: November 2, 2020

The link below is a follow-up to the embryo evaluation survey sent out by AETA and conducted by Lincoln Memorial University with the evaluations at the time the images were captured. 

https://lmu.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cHo9ieqA5iIhqKN

AETA President’s Report – Spring 2020

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Published on: April 6, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has most likely altered all of our lives. The AETA board offers our thoughts and support to everyone in this difficult time. The sentiment has been shared that “We are in this together,” and that is certainly true. The AETA and CETA will continue to assess the Covid-19 situation as it evolves and will adjust any plans as needed. The health and safety of our members is our primary concern.

I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Matt Iager for his service on the AETA board as president. Those of you who have met him or had the privilege to work with him have no doubt witnessed his passion and enthusiasm for the AETA and our profession. I would also like to welcome the newest board members, Dr. Greg Schueller and Dr. Brad Lindsey.

We recently held our spring board meeting and have some great ideas for the future of AETA and AETA related events. Watch the AETA website and the AETA Facebook page for updates and announcements.

To those of you who completed the member survey, thank you! Those who did not, but who want to contribute your thoughts, please seek out a board member. We cannot functionally lead the AETA without member input.

The Convention Committee has been very busy setting the schedule and scope of the upcoming convention. There is something for everyone. We have been releasing information about the program and will continue to do so. Watch the AETA website for updates. Please mark your calendars for October 5–7, 2020, at the Madison Marriott West in Madison, Wisconsin. We hope you can come for World Dairy Expo and stay for the convention.

Once again, we are in this together, and we will come together again soon. I look forward to that!

Thank you,
Matthew Dorshorst, MS, DVM

AASRP AETA Sheep and Goat Seminar

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Published on: April 6, 2020

The decision has been made to cancel the planned AASRP-AETA Sheep and Goat Embryo Transfer seminar which was planned for June 2020. The faculty have determined that with the current COVID-19 pandemic, the shut-down of Ohio State meetings and courses until at least July1, and the time and planning needed to put together the seminar, it is not possible to reschedule it for 2020. We hope to offer the seminar again in the future.

K. Fred Gingrich II, DVM
Executive Director
American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners
1130 E. Main St., Suite 302
Ashland, OH 44805
419-496-0696 (office)
419-606-3558 (mobile)
fred@aasrp.org

Practice Tips

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Published on: April 6, 2020

Pat Comyn, DVM

1. Always try to obtain straws used in the breeding for a flush to obtain collection date. If the semen is CSS and you’re certified and APHIS inspected, an export opportunity might arise in the future.

2. If a straw label has small print and difficult to read, take a picture and enlarge image.

3. I’ve found that doing procedures, like performing OPU where one really needs an animal to stay still, is greatly eased by administration of 10 mg xylazine with 100 mg ketamine intravenously. This also helps (along with epidural) relieve straining and other things that cows will do while one is attempting a complicated procedure. I prefer doing this as opposed to giving xylazine mixed with a lidocaine epidural; the ketamine seems to provide a more dependable analgesic and sedative effect.

2018 AETA Statistics Committee Report

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Published on: January 3, 2020

2018 Report of the Data Retrieval Committee

Cryptorchidism

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Published on: October 11, 2019

Written by Dr. Pat Comyn

I have recently had a client ask me what his options were with a holstein bull calf of very high genetic value (genomic prediction) that happened to be a unilateral cryptorchid. Aside from a grunt, I didn’t know how to answer, so I thought I should educate myself. As it turns out, the causes of crytorchidism in cattle aren’t  very well understood. A some observations from some reading.

  1. The left testicle is most commonly affected.
  2. Male repro tract development occurs from a different tissue (wolffian duct which is part of the mesonephros developing into the epididymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicle, and ejaculatory duct) than the female tract (Müllerian duct which differentiates into vagina, cervix, uterus etc).
  3. While many argue that chryptorchidism is “heritable”, the heritability of this trait is not well characterized meaning that we don’t know what percent of the development of cryptorchid syndrome is truly genetic and what percent is environmental (meaning uterine / maternal hormonal influence).
  4. This is an excerpt from Cryptorchidism and associated problems in animals1 R. P. Amann2 and D. N. R. Veeramachanen: Animal Reproduction and Biotechnology Laboratory Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1683 USA.

“Early reports on cryptorchidism (e.g., de Graaf, 1668) provided evidence of two or more diseases, because undescended testes are not located at a common non-scrotal site. Nevertheless, the general perception had been that cryptorchidism is a single disease with moderate heritability, incomplete penetrance, expressed only in males (sex specific expression), and concentrated by inbreeding or minimized by culling affected males and all siblings. However, the notion of a single-locus gene problem gave way to acceptance of a polygenic recessive model, based on relatively small studies with pigs (Sittmann and Woodhouse, 1977; Rothschild et al, 1988) and dogs (Cox et al, 1978; Nielen et al., 2001); also data for men (Czeizel et al., 1981). It is evident that abnormalities in >20 genes are associated with human cryptorchidism (Klonisch et al., 2004) and, currently it is accepted that cryptorchidism has many causes including genetic, epigenetic, and environmental components.”

  1. A search on line showed no studies where back breeding of cryptorchids to dam or siblings had been done to characterize heritability coefficient.
  2. A unilateral cryptorchid will on average produce 60 – 80% the spermatozoa of a normal bull.
  3. The affected testicle should be removed so not to place abnormal spermatozoa in the ejaculate. Too, removal will enhance hypertrophy of the normal testicle.

So here we are. A unilateral cryptorchid dairy bull calf. The owner vents his / her frustration and also inquires as to your thoughts on how to proceed. Here are my thoughts…

  1. If a dairy bull and high enough genomics, offer him out. There are dairy bulls in collection now that are unilateral cryptorchids.
  2. Consider private CSS EU qualified collection then see if the semen can be purchased by a bull stud and sold.
  3. Like point B except the producer sells the semen.
  4. The money might not be as good as a normal bull purchase but one can make lemonade from lemons.

Recap: AETA/AASRP 2019 Small Ruminant Embryo Transfer Seminar

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Published on: July 26, 2019

The AETA/AASRP 2019 Small Ruminant Embryo Transfer Seminar was held June 19 to 22, 2019, at The Ohio State University Large Animal Services satellite veterinary teaching hospital in Marysville, Ohio. The meeting was organized by Dr. Eric Gordon.

The course started on Wednesday, June 19, with a review of small ruminant reproductive physiology by Dr. Sherri Clark. Dr. Bill Croushore and Dr. Dave Dixon discussed embryos processing, grading, and cryopreservation. Drs. Mattes and Shipley discussed embryo collection, anesthesia, and sync methods as well as more reproductive physiology and handling of semen. Later in the day, a goat was surgically flushed as a demonstration.

On Thursday, June 20, and Friday, June 21, course participants broke out into teams of three and flushed three goats or sheep each day. All flushing occurred under gas anesthesia. After each flush, the teams searched embryos, and viable embryos were cryopreserved. Later in the day, Dr. Shipley discussed semen collection and cryopreservation. He also elaborated on reproductive physiology. On Saturday, June 22, teams of three practitioners each laparoscopically inseminated three ewes.

The meeting went very well, and it is felt that participants were quite satisfied with the value of this course. Dr. Eric Gordon at OSU CVM at Marysville deserves a huge thank you for his efforts in bringing this course together and in convincing clients to provide animals to flush. Dr. Justin Kieffer with OSU Animal Science was a huge help in bringing in his technician staff and in assisting with planning for animal usage in this CE meeting and for providing, via the animal science department, some of the animals used.

Legality of Compounded Estradiol for Embryo Transfer

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Published on: July 25, 2019

The AABP office has received questions from members regarding the legality of using compounded estradiol products in cattle for embryo transfer protocols. AABP has also been in discussion with the FDA about the use of compounded estradiol products in food animals. Compounding from approved drugs in animals is only permitted under the narrowly defined conditions outlined in AMDUCA (Section 21 CFR 530.13). To be permitted, extralabel use from compounding of approved animal drugs or approved human drugs must be in compliance with all relevant provisions of 21 CFR 530 (AMDUCA), including the provisions limiting extralabel use to treatment modalities when the health of an animal is threatened or suffering or death may result from failure to treat. The extralabel use regulation also does not provide for compounding from active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs or bulk drugs—i.e., the raw chemical) for use in animals. Therefore, it is illegal for veterinarians to use or prescribe compounded estradiol for cattle, or any form of estrogenic compounds for production purposes, including embryo transfer and synchronization protocols. AABP encourages cattle veterinarians to refrain from administering or prescribing compounded estradiol for the following reasons:

  • AMDUCA only allows for extralabel drug use when the health of an animal is threatened. There is no production allowance, particularly for compounding; therefore one cannot use human-approved drugs (e.g., ECP, Pfizer) or a different form of an animal-approved drug (e.g., growth-promoting implants) for production purposes.
  • Compounding from a bulk product is specifically prohibited in AMDUCA regulations.
  • The safety, potency, efficacy, stability, sterility, and disposition of compounded products is unknown. Compounded products do not undergo FDA inspection, potency testing, or efficacy testing. Veterinary compounding pharmacies that also compound for humans are under federal regulation and are FDA inspected; however, this only applies to the human side of the compounding operation. Veterinary compounding pharmacies do not have this level of oversight. There is no guarantee of the safety or efficacy of compounded products, and liability for the use of such products falls on the veterinarian in the event of an adverse reaction or violative residue.
  • Because the safety, efficacy, potency, and disposition of the compounded product is not known, it is impossible to assign a withdrawal interval for compounded products.
  • The use of compounded products in food animals places a veterinarian at risk of professional liability.

The need for estradiol for successful embryo transfer protocols has not been unequivocally established. For example, data from nearly 7,000 collections did not demonstrate a difference when using GnRH in place of estradiol in the protocol.1 Additional references are available on the Reproduction Committee page of the website at https://aabp.org/members/Reproduction.asp. Veterinarians who engage in federally prohibited activities put themselves at risk and also risk the profession’s reputation for appropriate and judicious oversight of pharmaceutical products in our cattle patients. This is especially of concern when using an unapproved and illegally manufactured hormone product.

AABP Newsletter 5 May 2019.

Please contact Dr. Fred Gingrich at fred@aabp.org with any questions.

Submitted by the AABP Reproduction Committee and the AABP Committee on Pharmaceuticals and Biologics.

1Hinshaw, R.H. Comparison of GnRH and estradiol 17β for follicle turnover in bovine superovulation protocols. Proceedings of the American Embryo Transfer Association 2013, p. 15.

2018 AETA Statistics Committee Report

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Published on: December 27, 2018

Survey data is only as good as the quality and integrity of the data submitted by people. Thank you for taking the time to submit your data.
Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend this year’s meeting due to the birth of our precious Alice in the end of May. If you have any questions and/or suggestions for next year’s survey please contact me at any time. Special thanks to Michael Wehrman for his guidance.

Sincerely,
Daniela Demetrio, DVM, MS – ddembryos@gmail.com

2018 SURVEY SUMMARY (2017 DATA)

The submitted data from 238 embryo practitioners, 138 ETBs (Embryo Transfer Businesses), 119 AETA certified, is summarized below. This year, non-AETA members were allowed to submit data. Part of the increase in the numbers from last year is a consequence of that.

  • Embryo transfer work is the main business of 68 ETBs (considered >80% ET work);
  • 137 ETBs transferred embryos (20 only in vivo, 5 only in vitro, and 112 both);
  • 126 ETBs flushed cows;
  • 32 ETBs performed OPUs;
  • 13 IVF laboratories reported data (fertilized oocytes and cultured the embryos in vitro);
  • 16 ETBs produced other species embryos;

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Comment on requirements for donors of embryos exporting USA to Australia

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Published on: July 6, 2018

by Pat Comyn
AETA Education Committee Chair

I recently collected embryos from a donor for export of those embryos to Australia. As part of the visit, I collected both an EDTA tube and a red top blood tube for submission for BVD (Bovine Pestivirus) testing in keeping with section 4 (below) of the Australian embryo import requirements.

I wanted to do an ELISA due to lower cost and turn around being faster compared to the VI. However, I had not heard of an ELISA for BVD being done on peripheral WBC (Buffy coat) and suspected that the description of the ELISA test in the IREGs was in error (the Australia IREGs was updated 4/18). After consultation with Pat Phillips, DVM (Hawkeye Breeders – embryo exporter), David Duxbury, DVM (AETA Government Liaison Committee Chair) and their inquiries to APHIS – Madison WI, we found that BVD ELISA on whole unclotted blood was being done at Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory / Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine. The results of the whole blood ELISA are acceptable for export to Australia. The client savings for the buffy coat ELISA were considerable as compared to viral isolation and the turn around was excellent (one day VS 2 weeks).

Section 4 is below.

4Bovine pestivirus

Prior to the export of this consignment of embryos each female donor gave a negative result to one of the following tests for bovine pestivirus:

  • an antigen-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) on peripheral blood leucocytes

or

  • a virus isolation test on blood or serum

[The veterinary certificate must indicate the option that applies. The table must include dates of sampling for test, type of tests used, test results.]

Vitamin Importance for Reproduction

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Published on: July 6, 2018

by Cole Ratzburg
AETA Education Committee
B.S. M.S. Reproductive Physiology

Hopefully everyone is having a good summer and getting plenty of rain. Since I had an article on trace minerals a couple issues ago I figured I would write an article on the importance of vitamins for reproduction. All though the effect vitamins have on reproduction aren’t as well known as trace minerals, they still have an important role in positively affecting reproduction in cattle. Essentially vitamins can be broken down into water soluble and fat-soluble forms. The fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K are more important for cattle due to their availability in the diet. Fat soluble vitamins do not need to be supplemented daily and can be supplied via mineral programs or in an injectable form.

Vitamin D is important for calcium, phosphorus metabolism, and bone growth but due to cows being able to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight it is not as critical to supplement in the long daylight hours. During the winter months with short daylight hours and depending on the forage available, cows may need more vitamin D. Vitamin A deals with vision, reproduction, and immune function. Levels fluctuate based on their availability in feed throughout the year. Vitamin A’s main role is to maintain the epithelial tissue found in areas like the lining of the reproductive tract. Vitamin A is available in ample amounts in the spring and summer months through green leafy forages. Cattle coming off the summer grass typically have a 2-3-month storage of vitamin A. The amount of vitamin A in the forage can fluctuate based on the quality of the forage and how it was processed.

I think the biggest effect that vitamin deficiencies have on embryo production is during the fall and winter months. Any flushes/transfers that occur in the winter and fall time may need cows to have good supplementation of vitamins A and D due to their limited availability.

Effects of Ovum Pick‐up Frequency and FSH Stimulation: A Retrospective Study on Seven Years of Beef Cattle In Vitro Embryo Production

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Published on: July 6, 2018

Authors: R De Roover, JMN Feuganf, PEJ Bois, G Genicot, Ch Hanzen

Publication: Reproduction in Domestic Animals

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons

Date: Mar 6, 2008

Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0531.2007.00873.x

AETA Education Committee Update

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Published on: April 10, 2018

Happy spring (I am writing this as the snow falls) from the Education Committee of AETA. Although I worked the two months of February and March, they seem a blur; influenza and the accompanying ailments following an immunosuppressive virus made me unenthusiastic about getting after the update for the newsletter. As of this date, we have started getting busy with spring work and setting up donors and recipients for show season, and so on. A few things have crossed my mind regarding ET that I will lay out.

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Hurricane Harvey Relief

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Published on: September 26, 2017

AETA Members,

As many of you know, Hurricane Harvey has caused extensive, disastrous damage and flooding in Texas and on the Gulf Coast. Thousands have lost their homes and businesses, and their lives have been forever changed. Included in those affected are farmers and ranchers.

Below are some organizations accepting aid and donations to help the farmers, ranchers, and livestock that have been affected by Hurricane Harvey.

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Published on: September 26, 2017

Catching Up with Dr. Matt Iager

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Published on: September 26, 2017

Welcome to MD-West-View Genetics in Boonsboro, Maryland, the home farm of Dr. Matt Iager, his wife Laura, and children Noah and Brooke.  Matt currently serves as treasurer of AETA and chairs the education committee.  He was a partner with Mid-Maryland Dairy Veterinarians in Hagerstown, Maryland for twenty years.  He started his own business, MD-West-View Genetics, from his strong interest in registered dairy cattle breeding.  He now shares his time working with both companies as a certified practitioner with AETA.  Matt frequently partners with his brothers Mike at Bulldog Holsteins and Mark at Maple Lawn Farm along with several other great breeders and wonderful friends.  His embryo business consists of a donor facility and small recipient herd with both a certified lab and mobile veterinary lab.

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