Agribusiness in KenyaDairy Farming

Kenya: New Pregnancy Kit For Dairy Cows

Identifying if a cow has become pregnant or not as early as possible after insemination, is critical. Dr Ibrahim Kemboi, the veterinarian at Chemusian Farm in Nakuru County with over 800 dairy cattle, knows this too well. Early pregnancy diagnosis he says, enables him quickly re-breed the cows that did not become pregnant or deal with any health problems that may be impeding pregnancy. That’s why Dr Kemboi is happy with a new pregnancy-testing technology — Rapid Visual Pregnancy Test— which he has been using for the last one month.

Misdiagnosis

The technology — Rapid Visual Pregnancy Test — determines the pregnancy status of a cow within just 21 minutes. A small amount of blood is collected from the animal for the test. The kit allows him to accurately know the pregnancy status of the cows just 28 days after insemination instead of waiting 45 days or more as he did previously.

The kit was introduced into the Kenyan market by Lancet Group of Labs and is manufactured by the US-based IDEXX laboratories.

The earlier the pregnancy diagnosis is done the better. That helps the farm maximize its profits by shortening calving intervals, boosting milk production and cutting down losses incurred as a result of long calving intervals, says Dr Kemboi.

Previously, Dr Kemboi relied on the traditional method of rectal palpation to detect pregnancy, in which a hand and forearm is inserted through the rectum of cows to feel for the womb.

With rectal palpation, misdiagnosis is a possibility since accuracy is dependent on skill and experience of the vet doing the palpation. Also, loss of pregnancy (miscarriage) in early gestation can result if the ovaries and uterus are manipulated inappropriately during palpation, he says.

Dr Kemboi hopes the new technology will help the farm boost its calving interval that currently is in the range of 390- 400 days aim so as to reach 365-380 days. Lancet Lab’s Consultant Pathologist and CEO Dr Ahmed Kalebi explains that the new testing technology works by detecting pregnancy-associated glycoproteins (PAGs) in the blood of cows with 99 per cent accuracy, thus eliminating misdiagnosis and safety concerns.

“Previous testing for pregnancy in cows relied on testing levels of progesterone and oestrogen hormones, but those levels were not specific to pregnancy and thus unreliable,” he says. Misdiagnosis He added: “PAGs are compounds that are highly specific to pregnancy and therefore very reliable for accurate diagnosis of pregnancy. The methodology has been tested and verified internationally. The innovation will make a difference for livestock farmers and their veterinarians.”

Lancet’s Head of Veterinary Services Dr Dhaval Shah says with time Lancet will train vets to be able to run the tests themselves at their clinics or on the farms. Kenya Veterinary Association Dr Kenneth Wameyo says early pregnancy diagnosis will boost productivity since livestock farmers will have their cows calve at intervals of between 380-420 days instead of the current average of about 560 days. Dr Kemboi says in managing reproduction in dairy cows, it’s advisable to do at least three pregnancy checks per reproductive cycle i.e. first by 35 days post breeding, 2nd at 90-120 days post breeding and third at dry off.

via Smart Harvest