Theriogenology 2004 Feb;61(4):785-95
Co-operative Breeding Service, Vainiotie 28, FIN-91500 Muhos, Finland.
Transrectal or transabdominal examinations of 13 pluriparous reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) by ultrasonography from the start of mating until week 20 of gestation were conducted to find out when pregnancy could first be detected and to describe fetal development in early pregnancy. The examinations (n=35 per animal) were performed with a 5 MHz linear transducer from 7th October until 1st January and with a 3 MHz sector transducer from that time until 24th February. Time of pregnancy diagnosis by ultrasonography, the first fetal heartbeat and measurements of crown-rump length, chest width and chest depth were recorded during the examinations. Pregnancy was diagnosed by transrectal ultrasonography between the weeks 3 and 7 of gestation. The accuracy of the pregnancy diagnosis, defined as the proportion of females correctly detected to be pregnant, was 15% at week 3, 46% at week 4, 77% at week 5, and 92% at week 6 of gestation. Fetal heartbeat was first detected between the weeks 5 and 8 of gestation. The first measurements of crown-rump length were made on week 3 of gestation, of chest width on week 4 and of chest depth on week 5 of gestation. Chest width and depth were detectable until the end of the study at week 20 of gestation. Transrectal ultrasonography is an efficient tool in early pregnancy diagnosis of reindeer. The fetal growth curves obtained by ultrasonography resembled those obtained in previous morphological studies.