IN-VIVO EMBRYO PRODUCTION
Our main directive is the collection and processing of top quality embryos for your program, whether it is for immediate transplant or cryopreservation and storage for use or marketing at a later date.
We provide our services in-clinic at any of our satellite locations as well as on-farm. On-farm work is and always has been a major part of our business. With our mobile lab, all services are available for your convenience right on the farm. This allows the producers to use their own recipient females and keep their donor cows at home, thus reducing the overall cost of the program significantly.
Flushing or embryo collections can be performed every 30 to 60 days depending on the donor cow, with an average yield of 6 to 7 viable embryos per flush, but a wide range of results can be expected.
BTL will send you all the necessary drugs, and provide detailed instructions for their use to insure the best possible results.
Cows will be flushed on farm via the BTL Export Certified Mobile Lab.
Our services are available anywhere in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Clients can set up and inseminate donor cows on farm and bring them to the center for the embryo recovery process.
Donor cows can be housed at the BTL center for all super-ovulatory treatments and artificial inseminations. Embryos recovered from the donor cow(s) can be transferred fresh to synchronized recipients or they can be frozen for transfer at a later date.
Selection of donors is very important. Donors are usually selected on the basis of superior genetic merit compared with the rest of the herd. Whether the criterion is performance records, show ring appeal, or both, consideration must be given to the potential dollar value of her calves.
The potential donor cow should be reproductively sound to produce maximum results, some of the important criteria to look for in prospective donors are:
Normal postpartum history
Regular heat cycles (length of 18 to 24 days)
Body condition of 2.5 to 3.5-4 (skinny or fat animals tend to do poorly in most cases)
Heifers are more unpredictable than cows and usually produce fewer embryos. Heifers should be 350 kg or more, be cycling and have a well developed reproductive tract.
Young cows are usually preferred (3 to 8 years old). Embryo production in old cows varies greatly depending on their genetics, but in general the older the cow gets, the lower the chances of being a successful donor.
Cows need to be under a good nutritional plan including mineral supplementation.
Maintaining or increasing an acceptable body condition. Cows losing condition or over-conditioned have a lower reproductive activity.
Reproductive tract examination:
It is always recommended that cows are palpated and tested by ultrasound before entering into the ET program. When preparing donor cows to be done on-farm, your local veterinarian can examine your cows to determine the status of their reproductive tract.
Normal uterus involution after calving.
Discard the presence of pathological conditions including uterine infections, if there is a problem, it needs to be treated accordingly before a cow is place into an ET program.
Ensure that the cows are open.
Determine the presences and quality of normal ovarian structures. Cycling vs. non-cycling.
Presence of abnormalities such as cystic ovaries, adhesions of scar tissue, etc.
Vaccinations should be up to date. Pay special attention when using modified live vaccines for BVD and IBR. If vaccinating, cows need to be done 40 days or more before starting the super-ovulation protocol.
Do not dip the cows with pour on medications for at least 10 days before starting the super-ovulation protocol.
Handle donors calmly and keep them under as low stress environment as possible.
CIDR application and injections can be administered by the producer right on-farm as it is easy enough.
Apply CIDRs. It is recommended to rinse and disinfect your CIDR applicator between cows.
Ensure that all injections are administered intramuscularly (the neck region is preferred especially in over-conditioned cows).
When giving injections, always check donors to ensure the CIDR is still in place.
See image below for typical super-ovulation protocol for donor cows.
Two inseminations are required and are performed 12 hours apart; the timing of the 1st breeding will depend on the super-ovulation protocol to be used.
Use high quality semen, in general it is recommended to have three dosages of semen on hand in case one may explode or the cow shows an extended heat that will require a 3rd breeding. On some occasions and under specific circumstances a few more straws of semen will be recommended.
If there is any doubt regarding the quality of the semen to be used, please let us know. We can evaluate frozen semen prior to use, increasing the chances for success by discarding potentially infertile or sub-fertile semen.
Save all semen straws for us and attach them to the super-ovulation record.
It is recommended to have an indoor place to flush a cow since at certain times of the year the environmental conditions can be unpredictable. Donor cows cannot be flushed outdoors when is raining, too cold, or extremely windy.
Have the super-ovulation record filled out and returned to us.
Please check and let us know if the cow needs to be DNA tested.
NOTE: Keep us informed with the development of the program. In case of any problems or if you have any questions, please let us know so we can help with the situation before is too late. Make sure the instructions are understood and followed precisely, since these programs are very sensitive.