Getting the best results from ET

Paul Elwood, from HVS Animal Health, (right) discussing the benefits of Embryo Transfer, with Parklands' Veterinary Group director John Grant
Paul Elwood, from HVS Animal Health, (right) discussing the benefits of Embryo Transfer, with Parklands' Veterinary Group director John Grant

Leading embryo transfer (ET) veterinarian Philip Abernethy, a Director of the Parklands’ Veterinary Group, has confirmed to Farming Life that increasing numbers of pedigree beef and dairy herdowners are now using the technique as an integral part of their breeding programmes.

“Embryo Transfer allows breeders to maximise the number of progeny they can produce from their top cows,” he added.

“And it really is a numbers game: the greater the number of Class One embryos that are produced the more cost effective and beneficial the process becomes.

“In this regard, managing the cow effectively in the run up to flushing is extremely important. I am recommending to all my clients that they should offer Omega Flush, available from HVS Animal Health. It contains both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Herdowners should also ensure that donor cows are receiving the correct levels of minerals in their diet. And, again, diets should be adjusted accordingly.”

International research has shown that Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids maximise the quality and numbers of eggs produced by the donor animal while also helping the subsequently produced embryos to implant more effectively in the womb of the recipient.

“We are, therefore, recommending that the proven supplement, which contains both Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, should be offered to the donor animal at a rate of 100 mls per day, mixed in the feed, during the six week period prior to flushing and to the recipient at a similar rate for three weeks pre and six weeks after implantation,” Paul Elwood, from HVS Animal Health, explained.

Paul added: “We have trialled Omega Flush extensively all over the UK and Ireland, and the results achieved have been extremely encouraging. When given to donor cows, ET vets have seen a greater number of Grade One embryos and a significant reduction in the number of Lower Grade embryos.

“Pregnancy rates have been improved when Omega Flush has been included in the recipient’s ration pre and post implantation. Maximising fertility is at the very heart of the challenges which face the dairy and beef breeding sectors throughout the British Isles.”

Paul continued: “All animals require a balance of essential fatty acids, such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 to function at optimal level. They cannot produce these fats in their body and they must therefore be made available as an integral part of their diet.”

The body of research identifying the key role played by essential fatty acids in meeting the needs of breeding livestock is impressive. The inclusion of Omega Flush can assist cows cycling sooner and more consistently.

He concluded: “Embryo transfer is being used increasingly by local dairy and beef breeders to improve the genetic potential of their herds. However, it remains an inherently expensive technique. Offering Omega Flush to both donor and recipient will help to significantly boost the results obtained. It is a very small price to pay when one considers the value of the end product.”

For further information, contact HVS Animal Health on (028) 4483 1700.