ReproScan Helps Improve Reproductive Efficiency in Cattle Industry

Published on Tue, 07/05/2016 - 2:02pm

 By Steve Weisman

 Reproductive efficiency is one of the most important factors in the profitability and success of a producer’s beef herd. Advancements in ultrasound technology aid producers in monitoring the reproductive status of their herds. At the leading edge of ultrasound technology is ReproScan (, a veterinarian-owned company that provides portable veterinary ultrasound equipment to customers across the globe. Whether the ReproScan ultrasound equipment is used by a veterinarian or a producer, it’s time to consider adding ReproScan Ultrasound equipment to your operation today.

A new frontier in veterinary medicine
That’s how Dr. Scott Davis, a veterinarian who has practiced his trade in Montana and Oregon for 26 years, sees the changes that are occurring in veterinary medicine. Using ReproScan’s XTC and the BoviScan for several years, Davis has been impressed with the accuracy and speed of the ultrasound system. “I pregnancy test a lot of cows, and with the Reproscan unit and the extension arm, I can easily pregnancy test at an average of 125 cows an hour, without the wear and tear on my body. Both accuracy and speed are important, because being in the desert area of Oregon bordering Nevada we have big ranches with anywhere from 500 to 5000 cows. Efficient use of time is extremely important.”

In addition to providing this ultrasound service for producers, Davis also helps those individuals who want to learn how to use the ReproScan themselves. “As a veterinarian, I feel it is my responsibility to help ranchers learn the right way. As technology changes, there will be those ranchers that want to learn this themselves. At the same time, there are those who will continue to want me to provide the ultrasound for them. I try to embrace this opportunity, because veterinary medicine is always changing. There is always something more, something new. It’s my job to help ranchers be successful and profitable.”

Davis adds that by being willing to educate his ranch clients, he finds himself becoming more of a consultant and an integral part of their operation.

A rancher’s perspective
Jessica Hoerster, who owns Hoerster Cattle Company with her husband near Edna, Texas, purchased the ReproScan XTC portable model with the 32-inch long ReproArm in 2013. “For me as a woman, the XTC and the ReproArm makes checking cows so much easier. I don’t have the strength in my arm that the guys do, and this lets me check more cows at a time without tiring out. It was also pretty easy for me to learn how to use. ReproScan’s website has several YouTube videos that show exactly how to use the XTC. I would watch the videos and then practice trying to replicate what was done on the video. So, I guess you could say I am self-taught! I do know, though, that they have sales people and seminars that can help veterinarians and producers learn how to use the equipment if they need more ‘hands-on’ instruction.”

Hoerster has found the XTC to be very dependable and reliable. “I did have an issue with the main board early on, but I sent it in and it was shipped back within three days. Other than that, it’s done everything that I’ve expected of it.” Hoerster thinks its accuracy is saving her money, and it is making a difference in their bottom line and management practices. “We have a short breeding season here, and with ultrasound we can capitalize on how much earlier we can get open cows identified and help us make decisions more quickly.”

Traditionally, the rectal palpation method has been used to identify, pregnant or open cows. However, this method is becoming dated as it is challenging to learn and less accurate than ultrasounding. Since the 1990s, ultrasound technology has allowed veterinarians to pregnancy test cows earlier and more accurately than rectal palpation. In recent years, extension arm technology has become increasingly more popular.

Dr. Andrew Bronson, a beef cattle veterinarian for over 30 years, pioneered extension arm technology to aid those preg-checking cattle. “I used to check 20,000 head each fall, and it was taking a toll on me. I just didn’t know how much longer I could physically do this.” In 2003, Dr. Bronson adapted extension arm ultrasound into his bovine practice; he was one of the first veterinarians in North America to do so. “I realized this could be a real equalizer in the industry for all veterinarians.”

After teaming up with Dr. Bruce Hill, a dairy veterinarian and feedlot veterinarian, Dr. Bronson formed ReproScan. ReproScan has grown significantly since its development; the company is proud to offer a full family of ultrasound machines to fit each operation. ReproScan’s equipment has been designed to be simple, durable and affordable for all types of cattle operations from feedlots to ranches and even dairies.

Critical components to the success of producers and veterinarians alike when using ultrasound technology are the convex rectal probe and the extension arm. It is now possible to pregnancy test beef cows and heifers without inserting one’s arm into the cow’s rectum. Features of the ReproScan setup include: a convex rectal probe, a ReproArm extension arm, a Bright LCD Monitor (so one can see the image even on sunny days), and long-lasting batteries.

Dr. Bronson says, “The convex rectal probe produces a pie-shaped image, and depending on how it’s set, it can be larger than the size of your hand — versus credit-card size picture with the linear probe. This is like the difference between using a shotgun instead of a rifle for hitting the target. It’s a lot easier to hit it with a shotgun than a rifle. This large image allows the operator to quickly find the uterus and fetus and making an accurate diagnosis. The fetus can be aged much quicker than with other pregnancy testing methods. The image is clear, permitting the open uterus to be visualized in open cows allowing the rancher to determine whether to rebreed or ship the opens.” The convex probe units are some of ReproScan’s most popular ultrasounds.

Advantages of the convex rectal probe include: 
• Larger field of view allowing for more of the uterus to be seen at one time
• Grid providing quicker ability to age the fetus
• Easier to call opens through the large view of uterus
• Fits the rectum better due to the rounded shape
• Works great with the extension arm

Since 2008, millions of cattle have been scanned by ReproScan equipment around the world proving the durability and ease of use. There are ReproScan ultrasound units being used in the tough frozen conditions of the Canadian North, throughout most of the lower 48 States in the USA and Hawaii, on large ranches in Brazil and Argentina, down under in the Australian Outback and in the modern dairy sheds of New Zealand. “We know that ReproScan equipment will work on your ranch.” Says Dr. Bronson.

There are four different types of extension arms available. Most people use the 32-inch long ReproArm. The 23-inch “Shorty Arm” was designed for pregnancy testing heifer through the side of a hydraulic chute. ReproScan representatives can help producers choose the equipment that is best for their operation.

All ReproScan ultrasounds come with the option of three unique viewing devices:
• Bright LCD Monitor with Sunshade — works in bright sunlight
• OJO Goggles for mobile viewing
• Larger LCD Monitors for feedlot use

ReproScan’s mission is to produce quality ultrasounds and stellar customer service. Elle Terhaar, a customer service representative says, “When you give us a call, we are going to treat you like family and get to know your operation. This allows us to put together a package for your specific setup.”
ReproScan has dealers and distributors located across the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay. Dr. Bronson notes that training new ReproScan equipment users is extremely important; in fact is a key component to their customer service. Since 2008, ReproScan personnel have offered hundreds of ultrasound training programs on five continents. ReproScan offers detailed training materials and videos with the purchase of each ultrasound unit. In addition, many ReproScan representatives offer personalized on-farm ultrasound training.