Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the condition where a female animal has young, developing in her uterus. The period of pregnancy also known as gestation period is the time between conception and parturition (giving birth). It is economically important to detect if a female animal is pregnant or not.
There are a number of signs shown by female animals that are suggestive for a positive case, but on a proper diagnosis, it may not be found correct. When an animal is pregnant, it can demand a change in her feeding programme as well as the management from the early stage. In the case of pregnancy failure due to infertility, sterility, diseases, etc., the causes and curative measures should be inquired. If it becomes impossible to cure an animal, culling is preferable.
Early detection of pregnancy of an animal thus becomes an indispensable job of any herd owner or farmer.
Methods of Detecting Pregnancy in Animals
The various methods by which pregnancy can be detected in farm animals are:
- Through signs of pregnancy exhibited by the female animals and this can be detected externally.
- Through symptoms of pregnancy which can be detected by examination e.g. vaginum examination.
- Through laboratory test carried out biologically or chemically.
Signs of Pregnancy
When an animal is pregnant, there are various signs that the animal will exhibit. Some of these signs are as follows:
- The animal concerned tends to become sluggish in temperament and more tractable.
- There is an increase in body weight of the animal in the last half of pregnancy due to the development of foetus and hypertrophy of the uterus and mammary glands.
- The animal has a tendency to grow fat.
- There are changes in the mammary gland; as parturition approaches, the mammary gland becomes firm, enlarged and glossy, teats have a waxy appearance.
- There is a cessation of oestrus (heat); cessation of oestrus cycle after sexual copulation is the first indication of pregnancy, and it is very reliable although the following should be considered.
- Heat may be inhibited following mating due to hormonal dysfunctions.
- Low intensity of heat maybe overlooked and thus the animals may be thought to be pregnant.
- Sometimes animals still show signs of heat even after they are pregnant.
What is Gestation?
Gestation is another term for pregnancy/conception. The gestation period is the time of conception to the time of giving birth. The gestation period of animals species is different from each other. The chart below shows the gestation periods of some farm animals.
|Specie||Gestation period (days)|
Pregnancy and gestation are two things that are also important in animal husbandry. They must be considered for proper management of livestock.
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