We applaud your article, “Preg-checking Options” (November 2010, page 32) as it encourages more beef producers to utilize pregnancy examinations to improve their profits. However, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) Reproduction Committee would like to offer several points of clarification. The following clarifications are provided by the Reproduction Committee with review and approval by the AABP Board.

1. Not all studies have shown that palpation or ultrasound by a skilled person causes abortion. Some embryonic and fetal loss is normal, particularly in the first two months of gestation.

2. Bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) virus is not spread rectally. It is possible for other blood-borne diseases, such as bovine leukosis virus (BLV) to be spread by palpation, but only if blood is present on the examination sleeve.

3. Ultrasound cannot detect pregnancy at 13 days in cows as it can in mares. Twenty-seven days is feasible and fast in the hands of a skilled operator. Portable battery-operated ultrasound units are also available that don’t need an external power supply.

4. BioPRYN is an excellent pregnancy test, but may not be the best option if skilled people are available for ultrasound or palpation. If labor cost is considered, ultrasound and rectal palpation often cost the same or less than BioPRYN. Skilled persons can scan or palpate as quickly as blood can be drawn. Ultrasound and palpation provide an immediate answer so cows can be sorted without handling a second time. Also, as indicated in the article, more information is provided with ultrasound or palpation.

As you illustrated in the article, beef producers have many options for pregnancy diagnosis. They should work with their veterinarian to select which method is most economical and helpful for them.

Jill Colloton, DVM
AABP Reproduction Committee

Localized national ID

I would like to offer a few comments on your article entitled “National ID – Round 2,” (October 2010, page 46).

Before undertaking the development of a traceback system, a need for the system should be demonstrated. It appears to me that a two-fold system would be required – one of them for chronic diseases, which are slow to spread and generally involve older animals. In this case, the need for immediate tracing is not critical. Targeting the ID to older animals would relieve the burden and cost of identifying younger animals.

Meanwhile, in the case of a highly contagious disease, an individual ID system would be of secondary importance. It would contribute very little to the control of an outbreak. Containment would be the first
Even with a 100% ID system, if a highly contagious disease passed through a large livestock market such as the Oklahoma National Stockyards, it would be physically impossible to trace all the animals within a few days.

Different parts of the country have different needs. A variable system that targets specific needs would be less costly and more reliable. It might be that each state in collaboration with USDA could devise a system that meets their needs without burdening other areas where the need (disease) doesn’t exist.

It’s been more than 80 years since the last outbreak in cattle of a serious disease with epidemic potential.
Can we justify an expensive ID system that will be of questionable value?

Ralph Jenner
Norman, OK

Land grab addendum

Just wanted to say how much I appreciated the great article “Monumental Grab” (November, page 40). I’m very glad that this problem of monument designation is getting out to the public.

However, the writer of this article forgot to mention that Phillips County is not the only county that will be affected by this proposed monument. Valley, Fergus and Garfield counties are also part of the proposed monument. I hope that you will continue to run articles about this and inform more people about this issue.

Francine Cummings
Saco, MT