Bovine superovulation and flushing

It is the most established classical technique to produce embryos from donor cows. The service is usually done at the farm or if required, the donor can also be hosted at Avantea center. Superovulation can be carried out on animals who have reached puberty, that exhibit a regular estrous cycle and are in optimal gynecological conditions.
The technique consists in the pharmacological treatment of the donor (9-11 days after the heat), with gonadotropins (that usually are pituitary swine extracts) in order to induce ovulation of more follicles simultaneously. The heat is longer than normal and two or three inseminations are performed. Seven days after insemination, uterine flushing for the collection of embryos that are developing in the uterus is carried out. After careful evaluation, good quality embryos may be frozen or transferred to synchronized recipients. On average, 5-6 embryos are collected (one third of the donors do not respond to treatment, one third produces from 1 to 3 embryos and the remaining third produces more than 3 embryos). The treatment can be repeated at intervals of 6-8 weeks. Treatments on young animals or repeated for a long time can have side effects by reducing the fertility of the donors or creating problems at mammary glands level (temporary reduction of milk production, laxity of the suspensory ligament, etc.). Donors with high production and/or in negative energy balance may give poor results whilst dry animals generally give more consistent results.

The pictures show flushing technique procedure:
A) preparation of donor animal;
B) epidural anesthesia;
C) insertion of the dilator;
D) flushing catheter;
E) inflation of the baloon;
F) Y-piece for release and collection of washing liquid.

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