Today was probably the most fun class day we have had yet! The day started out at 8 with a trip to a local dairy for our first real experience with anything “bull”. We ran the bulls into the squeeze shoot for a little… fertility testing. ūüôā I had a little bit of experience with this¬†procedure¬†back in my Fairfield Veterinary Hospital days, but I was anxious to get back in the saddle again so to speak. For the sake of some of the more traditional readers, I’ll spare all the funny details and just put it delicately like this:

First, the bull’s testicles are examined and measured using a really awesome tape measurer (36 cm is the minimum requirement). Then, the bull’s innards are manually examined. If satisfactory, a rocket shaped probe with electrodes is placed inside the bull and he is given a little bit of electric pulsation and after a bit of coaxing the sample is collected.

We did 3 bulls and after each collection, we looked at the “specimens” under a microscope to check for motility. All of these bulls checked out!

After the dairy, we went back to the college and lectured for an hour before lunch. After lunch, it was up to the lab for some real fun! We started out with some easy microscope exercises. We looked at epithelial cells from the uterus and some cells from the placenta. Pretty cool. But after that–we got to have some real fun.

We learned how to use the ultrasound machines! There were a few different types and we even got to ultrasound ourselves if we wanted! We each were given a cow reproductive tract (uterus, uterine horns, ovaries). We ultrasounded our tracts, diagnosed a pregnancy, and estimated how many days pregnant the cow was. We even got a picture of our ultrasound (mine is on facebook if you’d like to see). I got a great picture of the rib cage of our calf. After the ultrasound, it was time to dissect. We were careful not to pierce the placenta and we first removed the whole placenta from the uterus. After that, we cut into the placenta, and “delivered” the membrane covered calf. We removed the membranes and further examined our calves. Our original calf was stolen from us, so we had a calf that was less days in gestation. His membranes were very thin and when his umbilical cord sloughed, he fell apart in our hands (but there’s also a good picture of him on facebook). It was too early to know if this calf was definitely male or female, but we guessed female because of the lack of a presence of a¬†rudimentary¬†sheath.

I cannot wait for tomorrow! We are going to another dairy and palpate and ultrasound pregnant (LIVE) cows! Woohoo!