The aim of this study was to establish baseline ultrasound data concerning the mule conceptus during gestation. Ten multiparous Trotter mares were artificially inseminated with chilled semen from an Amiatino jack donkey. Daily transrectal ultrasonography was carried out from the day of ovulation until Day 50 of gestation to determine the following: first detection of the embryonic vesicle (EV), mobility phase, EV diameter, day of EV fixation, changes in EV shape, date of yolk sac regression and embryo crown-rump length. Monthly ultrasonic assessments from Day 50 of gestation to term were carried out. These assessments included an evaluation of fetal well-being and the growth of the mule conceptus, which were monitored using the following variables: cardiac activity, fetal activity and presentation, fetal fluid echogenicity, combined thickness of the utero-placenta unit and fetal orbital and aortic diameter. Mule EV first detection was observed earlier (37% at Day 8) than that observed in the equine pregnancy. EV diameter at first detection was 4.6 ± 1.1 mm. At Day 10, 75% of EVs were detected. EV fixation occurred on Day 17.1 24 ± 1.1, with a mean EV diameter of 2.5 ± 0.2 cm. EV growth rate was 4.04 mm/day from Days 11 to 16, 0.4 25 mm/day from Days 16 to 28 and 1.78 mm/day from Days 28 to 45 of pregnancy. The embryo proper was first detected on Day 19.9 ± 1.9 (average length 2.4 ± 1.4 mm), and the embryonic heartbeat was first detected on Day 24 ± 2.4. The fetal carotid pulse was observed at six months of gestation and provided a good means by which to estimate fetal cardiac activity in advanced gestation. The fetal heart rate was recorded from Month 2 of gestation to term. The mean ± SD of the combined uteroplacental thickness was assessed at the cervical-placental junction and at the ventral abdomen in mares between Months 2 and 5 until term, respectively. An abnormal fetal-placental unit and fetal inactivity was observed in association with abortion. Mule-conceptus biometric measurements correlated significantly with the gestational age, and these data were used to predict an unusually large mule fetus, which might result in dystocia. In conclusion, we can assume that early diagnosis of pregnancy failure and assessment of foetal biophysical profile and growth charts could improve the chances of gestation completion in mule-pregnant mares. The early detection of mares at risk for an abnormal pregnancy or delivery may increase the success of prompt treatments, therefore preventing costly emergency procedures and allowing proper obstetrical and neonatal assistance.

Ultrasonographic features of the mule embryo, fetus and fetal-placental unit

PAOLUCCI, MARCO;PALOMBI, CLAUDIO;SYLLA, Lakamy;MONACI, Maurizio
2012

Abstract

The aim of this study was to establish baseline ultrasound data concerning the mule conceptus during gestation. Ten multiparous Trotter mares were artificially inseminated with chilled semen from an Amiatino jack donkey. Daily transrectal ultrasonography was carried out from the day of ovulation until Day 50 of gestation to determine the following: first detection of the embryonic vesicle (EV), mobility phase, EV diameter, day of EV fixation, changes in EV shape, date of yolk sac regression and embryo crown-rump length. Monthly ultrasonic assessments from Day 50 of gestation to term were carried out. These assessments included an evaluation of fetal well-being and the growth of the mule conceptus, which were monitored using the following variables: cardiac activity, fetal activity and presentation, fetal fluid echogenicity, combined thickness of the utero-placenta unit and fetal orbital and aortic diameter. Mule EV first detection was observed earlier (37% at Day 8) than that observed in the equine pregnancy. EV diameter at first detection was 4.6 ± 1.1 mm. At Day 10, 75% of EVs were detected. EV fixation occurred on Day 17.1 24 ± 1.1, with a mean EV diameter of 2.5 ± 0.2 cm. EV growth rate was 4.04 mm/day from Days 11 to 16, 0.4 25 mm/day from Days 16 to 28 and 1.78 mm/day from Days 28 to 45 of pregnancy. The embryo proper was first detected on Day 19.9 ± 1.9 (average length 2.4 ± 1.4 mm), and the embryonic heartbeat was first detected on Day 24 ± 2.4. The fetal carotid pulse was observed at six months of gestation and provided a good means by which to estimate fetal cardiac activity in advanced gestation. The fetal heart rate was recorded from Month 2 of gestation to term. The mean ± SD of the combined uteroplacental thickness was assessed at the cervical-placental junction and at the ventral abdomen in mares between Months 2 and 5 until term, respectively. An abnormal fetal-placental unit and fetal inactivity was observed in association with abortion. Mule-conceptus biometric measurements correlated significantly with the gestational age, and these data were used to predict an unusually large mule fetus, which might result in dystocia. In conclusion, we can assume that early diagnosis of pregnancy failure and assessment of foetal biophysical profile and growth charts could improve the chances of gestation completion in mule-pregnant mares. The early detection of mares at risk for an abnormal pregnancy or delivery may increase the success of prompt treatments, therefore preventing costly emergency procedures and allowing proper obstetrical and neonatal assistance.
2012
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/216891
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