The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is now accepting applications for the Pregnancy Ultrasound School for sheep and cattle. The school will be held Dec. 5-6 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at 7887 U.S. Highway 87 N. in San Angelo.

Participants will learn how to determine pregnancy in sheep and cattle via ultrasonography. Students will be instructed on how to read ultrasound images, determine the stage of pregnancy and how to count litter size.

Space is limited and applications will be accepted until the school is full, or Dec. 1. Participants must be at least 18 years of age and may apply online. The cost is $150 for state residents or $250 for out-of-state participants. 

Participants can choose to focus on one species or gain experience with both sheep and cattle. The school is intended to fill a gap in the industry by enabling producers to perform ultrasounds on their own livestock.

 “Internationally, sheep farmers routinely use pregnancy detection via ultrasonography to improve flock productivity,” said Reid Redden, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension sheep and goat specialist, San Angelo. “Here in the U.S., there is a shortage of trained pregnancy scanners to provide this service. Our intent is to help farmers learn how to perform the test themselves and to assist veterinarians who are looking to gain large-scale commercial experience.”

The event will have a variety of ultrasound machines and probes for students to gain hands-on experience with. Those with ultrasound equipment are highly encouraged to bring their own equipment to learn upon. Bruce Carpenter, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension beef specialist, Fort Stockton; Shawn Ramsey, Ph.D., Texas A&M University professor of sheep and goat husbandry, College Station; Jake Thorne, AgriLife Extension associate, San Angelo; and Redden will instruct. 

“Commercial pregnancy determination is a veterinary-protected practice; this course is intended for individuals who wish to use this technology on their own flocks or herds,” said Redden. “Veterinarians are also welcome to attend.”

Basic rectal palpation skills in cattle will be needed for participants who want to learn trans-rectal ultrasound techniques in that species, said Carpenter.

For more information, contact Redden or Thorne at 325-653-4576.