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Advanced livestock pregnancy tests to boost profits

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A new advanced blood pregnancy test for cows has been introduced in the country and is bound to improve accuracy with faster results to boost profits for livestock farmers.

In a statement, Dr Ahmed Kalebi, a pathologist and CEO of Lancet Group of Labs yesterday said farmers will breathe a sigh of relief following  the new rapid visual pregnancy test that will see farmers take less than 30 minutes to do a pregnancy test on a cow.

The new rapid test will also help reduce infection and abortion or miscarriage in cows which is common in the manual method that is currently used by veterinary doctors.

Dr Kalebi said the simple test will take only 21 minutes to detect pregnancy in a cow. “The new technology uses a simple blood test to detect pregnancy in cows as early as 28 days after insemination,” he added.

He explained that normally the manual method where a veterinary inserts the hand and forearm through the rectum of the animal to feel for the womb, can only be done after 40 to 45 days.

Dr Kalebi further said that a rapid test kit will cost a farmer only Ksh 1,000 while the conventional method costs a farmer Ksh 1, 400 due to a follow up which is done two weeks after insemination.

“This rapid test allows the farmers to decide in good time whether to re-inseminate non-pregnant cows or check for possible health problems preventing pregnancy or sell them to save costs of maintaining unproductive animals,” said Kalebi.

He added that using the conventional methods, farmers would have to wait for at least another two weeks before a rectal examination by an expert would identify a non-pregnant cow.

“This means that they would lose at least Ksh 7, 500 on feed, labour and other related costs of owning an unproductive cow over the 15- 20 days of uncertainty waiting,” he noted.

Dr Kalebi added that it will also help in reducing financial waste, optimizing milk production when combined with other management best practices and ensuring continuity of the productive stock.

Lancet’s Head of Veterinary Services Dr Dhaval Shah said the new test is meant to complement the conventional methods. “While the test identifies pregnant animals early after insemination, the same blood sample collected from the tail of the cow can also be used to test for possible diseases that may prevent or impair livestock pregnancy. As a result, the general herd health is improved,” he observed.

Shah reiterated that a milk-based rapid test will be introduced early next year in Kenya to make it more convenient to sample animals during milking instead of individually isolating them for blood sampling.

Dr Kenneth Wameyo, a veterinary doctor and Honorary Secretary of the Kenya Veterinary Association, said early and accurate diagnosis of pregnancy was ideal for early identification of fertility problems and to achieve planned seasons of calving and prescribed calving intervals.

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“Initially, we have been testing pregnancy using manual methods by hand or observing but with the new method, we learn the status of herds at early stages,” he added.

Wameyo said the new laboratory test had been shown to be more accurate unlike the manual methods that are estimated to misdiagnose almost half of pregnancies especially in inexperienced hands.

The test produced through Lancet’s veterinary diagnostic services is available across the country and the wider East African region through Lancet’s branch networks of over 40 laboratories and service points.

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