South Waikato veterinary Services

Pregnancy Testing


We offer a fast and efficient service for pregnancy testing your herd. With any numbers of cows over 30-50, we will use one of our portable ‘backpack’ ultrasound scanners. These allow us to diagnose and age pregnancies both quickly and accurately. As vets, we have the advantage of performing a complete manual exam if there is any question about what we are seeing on the ultrasound. This is especially useful in the case of empty cows, as we will usually confirm an ultrasounded ‘empty’ cow with a manual check.

Minda & Scanning

For those farms signed up to Minda, scanning has become even more accurate. We will arrive on farm with all of your AI data and will match AI dates with what the vet is visualising on the ultrasound. With this data, we can calculate in-calf rates quickly and accurately, form induction lists and identify problem areas for your individual farm. With this data being stored within Minda, we are able to start comparing information between seasons to note improvements after plans are implemented.

Why test your cows?

Non Cyclers
Early scanning can identify cows you thought weren’t cycling due to being in calf, when they are actually phantom cows (cows you think are pregnant but aren’t!). Early scanning means early intervention to be able to get these cows in calf. We are able to identify pregnancies as early as about 40 days (or 6 weeks in calf). We can also find damaged or infected cows who will never get in calf, even if cycling happily. In calf rate to AI

We often scan to check the in-calf rate to AI to ensure targets are being met. Obviously it will be too late to change the in-calf rate to AI for that season, but if you are behind target, you will know there are problems that need to be identified and changes implemented before the next mating season begins. Identifying empty cows

Even scanning your herd at the end of mating has its benefits. It allows you to identify those which are empty and mark them for future sale, rather than paying to send them to drystock and feeding a cow who will never calve or come back into milk.

When to scan your cows

If you plan on intervening early in cases of phantom cows, we need to perform early scans in your herd. We can start scanning as early as 6 weeks after your mating start date and go from there. If a cow was mated 6 weeks ago and has not cycled since, but has no foetus, intervention is then possible. We need accurate AI data to perform these scans, with you ideally signed up to Infovet.

If you want to know your in-calf rate to AI, the ideal time to scan is at least 6 weeks after the changeover from AI to bull mating. Any longer than 12 weeks after the changeover, and we will not be able to tell you which pregnancies are due to AI and which are due to the bull. For example, if we scan 8 weeks after the changeover, every pregnancy that has a foetus which is older than 8 weeks, is an AI calf. All foetuses which are 6-8 weeks of age are bull matings. Once a calf is over 14 weeks, accurate aging is not possible and we can only tell you the cow is ‘well in calf.’ A second scan can then be performed 6 weeks after the end of mating to find any empty cows.

Please keep in mind that if the second scan is only those cows which have not already been scanned (instead of the whole herd), there will be some cows that were scanned in the first group that will have slipped, then gotten back in calf to the bull and thus be missed as a late cow.

If you are a farm who only wants to know which cows are empty at the end of your mating period, we can perform this with a single herd scan. This scan must be at least 6 weeks AFTER the bull has been removed from the herd. If a scan is performed before this time we will be unable to call a cow ‘empty’ as she may be in calf to the bull with a 3 week old foetus that we are unable to visualise on the ultrasound.


The South Waikato Veterinary Services team is committed to providing top quality and extensive professional services to the Tokoroa, Putaruru, Whakamaru, Mangakino, Tirohanga and Atiamuri areas.

Get In Touch

Contact us at one of our 3 locations

2 Satco Drive, Tokoroa

75 Tirau St, Putaruru

108 State Highway 30, Whakamaru

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