Thirty-five farmed red deer hinds two years of age or older were observed during mating in April and May and the dates of oestrus and, or, matings were recorded. From immediately before the breeding season and at approximately weekly intervals from the start of mating until all deer were 42 days pregnant, rectal ultrasonographic scans were taken using a 5 MHz linear transducer while deer were held standing in a restraining device. Scans were recorded on video. The vagina and cervix were visible with the lumen appearing as a continuous or intermittent white line, respectively. The non-pregnant uterus was observed in most cases and was immediately anterior to the bladder. Structures resembling ovaries were seen only occasionally. By seven days gestation a 5 mm vesicle could be observed in a few deer, and by day 14, oedema of uterine horns was apparent in some cases. A comma-shaped fetal mass 6 mm long, fetal membranes and placentomes could be observed on day 24. The heart beat was observed on day 28 when the fetus was 10 mm long. Limb buds were observed on day 31 and by day 37 the head with nose and eyes was distinguishable. Fetal movements were first observed on day 42. The accuracy of pregnancy detection before day 20 was 35 per cent, between 21 and 30 days gestation 71 per cent and from 31 to 42 days 98 per cent.
- British Veterinary Association. All rights reserved.
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