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Factors affecting the accuracy of pregnancy scanning in ewes
  1. C. Fridlund,
  2. P. Humblot,
  3. R. Båge and
  4. L. Söderquist
  1. Division of Reproduction, Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), P.O. Box 7054, Uppsala SE-750 07, Sweden
  1. E-mail for correspondence: Lennart.Soderquist{at}


The objective was to evaluate the accuracy of pregnancy scanning by transabdominal ultrasonography and affecting factors. Altogether 44,783 ewes were registered (2008–2010), 39,724 diagnosed as pregnant and subsequently lambed. The ewes, 0.5–14 years old, were divided into 4 age and 6 breed groups and analysed. The accuracy (per cent; number of scanned fetuses/number of born lambs) decreased with increasing number of fetuses (P < 0.001). Overall accuracy was 90.3 per cent, highest (93.7 per cent) in ewes carrying one fetus, 91.9 per cent, 82.4 per cent, and 74.9 per cent in ewes with 2, 3 and ≥4 fetuses at scanning, respectively. Finnsheep ewes with highest number of lambs showed lowest accuracy (P < 0.001). Analyses of a more complete sub set of data (n = 23,396), showed that number of fetuses diagnosed, breed, age of ewe, operator and time in gestation, significantly affected the accuracy. Accuracy decreased with age of ewe (P < 0.001) and was 71.8 per cent, 91.6 per cent and 89.3 per cent for scanning at <40, 40–80 and 81–100 days of gestation, respectively (P < 0.001). In general, the numbers of fetuses were overestimated at scanning and increased gradually with number of fetuses diagnosed. In conclusion, the accuracy was affected by several factors, which should be considered when interpreting/implementing the results, especially in breeds with high fecundity.

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