ultVBUValue Based Ultrasound

In 1996, Dr Rex Wilhelm and staff launched Value Based Ultrasound, a subsidiary of the Stuart Veterinary Clinic. Their goal was to provide live animal body composition (carcass) and reproductive evaluation using ultrasound. They had the vision to see the value and the impact ultrasound technology would have for their clients. They initially used ultrasound in cattle, horses, and hogs primarily, but now we have adapted it for many different uses in dogs, cats, sheep, goats, elk, and a variety of animal species. Below, we discuss the ultrasound services we provide by category.


ssangus 640x459Live Animal Body Composition (Carcass) Ultrasound

Dr. Shawn Nicholson is the primary cattle ultrasound technician for the clinic. He has been a certified beef cattle ultrasound technician for since 1994. During that time, he has ultrasound (scanned) thousands of head of beef cattle for carcass measurements.

Our cattle ultrasound clientele includes seed stock producers, commercial cattle producers, feedlots, heifer development groups, and county fairs. Dr. Shawn would gladly come to scan cattle on the farm, or they can be hauled in to our large animal working facility at the clinic.

Why do we measure carcass traits with ultrasound?
Carcass ultrasound data provides non-invasive, timely information to identify individual animals that possess exceptional carcass merit. This data can be used to calculate expected progeny differences (EPDs) ratios for comparison of breeding animals in the herd. For feedlots, cattle ultrasound can be used to help sort and market fat cattle more accurately. In either case, the main goal is to provide more profit for their operations.

What do we measure?
Back fat: primary determinant of % retail product
Ribeye Area: related to a total pounds of retail product
Percent intramuscular fat: highly correlated with the degree of marbling, the primary determinant of quality grade.
Rump fat: gives a better idea of overall fat cover and % retail product.

What animals do we measure and when?
Yearling bulls: best scanned between 320-440 days of age
Heifers: best scanned between 320-460 days of age
Feedlot: 30-90 days pre-harvest


Reproductive Ultrasound Evaluation

Dr. Shawn has performed thousands of reproductive ultrasound evaluations in cows, mares, sheep, goats, and elk since his arrival at Stuart.  Drs. Nate, Rachel and Matt have become very proficient as well,  which has helped us expand our ultrasound services even farther.  Below is a short list of the things they diagnose.

Early pregnancy diagnosis:
Using cattle ultrasound, pregnancy diagnosis can be made as early as day 21 (in cattle) and day 14 (in mares) of gestation with near 100% accuracy. Although only about 3 mm in length, the fetus and its beating heart can be visualized at this time.

Accurate Fetal Aging:
Fetal age can be determined within a range of only a few days. Accurate aging becomes more difficult as we get much beyond day 150 of gestation.

Fetal Sexing:
Fetal sex can be determined at near 100% accuracy between days 60-90 of gestation. Fetal sex can be determined with limited success after day 90.

Analysis of Ovarian Structures:
Differentiation can be made between corpora lutea, follicles and cysts.

Detection of twins:
This is most important in mare ultrasound and should be done at less than day 30 of gestation. In all other species, please contact us.

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