Collecting blood from a heifer is just like a person going to the doctor and having blood drawn. We collect the blood in a sterile tube, that is kept cold until we get the sample back to the lab for analysis.
Blood collection in cattle is used for more than just research. There are now pregnancy tests available for cattle where the producer can take a blood sample from the tail vein, just like Katie and I did, and send the sample into a lab. They analyze the sample for a protein, Pregnancy Specific Protein B, and if the protein is detected the cow is considered pregnant! This is a great option for producers who may not have access to a veterinarian for the cattle to be tested for pregnancy by ultrasound or palpation.
Here are some photos that were taken the past week -
Our patient. The heifers are very calm in the chute and usually will wait patiently until we are done. While we are collecting the blood sample, the guys will look her over to make sure she is in good health.
Katie collecting a blood sample from a vein that runs on the bottom side of the cows tail.
The blood entering the tube. This is usually a very fast process.
We record the weight of the heifer.
Katie and I, the blood collecting team. It's a dirty job by the time we get through with all the heifers. I have never been very good at staying clean! Maybe Mike Rowe could come out and do a show?
A blood collection day is never complete without Shipley Donuts for our morning snack!