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Using an Ultrasound

Updated: Jan 13, 2023

The use of Ultrasound (sono) has become more popular over the past few years. More dairy goat owners are researching the possible benefits of owning an ultrasound machine. We will review some benefits, types of machines, and basics of ultrasound to see if this might be a benefit to your herd.

What Is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound sends waves away from the probe (transducer) and records how they bounce back and the time it takes to bounce back. This is what creates the picture that is seen. White on the sono are areas that bounce back faster and black is the area that takes the longest to bounce back. Fluid and air does not bounce back sound waves, so this shows up black. Bone and tissue do bounce back waves, so it shows up white.

Uses of Sono in the Goat World

The primary use of ultrasound in the dairy goat world is pregnancy confirmation and determining number of potential kids. Ultrasound can allow for more opportunities for management of does. We all know that those does who we wonder if she’s pregnant or just a little pudgy. Feedings can be adjusted for those who are still open or those who have a whole herd in there, vaccinations like our CDT boosters in late pregnancy can be given with accurate timing, and other decisions about the doe who will not settle can be made. If there are possible multiple breeding dates from herd breeding, ultrasound can help to pinpoint the likely date of pregnancy. Ultrasound can be done as early as day 20, but most accurate diagnosis is between 32-34 days gestation with a specificity of 100 percent (​Gonzales-Bulnes et al. 2010).The number kids can be determined up to 100 days, but the best time is somewhere between 30 and 50 days post breeding.

Brands of Ultrasound Machines

There are several brands of ultrasound machines. Price can vary significantly from just under $1000 to over $5000. Two popular portable models are Contec CMS600 which can be found on Ebay or Amazon readily and the VIS ScanPad. The most common transducer or probe is the convex probe for use with goats.

How to Scan

When looking for pregnancy, put a liberal amount of ultrasound scan gel (this is different from OB lubricant) on the probe, and then place the probe against the abdomen above the udder in the hairless area between the leg and body. The ultrasound sends out waves and makes an image. If the doe if pregnant, images of the uterus, fluid inside the uterus and the skeleton of the kid(s) can be visualized. If she is not pregnant the uterus maybe in a different position/area and instead the bladder and intestines are seen. When using the ultrasound for counting you should slowly scan from right to left at the same level to localize the pregnancy. After that, the direction of the scanning movements should be perpendicular to the first set of movements at different levels to cover the complete scanning area systematically to avoid scanning the same fetus twice.


Erdoğan, Güneş. (2011). Ultrasonic Assessment During Pregnancy in Goats - A Review. Reproduction in domestic animals = Zuchthygiene. 47. 157-63. 10.1111/j.1439-0531.2011.01873.x. S

Karadaev, M.. (2015). Pregnancy diagnosis techniques in goats – A review. BULGARIAN JOURNAL OF VETERINARY MEDICINE. 18. 183-193. 10.15547/bjvm.837.

Jamie Lynn Stewart , DVM and Clifford F. Shipley , DVM, DACT. ​ (2019). Pregnancy Determination in Goats. ​Merck and the Merck Veterinary Manual. s/pregnancy-determination-in-goats?query=use%20of%20ultrasound%20goat

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