Training on Advanced Bovine Embryo Flushing in Bhutan

December 12, 2018

The Crawford Fund recently supported Dr. Jasmin Hyatt, a veterinarian specialising in reproduction, and Hugh Stahel, on assignment as part of the Australian Government’s Australian Volunteers International (AVI) program, on their visit to the National Nublang Breeding Farm in Trashigang, Bhutan for training in embryo flushing.

In Bhutan, which is landlocked by the Himalayas and almost 70% of its population depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, there are concerns over the erosion of its endemic livestock. A genebank has been developed to ensure the preservation of Bhutan’s domestic species, particularly the unique Nublang breed of cattle.

Non-surgical embryo retrieval, or ‘flushing’, was carried out on selected donor cows over three days, under the supervision and guidance of Dr. Hyatt. A mobile laboratory was setup in an indoor environment to protect embryos from direct sunlight, temperature fluctuations and contaminants. Searching for embryos and any eventual freezing was carried out by local staff under advice and guidance from Hugh Stahel.

Training focused on tips and improvements on palpation, animal handling, AI, hormonal synchronisation, catheter placement, flushing, embryo searching and grading.

Discussions were held each afternoon and ideas were exchanged on how the embryology program could be improved and adapted to better suit Bhutan’s unique conditions, taking into consideration limitations resulting from economical, topographical and seasonal factors, as well as available manpower.

Overall the training was a tremendous success, and the teams from NBC, NNBF and NDRC extend their deep gratitude to The Crawford Fund and Dr. Jasmin Hyatt for their time and kind assistance.