BioPRYN pregnancy test offers a new choice for producers
Laramie – BioPRYN is a blood based pregnancy test for cattle, and yet another option available to producers today.
Its differences from traditional palpation pregnancy tests include taking a blood sample and mailing it to a lab to be tested for a specific protein. It’s advertised as being over 99 percent accurate and results take 27 hours to get after the sample arrives at the lab. The cost is currently set at $2.50 per head through Eagle Talon Enterprises LLC of Laramie.
“During the test we are looking for a Pregnancy Specific Protein B (PSPB),” explains Eagle Talon Enterprises owner Tanya Madden. “That protein is present in the maternal blood early in gestation, but not at high enough levels for us to detect until 30 days into gestation.”
She adds that a cow can be guaranteed at 99.9 percent accuracy of being open at 30 days post AI or bull exposure.
“At 30 days the producer or his vet can draw blood. I am also happy to go out and help a producer learn how to draw blood, but they should only have to pay me for that service once, as it’s pretty straightforward. Blood is typically drawn from the tail because it’s easier for most people and more accessible. We tell producers that 2 cc is a standard minimum,” explains Madden.
Samples are put in a red- or marble-topped tube, the cow’s eartag number is put on the tube, and it’s shipped to Madden’s lab in Laramie. She notes no special handling, ice or other extra precautions are needed to ship the samples.
“Upon receiving samples I put them in an Enzyme Link Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), which to producers means a rapid test. We’re looking for a specific protein, and we use antibiotics stuck to a plate. If the protein is present it will also stick to the plate and causes a color change. If the protein isn’t present, nothing happens,” explains Madden in a brief explanation of the process through which she takes the samples.
Three steps and about 27 hours later, Madden will have the sample results and can email or fax them back to clients.
“It’s convenient in a variety of situations. Producers who AI can know within 30 days if a cow is open, and they don’t risk sluffing a calf by cycling the cow again. Producers can draw the blood themselves while running their cows through the chute for fall work. They can identify their open cows earlier in the season and sell them while the market is higher without putting additional feed into them,” explains Madden.
Disadvantages include having to locate and sort off open cows after they’ve been in once, and relying on the mail system.
“Using the mail is the bad part. If we want our results fast we have to overnight the samples to Tanya. Once she gets them it goes really fast. If I could just email her those tubes it would be great,” notes Weink Charolais partner Jeff Eschenbaum.
“This was our first year doing it, and down the road we might end up doing the whole herd that way. I feel it’s a viable option. We just get the tubes and needles from our vet and draw the blood ourselves. It allows us to identify open cattle in a timely manner, which is important because we are a purebred producer and always trying to get our sale catalog done in the fall. We just need to know if they’re pregnant so we can get everything lined up for our sale, and this works. I like it,” says Eschenbaum.
Oklahoma producer Gale Smith also used Madden’s services for the first time this year and enjoys the quick service and convenience associated with the process.
“I like that I can do it myself, on my time and when it’s convenient for me. If you hire a vet to come out you have to do it on their time. It’s handy to go ahead and draw the blood when I already have the cattle in. Then, if there are opens I can gather them when I have time and ship them,” notes Smith.
Smith runs stocker cattle, registered Angus and registered Hereford cows and commercial cows. To date he’s only sent in samples from his heifers, and was just starting on his cows.
“It may not work for everyone, but it works really well for me. I’m very please with the process,” comments Smith.