This case report documents the application of transabdominal ultrasonography for detecting pregnancy and monitoring fetal development in an unanesthetized, unrestrained babirusa (Babyrousa babyrussa). A 4-yr-old multiparous female babirusa was trained to accept monitoring via transabdominal ultrasonography on a weekly basis postcoitus. Uterine changes associated with pregnancy were first detected at 30 days gestation. Three fetuses were first visualized on day 38, and two of the three fetuses were detectable until term. One fetus failed to develop and appeared to be resorbed between days 80 and 94 of the 161-day pregnancy. The growth of the remaining two fetuses was monitored via cranial measurements taken during the weekly scans throughout the pregnancy. By monitoring a subsequent pregnancy via ultrasound in the same female it was possible to confirm her tendency towards partial resorption, with earliest detection of uterine changes on day 32 and apparent resorption of one of three fetuses at approximately the midpoint of gestation. Two rectal scans of a different female under anesthesia at 28 and 50 days gestation showed stages of development comparable to those visualized transabdominally. However, the transabdominal scans produced better images of the reproductive tract, perhaps because of the close proximity of the pregnant uterus to the abdominal wall.
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Vol. 32 • No. 3