The earlier you detect a non-viable fetus, the more quickly you can treat and rebreed the cow. In dairy and beef cattle, early embryonic death rates vary between 6 and 25%.
The use of ultrasound does not increase these rates. Therefore, rechecking a cow following an initial positive diagnosis of pregnancy is very important.
Using ultrasound allows you to see the movement and heartbeat of the fetus which confirms that the pregnancy is still viable. Use of manual palpation to diagnose fetal viability often results in misdiagnosis and a prolonged period where the cow is open.
Some indicators of fetal death are:
40 day pregnancy