Leading the Way in Livestock Health
As the top-ranked veterinary school in the world, UC Davis sets the bar for innovation – even when it comes to breeding sheep from embryos half way around the globe. When Snazzy Duckworth wanted to incorporate the hardy Awassi breed into her existing herd to better withstand the arid California climate, she turned to Dr. Bret McNabb and the Livestock Herd Health and Reproduction Service.
“Awassi are indigenous to southwest Asia deserts and were introduced to other parts of the world nearly 30 years ago, but not to the Western United States.”
McNabb and his team used embryos collected from Awassi ewes in Australia, that were frozen and shipped to the U.S., to perform laparoscopic-assisted embryo transfers – a minimally invasive method – to successfully produce eight sheep.
Duckworth credits the veterinary team for launching a new direction for her family’s farm, and plans to use the sheep for dairy and fiber production, as well as semen and offspring sales. She’s particularly fond of the unique orange and brown wool coloring of the Awassi sheep when they are young.
“We’re already sold out of the fleece products we’ll create from their wool,” she said.
Awassi are indigenous to southwest Asia deserts and were introduced to other parts of the world nearly 30 years ago, but not to the Western United States. Since livestock importation into the U.S. is prohibited, embryo transfer was her only option.
Clients like Duckworth will further benefit from the new Livestock and Field Services Center as part of the planned UC Davis Veterinary Medical Center. With upgraded facilities and equipment, veterinary teams will be able to offer more services such as embryo transfer to benefit California’s agricultural families and economy. Transforming the future of veterinary medicine, the Veterinary Medical Center is one of the six UC Davis’ Big Ideas—forward-thinking, interdisciplinary initiatives that will build upon the strengths of the university to positively impact the world.