Hi, I'm Barbara Wiseman
I come from a farming/science background. At the time, I was rearing calves, keeping sheep
and actively engaged in contracting work.
The Hill Farm Research Organisation (HFRO) was set up by the Government to explore ways of making hill farms more viable. Sheep had been selectively bred to produce more than one lamb. However, this led to a huge rise in a condition called ‘Twin Lamb Disease’, which if untreated proved fatal.
Scientists - led by Dr Angus Russell wondered whether it would be possible to establish foetal numbers using human machines. He found it was successful and developed a course for budding scanners like myself. We were able to attend a 2 DAY intensive course covering all aspects of scanning and then we were unleashed on the farming community.
"The only way to minimize errors is by a careful scanning technique."
Throughout the 2 years of training, we aspired to Dr Angus Russell's practices - "Under normal farming conditions accuracies of diagnosis of pregnancy of more than 99.5%, of differentiation of barren, single-bearing and multiple bearing ewes of 98%, and of determination of actual foetal numbers of 97% should be achieved."
I would like to say that we managed to achieve this but the truth was that the first year was a very steep learning curve with many an error made. However by year 2, after thousands of scans, we were able to achieve a scan rate of up to 250 sheep per hour and an accuracy of 98%.
Meanwhile, on the farm, we had acquired an abandoned bitch who visibly grew fatter daily...
I wondered whether I could scan her based on the experience I had learnt. She was pregnant and the regular scanning over a period of time worked. This is how I started the scanning of bitches. She was also the inspiration for my young daughter's sketch.
I continued to develop my
knowledge of canine pregnancy
and the importance of pre-mating assessment.
Very little was known at that time about the progression of bitch pregnancies as the existing research into midterm foetal growth resulted in the loss of the foeti and the final outcome of that pregnancy could only be guessed at. The effect of different levels of nutrition was also not fully understood. I scanned at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition (Pedigree Petfoods) where various feeding regimes were being fed enabling the effect on the growing foetus to be studied and giving me a greater insight to the requirements of individual bitches and the importance of the pre-mating assessment of bitch condition. A local vet provided me with his Vet College books and together with my ever-increasing knowledge I was able to move forward.
On the road, developing my skills
and experience with animal pregnancy scanning.
I spent the next 2 years attending, at first, local dog shows and, subsequently, Championship shows demonstrating what could be achieved and inviting people to bring their bitches to me to scan. I recorded the details of each mating and repeated the scans weekly recording all details. At the end of that time, I felt sufficiently competent enough to start to charge for my service.
Since then I have had many happy years of scanning bitches.
Throughout this time the wonder of the first glimpse of developing life has never left me.
I have spoken to the young vets at the veterinary school Langford in Bristol and at several seminars around the country and hope that my experience may lead to a better one for both the bitch and her family.
A very wise choice!
I have been using Barbara to scan pregnancy in my dogs for 30 years. She always provides me with accurate information that is of huge assistance in preparing for safe delivery. She has gained a vast body of knowledge that is shared with her clients. I wholeheartedly recommend her as being one of the very best in the business!