National Zoo vets give Mei Xiang ultrasounds, hope to detect fetus

Mei Xiang (Smithsonian National Zoo)

Veterinarians at the Smithsonian National Zoo have been giving Mei Xiang weekly ultrasounds in hopes of detecting a fetus.

Scientists at the zoo found a rise in Mei Xiang's hormones, which means she will give birth, or end a pseudo pregnancy in 30 to 50 days.

According to scientists, it's too early to see a panda cub on an ultrasound, but vets are tracking changes in Mei Xiang's uterus.

Sadly, finding a fetus on an ultrasound doesn't guarantee the birth of a panda cub, the mother could miscarry or reabsorb the fetus, the zoo says.

Panda pregnancies can last from three to six months.

Every year, about a month after scientists inseminate Mei Xiang, they perform ultrasounds, the zoo says.

Mei Xiang is awake during these ultrasounds, which means she has to choose to participate, the zoo says.

She receives some of her favorite treats if she chooses to participate.

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