Improving flock potential during and before lambing
The incidence of vaginal prolapse in ewes during late gestation is an increasing problem with significant losses of ewes and their litters.
Vaginal prolapse occurs before lambing and ranges from relatively mild to traumatic damage of the cervix. In severe cases prolapsed of the intestines through tears in the vaginal wall may occur.
Prolapse is a significant cause of ewe mortality
Vaginal prolapse occurs in about 1% of ewes although some flocks experience incidences as high as 7%
Prolapsed ewes also have increased risk of abortion, dystocia, stillbirth and post-lambing mortality
Prolapses often require veterinary treatment to return the tissue without incurring further damage or introducing infection. Sutures or a harness may be needed to help prevent further prolapsed before lambing. These sutures must be removed once the ewe starts labour to allow the lambs to be delivered successfully.
Triplet bearing ewes are often more prone to prolapse.
There are many possible causes of prolapsed although overfeeding during late gestation seems to be a strong contributory factor. Calcium deficiency has also been implicated.
Both of these causes can be minimised by careful nutritional management during pregnancy.
More information on this subject can be found in the HCC booklet ‘Making every lamb count
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