7 March 1997

Cervical prolapses up – flockmasters should act now

CERVICAL prolapses are becoming more common as lambing approaches and affected ewes must be treated quickly to reduce damage.

Cumbrian vet Matt Colston, of Frame and Swift, Penrith, warns that once the prolapse starts coming out it causes irritation and the ewe strains making it worse.

"Try to catch the prolapse before the vaginal lining is damaged," he says. "Various devices are available to tie in early cases – some allow the ewe to lamb over the top of them." The choice of device depends on prolapse severity. But when the lining is damaged it must be stitched in and the ewe watched closely for the stitches must be removed at lambing.

Prolapses usually occur in older ewes which have more relaxed pelvic floor muscles and ligaments holding the vagina and uterus, says Mr Colston.

Cervical prolapses are caused by a combination of factors including lack of room inside the body and high roughage, high volume diets.

"Prevention includes feeding the correct diet for the ewe based on the number of lambs being carried and maintaining the correct body condition score. But a few will happen anyway," he says.

After lambing ewes risk uterine prolapses which may be caused by straining which inverts the tip of the uterine horn, he says.

"Pulling the cleansing can start off uterine prolapses. Call the vet to put the uterus back in before its damaged."

Cervical prolapses are on the increase as lambing approaches – once the prolapse starts coming out, the ewe strains, making it worse.


SHEEP: WATCH FOR


&#8226 Abortion and pregnancy toxaemia pre-lambing.

&#8226 Mastitis and hypocalcaemia post-lambing.

&#8226 Watery mouth and coccidiosis in lambs.