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This is the third presentation in a series of webinars on ewe and doe management. This presentation covers parturition.

This is the third presentation in a series of webinars on ewe and doe management. This presentation covers parturition.

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  • 1. SUSAN SCHOENIAN (Shāy-nē-ŭn) Sheep & Goat SpecialistWestern Maryland Research & Education Centersschoen@umd.edu – www.sheepandgoat.com
    2011 Ewe and Doe Management Webinar Series
    Small Ruminant Program
  • 2. 2011 Ewe and Doe Management Webinar Series
    Jan 13 I. Late Gestation
    Jan 20 II. Vaccinations
    Feb 3 III. Parturition
    Feb 10 IV. Neonatal Care
    Feb 17 V. Lactation
    Feb 24 VI. Weaning
  • 3. Parturition
    The act or process of giving birth
    Lambing and kidding
  • 4. Know when the babies are due
    Breeding date
    Marking harness
    Rattle paint
    Hand mating
    Dates of male introduction and removal.
    Date(s) of “accidental” exposure.
    • You won’t know if you never remove males or don’t write anything down.
    One week less than 5 months and I might be pushing out babies. You better be ready!
  • 5. Shorter
    Meat breeds
    Prolific breeds
    Female offspring
    Multiple births
    Lighter offspring
    Late-maturing breeds
    Male offspring
    Single births
    Heavier offspring
    Gestation length Pregnancy lasts 142 to 157 days (avg. 147)
    It takes more time to make a big boy!
    Acting more territorial
    Tail twitching
    Frequent urination
    Pawing the ground
    Getting up and down
    Reduced appetite
    Udder filling up
    Engorged teats
    Vaginal discharge
    Relaxation of muscles in hip area
    Belly drops
    Sides cave in
    Swollen vulva
    Signs of approaching parturition
  • 7. Preparation
    The three stages of parturition
  • 8. 1) Preparation12 to 24 hours
    Rhythmic contractions
    Cervix dilates
    Fetus positions itself
    Mucous discharge
  • 9. Rupture of the water bag
    Fetus is expelled.
    Repeated for each offspring
    Ewe or doe may give birth lying down or standing up.
    Some females want to be left alone for birthing.
    2) Expulsion
  • 10. Normal presentation
    In the “dive” position
    Head resting on fore legs
    Sole of the hooves rests downwards
    Widest part of the fetus is the hips
    Backwards (not breech) is also “normal”
  • 11. Normal time frame**Varies between females**
    Once forceful straining begins and the water sac breaks, delivery should normally take place within 45 to 60 minutes.
    Once the front legs are visible, delivery should normally take place within 30 to 45 minutes.
    Subsequent offspring are normally delivered within 30 minutes of each other.
    Prolonged delivery beyond these times may indicate birthing difficulty.
  • 12. When to check for problems
    If the female has made no progress after 45 to 60 minutes of hard straining (and the water sac has broke).
    If female has been in distress for 2 or 3 hours without progress, even if nothing is visible at vulva.
  • 13. How to assist with deliveries
    Catch and confine female
    Lay female down
    Can lay her on her back or hoist her.
    Wash hands, arms, and female’s vulva
    Wear gloves or OB sleevesShort fingernails, no rings
    Apply copious lubricant
    Lubricant jelly
    Obstetrical lubricant
    Bland soap and water
  • 14. How to assist with deliveries
    Examine for dilation of cervix
    Bunch fingers and thumb into a cone shape to enter
    She may need more time
    Determine presentation
    Correct position
    Apply traction
    After care
  • 15. Tips for assisting with deliveries
    Be clean
    Be gentle
    Be calm
    Be patient
    Call veterinarian (or experienced shepherd) if you have not made progress after a half hour.
    Check for more offspring.
    Give long-acting antibiotic to prevent uterine infections.
  • 16. Aftercare – assisted delivery
    May need to revive baby
    Clear airway
    Clear mucous from nose
    Insert piece of straw or hay into baby’s nose
    Raise front leg to expand chest cavity
    Hang baby by hind legs and swing in circle.
    Blow air into lungs
    Put baby in front of mom’s nose
    Have mom lick babies unless she’s too exhausted.
  • 17. Aftercare – all deliveries
    Put mom and babies in a small pen together (jug).
    Clip (if necessary) and disinfect navels
    Remove wax plug from teat
    Check milk supply
    Observe to make sure babies nurse.
    Let mom take care of her babies.
  • 18. 3) Cleaning30 to 60 minutes after last offspring is expelled
    Afterbirth (placenta) is expelled from the body
    Uterine involution(uterus returns to normal)
    Complete involution takes more than a month
  • 19. Placenta (afterbirth)
    Red, liver-like mass with strawberry-like lumps and whitish cords.
    Is separate for each offspring.
    Is usually expelled 30 minutes to 1 hour after last baby is born.
  • 20. Should you let the female eat the afterbirth?
    It’s her natural instinct
    Protection from predators
    Contains oxytocin
    Helps with milk let down
    Uterine involution
    Some people eat it
  • 21. NO!Properly dispose of placenta
    Scrapie is transmitted via infected placenta.
    Abortive diseases are spread via infected placenta.
    You don’t want to attract wild animals and scavengers.
    Is highly indigestible
  • 22. Things that can go wrong
    Pregnancy toxemia
    Milk fever
    Vaginal prolapse
    Retained placenta
    Uterine prolapse
  • 23. Pregnancy toxemia ketosis, lambing paralysis, twin lamb disease, sleeping sickness
    What is it?
    Low blood glucose caused by insufficient intake of energy during late pregnancy and breakdown of fat into toxic ketone bodies.
    Who’s most susceptible?
    Females carrying multiple fetuses
    Fat females
    Thin females
    Old females
    Timid females
  • 24. Pregnancy toxemia Occurs during final trimester of pregnancy
    Lags behind
    Neurological symptoms
    Rear legs splayed out
    Lack of appetite
    Oral propylene glycol
    IV dextrose
    Other Tx
    Calcium borogluconate
    Vitamin B-complex
    Remove fetuses
    [Rx] Induce parturition
    [Vx] Caesarian section
    If pregnancy toxemia is suspected, you need to evaluate your feeding program.
  • 25. Milk fever (hypocalcemia)Occurs during late pregnancy or early lactation
    What is it?
    Low blood calcium
    Overlap with pregnancy toxemia
    Oral calcium
    Sub-Q calcium
    IV calcium
    If milk fever is suspected, you need to evaluate your feeding program.
  • 26. AbortionEarly termination of a pregnancy
    Unviable offspring
    Chlamydia (Enzootic)
    Campylobacter (Vibrio)
    Birth of stillborn, weak, or premature babies.
    Female may be sick for several days before she aborts late in her pregnancy (or not).
  • 27. AbortionSome level of (non-infectious) abortion is normal
    Isolate aborting ewes
    Dispose of fetuses, placenta, and fluids.
    Administer antibiotics to remaining females.
    Work with diagnostic vet to determine cause.
    Aborting females develop immunity
    Feed or inject antibiotics
    Control cat population
    Feed ionophore
    Young females are most susceptible to infectious causes of abortion.
  • 28. Vagina prolapse
    Usually occurs during last month of pregnancy
    More common in ewes than does
    Extent of prolapse varies.
  • 29. Vagina prolapseMany factors have been implicated as possible causes
    Multiple fetuses
    Increased rumen fill
    Poor quality forage
    Phytoestrogenic forages
    Short tail docks
    Lack of exercise
    intra-abdominal fat
    Previous history
    40% chance of re-occurring
    Genetic predisposition
    Image source: NADIS UK
  • 30. Vagina prolapseTreatment
    [Rx] Pain relief
    Clean vagina
    [Use mild soap]
    Replace vagina
    Keep vagina in
    Spoon/bearing retainer
    Prolapse harness
    Prolapse truss
    Purse-string suture[must remove sutures before lambing]
    Parturition usually corrects problem
    Cull ewe and her offspring
  • 31. Dystocia (difficult births)
    Fetal malpresentation
    Failure of cervix to dilate
    Incomplete cervical dilation.
    Fetal-maternal size mismatch
    Vaginal prolapse
  • 32. Dystocia
    Causes/contributing factors
    Young and old
    Oversized fetuses
    Small pelvic area
    Breeds and males that sire large offspring
    Lack of exercise
    Multiple births
  • 33. Malpresentations – “easy” to correct
    Elbow lock
    One leg back
    Both legs back
    Swollen head
    • Push lamb or kid slightly back into womb
    • 34. Cup hoof in your palm
    • 35. Extend legs
    • 36. A small baby can be pulled with one leg back
    • 37. Babies can survive a long time with their head sticking out.Wash head before putting it back inside female
  • Malpresentations – harder to correct
    Head back
    Tight birth
    • Tight - copious lubricant, firm pressure, pull skin over head, extend legs one at a time
    • 38. Head back - push back, turn head
    • 39. Breech - deliver backwards, cup fetlocks, extend rear legs forward , deliver quickly
    • 40. Simultaneous - figure out what belongs to who
    • 41. “Nasty” problems: dead, deformed, and decomposed babies
  • RingwombFailure of cervix to dilate (or dilate completely)
    Cause (mostly unknown)
    Premature birth
    Genotype of fetus
    Partial dilation
    Manually stimulate cervix
    [Rx] Oxytocin
    “True” ringwomb
    • [Vx] Caesarian section ->
  • Retained placentafailure to expel afterbirth after 12 to 18 hours
    Give a gentle tug.
    Do not forcibly pull out!
    Give antibiotics to prevent uterine infection.
    Calcium borogluconate
    [Rx] Oxytocin or Prostaglandin (PGF2α)
  • 42. Retained placentaCauses and contributing factors
    Premature birth
    Uterine infection
    Difficult/prolonged birth
    Assisted delivery
    Dead baby still in uterus
    Nutritional deficiencies
  • 43. Prolapsed uterus
    Uterus is turned inside out and pushed through the birth canal.
    May occur immediately after parturition or several days later.
    Is life threatening.
    Image source: NADIS UK
  • 44. Prolapsed uterusCauses and predisposing factors
    Uterine infection
    Retained placenta
    Difficult/prolonged birth
    Assisted delivery
    Nutritional deficiencies
    Image source: NADIS UK
  • 45. Prolapsed uterusTreatment
    Protect uterus (before treatment)
    [Rx] Epidural
    Cleanse uterus
    Sugar may reduce swelling
    Elevate hindquarters
    Replace uterus
    Pour 5 gallons of water into replaced uterus
    Purse string suture (optional)
    [Rx] Oxytocin
    Calcium borogluconate
    Systemic antibiotics
  • 46. AgalactiaNo milk (or delayed milk let down)
    Difficult birthing
    OPP / CAE
    [Rx] Oxytocin
    Tube feed babies colostrum
    Cross foster or bottle-feed babies
  • 47. RejectionWhat causes a ewe or doe to reject one or more of her offspring?
    “Rookie” mother
    High-strung mother
    Over-bonding with first baby
    Slow arrival of second baby
    Painful or sensitive udder or teat(s)
    Baby has sharp teeth
    Babies got swapped
    She can’t count
    Racism ->
  • 48. RejectionOptions
    Put dam in pen with babies.
    Put baby in front of dam’s nose
    Try to “fool” dam with different odors
    Manually hold dam for nursing
    Put dam in a head stanchion
    Rear baby(ies) artificially
    Give away babies
  • 49. Most ewes and does lamb and kid on their own without any need for assistance or intervention.
    Don’t be eager to intervene if everything is progressing normally, even if it’s taking longer than the book says.
    If you have a lot of problems, you need to look at your entire program: feeding, breeding, management, etc.
  • 50. Thank you for your attention.Questions?
    Susan Schoeniansschoen@umd.eduwww.sheepandgoat.com
    Small Ruminant Program