by: Dr. G.F. Kennedy

Dexamethasone injection 2mg/ml : this is a product when in the lambing barn I couldn’t get along without. Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian. A long way of saying it’s a prescription product.

I particularly like it in sheep and goat practice because it stimulates appetite and in a sick ruminant animal that is a large part of the battle. The rumen doesn’t function well when an animal doesn’t eat and when the rumen isn’t functioning the animal is not getting the desired nutrients to maintain life.

You get into a debate with younger intellectual veterinarians that worry about side effects. It diminishes anti-inflammatory response, for that reason we always recommend use of an antibiotic in conjunction with it.

Ewes that refuse to eat after lambing I find myself giving nine cc of Nuflor combined with three cc of Dexamethasone. They may refuse to eat because they are acidic, have respiratory problem, sub clinical mastitis, retained placenta or other. In any event it works. I will generally only use it once, occasionally twice.

Dexamethasone is also used to induce lambing at the rate of  ten cc and lambs should arrive in 48 hours. Obviously shouldn’t be used on pregnant animals.

Dexamethasone along with penicillin is helpful in treating arthritis due to navel infection and is helpful in reversing pregnancy disease once a ewe has lambed.

About Ask-a-Vet Sheep

Veterinary services, procedures, biologicals, and drugs mentioned in this publication represent the personal opinions and clinical observations of the contributing author. They are in no way intended to be interpreted as recommendations without the consent of the producer’s own practicing Veterinarian. We strongly urge that producers establish a patient-client-veterinarian relationship that allows extra-label use when there are no drugs approved for treatment or if approved drugs are not effective. This procedure allows veterinarians to go beyond label directions when “prudent use” is necessary. The limited availability of drugs and biologics in this country is a major factor in restricting the growth of the sheep industry and allowing producers to compete in the world market place.
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