Cervix Fails to Dilate

by: Dr. G.F. Kennedy

This is one of the most difficult challenges we are faced with when ewes fail to dilate. There are anatomical reasons and infectious reasons. I have covered the anatomical reasons in my prolapse blog. I suspect iodine deficiency and abortive agents such as chlamydia are often involved. Tip off is that sometimes it is only the younger ewes. Older ewes may already have immunity and may be source of infection. Like wise, a new group introduced may result in either group having a problem.

What’s the answer? If an abortive agent is suspected, flock medication is indicated, make sure iodine levels are sufficient and see the abortion article for more details.

The individual ewe problem is a challenge. My best results have been to give 10 cc Dexamethasone and give several hours of time. At that time, I lubricate well and try to slowly force dilate the cervix. If that is successful and lambs are delivered, I immediately place Terramycin scour tablets in the uterus and mattress suture as invariably the ewe will attempt to prolapse her uterus. The ewe should then receive 10 to 15 cc of penicillin subcutaneously as well.

If this process fails cesarean is about the only choice left.

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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