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.