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Proceedings National Seminar on Innovations and Recent Advances in Reproduction for Augmenting Small Ruminant Production Dec 28-30,

2006, Avikanagar, Jaipur, India p 227-231.

Parturition related disorders in sheep and goats G.N.Purohit


Department of Animal Reproduction Gynaecology and Obstetrics College of Veterinary and Animal Science Rajasthan Agricultural University, Bikaner, Rajasthan, 334001. ABSTRACT The parturition related disorders in sheep and goat can be classified into pre-parturient, parturient and post-parturient disorders with post parturient problems being more common. The pre-parturient problems described include abortion, pregnancy toxaemia, vaginal prolapse, hypocalcaemia, hydrometra and hydro-allantois. With the exception of vaginal prolapse, these conditions are more commonly encountered in goats than in sheep. Dystocia remains the major parturient problem with incidence varying from 8 to 50% in both sheep and goats. Fetal maldisposition appears to be the major cause of dystocia followed by cervical dilation failure. Retained after birth constitutes the major post-parturient complication in the goat and also to some extent in sheep with metritis, prolapse and uterine rupture being other complications. The important diagnostic features, therapeutic measures and the prevention techniques are mentioned in this review. Ultrasonographic evaluation offer important indications on the pregnant uterus and the fetus in utero to prevent some periparturient disorders.

Proceedings National Seminar on Innovations and Recent Advances in Reproduction for Augmenting Small Ruminant Production Dec 28-30, 2006, Avikanagar, Jaipur, India p 227-231. Key Words: Dystocia, parturition, post-partum, ultrasonography. The incidence of peri-parturient disorders in the small ruminants continue to be sparsely described. Due to different management systems under which sheep and goats are raised over various geographical regions, the incidence of disorders may vary. Most parturient problems of sheep and goats are dealt with by the breeders themselves and only under certain conditions are sheep referred to referral centres for expert help. However, goats kept by hobby breeders in small numbers at urban areas are more frequently referred for expert help. There are a lot many organized sheep farms and the farmer also raises sheep in flocks but the condition appears to be slightly different for the goat. Preparturient conditions like hydroallantois (Morin et al., 1994), vaginal prolapse (Smith and Sherman, 1994) and hydrometra (Hesselink and Taverne, 1994) are known to occur occasionally in the doe but these conditions except vaginal prolapse are still less frequently mentioned for the ewe. Dystocia has been widely described for the ewe (Hughes-Ellis, 1958; Blackmore, 1960; George, 1975; Whitelaw and Watchorn, 1975; Gommers et al., 1985; Sobiraj, 1994; Majeed and Taha, 1995; Kloss et al., 2002) and less frequently for the doe (Rahim and Arthur, 1982; Majeed, 1994; Mehta et al., 2002; Purohit et al., 2004; Purohit et al., 2006). In this review parturition related disorders of sheep and goat have been described under the following sub headings i)pre-parturient disorders ii) parturient disorders and iii)post-parturient disorders.

Pre-parturient disorders

Proceedings National Seminar on Innovations and Recent Advances in Reproduction for Augmenting Small Ruminant Production Dec 28-30, 2006, Avikanagar, Jaipur, India p 227-231. Abortion appeared to be the major pre-parturient disorders in goats with incidence upto 68.2% (of all the pre-parturient conditions) in one study (Purohit et al., 2006) however, the diagnosis of the cause of abortion remains difficult in individual goats or sheep until sufficient laboratory facility is available. Farmers must be advised to submit sufficient fetal samples for diagnosis. The details of the various types of abortion and their management in the sheep and goat is beyond the scope of this review. Hydrometra (psuedopregnancy) is a common pre-parturient problem in goats (Wittek et al., 1998) with incidence upto 14.3% in one survey (Purohit et al., 2006) and 3-5 % in other surveys (Brawn,1997; Mehta et al., 2002). The usual patient complaint in cases of hydrometra is the discharge of large quantity of fluid, sometimes blood without fetal delivery. In some does the condition can be diagnosed by ultrasonography that reveal only anechoic fluid without fetal parts or cotyledons (Pieterse and Taverne, 1986; Purohit, 2006b). The etiology for hydrometra appears to be persistence of a corpus luteum (CL) subsequent to fetal death and fetal reabsorption (Bowen, 1978; Haibel, 1990; Kornalijnslijper et al., 1997) however, the exact etiology remains poorly understood. Therapy of hydrometra suggested is the administration of prostaglandin to cases diagnosed early (Mehta et al., 2002; Purohit et al., 2006) or bromocryptine 1 mg SC daily for 6-10 days (Taverne et al., 1988). Hydro-allantois have been recorded both in goat (Morin et al., 1994; Purohit et al., 2006) and sheep (Milton et al., 1989; Jackson, 2004) and the probable etiological factors mentioned are consumption of legumes with high estrogens, hypothyroidism and placental or uterine disease (Mobini et al., 2002). The condition when diagnosed necessitate termination of pregnancy using prostaglandins but patients with excessive abdominal enlargement

Proceedings National Seminar on Innovations and Recent Advances in Reproduction for Augmenting Small Ruminant Production Dec 28-30, 2006, Avikanagar, Jaipur, India p 227-231. have difficulty in breathing and have poor medical or surgical management probability (Morin et al., 1994; Purohit et al., 2006). Pregnancy toxaemia typically occurs during the final trimester of gestation in ewes and does (Tontis and Zwahlen, 1987; Mobini et al., 2002; Jackson, 2004) due to deficiency of glucose in multiple fetus bearing females (Menzies and Bailey, 1997). It is suggested that animals diagnosed to have twin fetuses by ultrasonography must be fed cautiously to prevent pregnancy toxaemia. The diagnosis of the condition can be done by clinical signs of depression and recumbency progressing to tremors, circling and grinding of teeth (Mobini et al., 2002) and confirmed by the presence of ketone bodies in urine and a low blood glucose (Mobini et al., 2002; Purohit et al., 2006). Therapy remains difficult unless pregnancy termination is considered because of the various metabolic abnormalities that develop in affected sheep and goats subsequent to hypoglycaemia and hyperkeratonemia (Tontis and Zwahlen, 1987; Marteniuk and Herdt, 1988). Hypocalcaemia is often seen concurrent with pregnancy toxaemia (Mobini et al., 2002) and hence calcium therapy must be instituted. Rupture of the pre-pubic tendon is occasionally seen in sheep and goats pregnant with multiple fetuses, pregnant females with fetal hydrops and pregnant females that have experienced abdominal trauma ( Mobini et al., 2002; Purohit et al., 2006). Applying a home made canvas girdle and reducing the salt and trace minerals in the feed are suggested corrective measures (Mobini et al., 2002).

Parturient disorders
Parturient disorders include dystocia, prolonged gestation and delivery of fetal mummies. Dystocia is the most common

Proceedings National Seminar on Innovations and Recent Advances in Reproduction for Augmenting Small Ruminant Production Dec 28-30, 2006, Avikanagar, Jaipur, India p 227-231. parturient disorder in the small ruminants with incidence ranging from 4 to 34% in different surveys (Jackson, 2004; Purohit, 2006a). The fetal causes of dystocia are described to be predominant (68-70%, Purohit et al., 2004; Purohit et al., 2006). In other surveys described elsewhere (Jackson, 2004) the fetal maldisposition alone accounted for 50% of the dystocias in sheep and 56% of the dystocias in goat. The detailed description on the causes of dystocia and their correction in the goat have been examined (Mehta et al., 2002; Purohit et al., 2004; Purohit et al., 2006) and the same (both sheep and goat) have been reviewed (Purohit, 2006a) previously hence only certain important considerations are mentioned here. Cleaniliness, lubrication and gentleness are essential in handling dystocia, specially in goats because the birth canal is very fragile and can tear easily (Brawn, 1997; Purohit et al., 2006). The ewe or doe should be examined only 30 minutes after contractions begin or after breaking of the chorio-allantoic membrane. Females should also be examined 30 minutes after delivery to determine whether more fetuses are still in the uterus. Abdominal ballotment for the fetus may be sometimes confusing and misleading in animals having bezoars/ foreign bodies in the rumen. Handling of dystocia involves manual correction, fetotomy and caesarean section. Practitioners with small hands tend to have an advantage in handling dystocia in small ruminants. Only partial fetotomy with removal of one or both legs and sometimes the head is possible in sheep and goats (Mobini et al., 2002; Jackson, 2004; Purohit et al., 2004; Purohit, 2006a; Purohit et al, 2006). Because of the small size of ewes and does relative to other farm animals the veterinarian often cannot effectively perform vaginal manipulation of fetuses therefore caesarean section is often recommended if vaginal delivery is not possible (Mobini et al., 2002; Purohit et al., 2006).

Proceedings National Seminar on Innovations and Recent Advances in Reproduction for Augmenting Small Ruminant Production Dec 28-30, 2006, Avikanagar, Jaipur, India p 227-231. Prolonged gestation has been dercribed to be a parturient disorder both in ewes (Jackson, 2004) and does (Jackson, 2004; Purohit et al., 2006). It is often difficult to detect a prolonged gestation in naturally bred sheep or goats because of lack of exact mating dates. True prolonged gestation with a live fetus is usually associated with a defect in the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis. Other causes described for a prolonged gestation include exposure to viral diseases or consumption of plant toxins (Jackson, 2004). Fetuses are sometimes oversized (Purohit et al., 2004). A prolonged gestation can be terimanted by using a combination of dexamethasone and prostaglandin injections (Purohit et al., 2006) and in non-responding animals caesarean section must be considered. Fetal mummies may be delivered alongwith normal fetuses (Kirkbride, 1993) or recognized on abdominal or vaginal examination (Jackson, 2004). Rarely they may abort (Dadarwal et al., 2000). Sonographic assistance may sometimes be helpful in recognizing a mummified fetus (Purohit et al., 2006).

Post-Parturient disorders
Retained placenta, metritis, uterine prolapse and uterine rupture are the post-parturient described for the small ruminants (Majeed, 1994; Majeed and Taha, 1995; Mehta et al., 2002; Purohit et al., 2006). Retained placenta has been described to be a problem in some sheep flocks but considered to be uncommon in goats (Mobini et al., 2002) however, in other studies retained placenta formed a major post-parturient disorder in goats (Majeed, 1994; Purohit et al., 2006). It is known to be occurring because of deficiency of vitamin A, selenium, obesity, hypocalcaemia and infectious

Proceedings National Seminar on Innovations and Recent Advances in Reproduction for Augmenting Small Ruminant Production Dec 28-30, 2006, Avikanagar, Jaipur, India p 227-231. diseases (Brawn, 1997; Rowe, 1998). The condition has been described to be more prevalent in younger goats (Purohit et al., 2006). When parts of the placenta are hanging out of the vulvar lips manual removal by gentle rolling is possible (Purohit et al., 2006). A prostaglandin or oxytocin injection is suggested in cases where placenta is not hanging out (Mobini et al., 2002) Post-parturient metritis is uncommon in sheep and goats (Mobini et al., 2002) but is encountered in dairy goats kept by hobby breeders having a previous retained placenta (Mobini et al., 2002; Purohit et al., 2006). Females with metritis can be treated effectively by intra-uterine infusion of antibiotics or parentral administration of antibiotics (Purohit et al., 2006) although some workers do not prefer intra-uterine infusions (Mobini et al., 2002). Vaginal and uterine prolapses are usually the result of handling of dystocia with undue force (Purohit et al., 2006) and can be replaced under epidural anaesthesia and lubrication. Hypocalcaemia may contribute to the flaccidity of the organs that predisposes to uterine prolapse (Mobini et al., 2002) and hence 20 to 40 mL of calcium borogluconate must be given. Uterine ruptures subsequent to dystocia handling can rarely occur in ewes and goats (Purohit et al., 2006) with resultant prolapse of intestinal loops from the vagina. An emergency laparotomy over the flank with a more caudal incision is suggested. Sometimes the rupture may be more towards the cervix and not approachable by laparotomy incisions. Such patients have extremely poor prognosis.

Pre-Praturient Care of ewes and does


Pre-partum care of the small ruminants can prevent many parturient and post-parturient problems. Ultrasonography can

Proceedings National Seminar on Innovations and Recent Advances in Reproduction for Augmenting Small Ruminant Production Dec 28-30, 2006, Avikanagar, Jaipur, India p 227-231. reveal the status of gestation and conditions like psuedopregnancy (hydrometra), pregnancy toxaemia and fetal mummification can be prevented or treated by appropriate therapy. Ultrasonography can also help identify fetal viability to decide the option of manner of dystocia correction and can also predict the status of uterus post delivey. It is therefore suggested to scan small ruminants at 3 and 4 months of pregnancy. Pre-parturient shearing, deworming and vaccinations are suggested one month ahead of parturition. Females in areas with known deficiency of selenium must be provided supplementary selenium or other micronutrients to reduce the incidence of post-partum complications. Close monitoring and assistance to females with parturition difficulties can reduce the likelihood of dystocia and subsequent problems.

REFERENCES

Proceedings National Seminar on Innovations and Recent Advances in Reproduction for Augmenting Small Ruminant Production Dec 28-30, 2006, Avikanagar, Jaipur, India p 227-231.

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Proceedings National Seminar on Innovations and Recent Advances in Reproduction for Augmenting Small Ruminant Production Dec 28-30, 2006, Avikanagar, Jaipur, India p 227-231.
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Proceedings National Seminar on Innovations and Recent Advances in Reproduction for Augmenting Small Ruminant Production Dec 28-30, 2006, Avikanagar, Jaipur, India p 227-231.
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Proceedings National Seminar on Innovations and Recent Advances in Reproduction for Augmenting Small Ruminant Production Dec 28-30, 2006, Avikanagar, Jaipur, India p 227-231.
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