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Assisted parturition in a Balami ewe

K.A. Raheem
O Onyegbula


In this study, we report a case of dystocia in a three-year old Balami ewe from a herd of small ruminant made up of 5 females and 2 males. The animals were acquired about 3 months before the incidence occurred and were managed under semi-intensive system. The ewe had no breeding records; neither was there an immediate evaluation of the pregnancy status of the ewe post purchase. One early morning, the ewe was found on sternal recumbency with a delivered lamb on its side. The lamb was still covered with amniotic membranes and grasping for breath. It was quickly lifted up and dried-up with clean towel. Further clinical examination on the ewe revealed presence of another foetus inside the uterus. About 20 mins after, uterine/abdominal contraction commenced but was not progressive. Amniotic sac was broken. This was not successively followed by higher intensity of contraction sufficient enough to cause expulsion of the foetus for about 30 mins. Insertion of gloved hand into the cervix showed a well dilated cervix and presence of foetus in the right parturition disposition as indicated by anterior presentation, dorso-sacrum position and extension of foetal forelimb and neck. An immediate intervention was required to save the foetus and the mother. The diagnosis was dystocia due to uterine inertia because of inadequate contraction of the uterine and abdominal muscle possibly resulting from weakness (hypoglycaemia) or hypocalcaemia after the delivery of the first lamb. The cervix was well dilated enabling the passage of the hand. Assisted parturition was instituted by grasping the forelimbs together with the head of the foetus. With a gentle traction, the foetus was delivered alive. The lamb was dried of foetal membranes and fluid. The two lambs were viable and able to suckle the dam. In conclusion, this report underscores the need for breeding record keeping and evaluating the pregnancy status immediately after animal purchase for proper monitoring of pregnant animal and instituting an adequate necessary treatment to prevent dystocia and its associated problem in farm animals.

Keywords: Parturition, dystocia, sheep, breeding record

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eISSN: 0331-3026