Article Text

Nutritional factors associated with vaginal prolapse in ewes
  1. BD Hosie,
  2. JC Low,
  3. HK Bradley and
  4. J Robb
  1. St Boswells Veterinary Investigation Centre, Greycrook, Roxburghshire.

Abstract

Serum calcium, magnesium and phosphate values of ewes recently affected by vaginal prolapse were compared with unaffected ewes in four flocks. Subclinical hypocalcaemia was demonstrated in some affected and unaffected ewes in three flocks. Magnesium and phosphate values were normal. In two flocks the body condition of ewes recently affected by vaginal prolapse was variable and reflected the variation in condition found in the flock. In a third flock affected ewes had significantly lower body condition scores than unaffected ewes (P less than 0.001). Analysis of the fourth flock was not possible. Oestrogenic mycotoxins were not detected in any of the feed samples taken from these flocks. The following year the management, nutrition and energy, and the protein and calcium status of ewes in 12 flocks of greyface/mule ewes with a history of a regular high (greater than 3 per cent) or low (less than 1 per cent) prevalence of vaginal prolapse were compared. A high prevalence was not associated with any particular feedstuff. A high or intermediate (1 to 3 per cent) prevalence of vaginal prolapse was found in three of the four flocks managed as a single group and these three flocks were fed on an unrestricted basis. Body condition scoring and beta-hydroxybutyrate estimation confirmed that ewes in these flocks were overfed. The prevalence of vaginal prolapse in the flocks was not related to the serum albumin, calcium or urea of the ewes. Therefore subclinical hypocalcaemia was probably a consequence of vaginal prolapse rather than a cause.

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