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Abattoir survey of congenital reproductive abnormalities in ewes
  1. K. C. Smith, BVSc, DSHP, PhD, FRCVS1,
  2. S. E. Long, BVMS, PhD, MRCVS1 and
  3. T. J. Parkinson, BVSc, PhD, DBR, MRCVS1,1
  1. 1 Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford House, Langford, Bristol BS18 7DU


A survey of abnormalities of the reproductive tract of female sheep was undertaken at two abattoirs in the south west of England over a period of 12 months. During the survey, 9970 reproductive tracts from cull ewes and 23,536 tracts from nulliparous sheep (prime lambs and hoggets) were examined. A total of 655 (6.57 per cent) ewes and 459 (1.95 per cent) nulliparous sheep had abnormalities of the reproductive tract. Of these, congenital abnormalities of the paramesonephric ducts accounted for 2.4 per cent of the ewes and 7.4 per cent of the nulliparous sheep, congenital abnormalities of the ovaries accounted for 2.6 per cent of the ewes and 7.4 per cent of the nulliparous sheep and cystic structures that were considered to have been of congenital origin accounted for 27.2 per cent of the ewes and 52.7 per cent of the nulliparous sheep. The most common lesion was paraovarian cysts (26.6 per cent of ewes and 39.0 per cent of nulliparous sheep), but few of these appeared to have affected the sheep's reproductive function. Several specific conditions were recorded, including some described for the first time in sheep. Uterus unicornis occurred in 20 sheep and other forms of segmental aplasia of parts of the paramesonephric ducts occurred in a further 13 animals. Uterus didelphys occurred in six sheep, and 11 animals were intersex. Intersex sheep had vestigial structures that were derived from the paramesonephric ducts, hypoplastic or masculinised gonads and some had masculinised external genitalia. Ovarian hypoplasia occurred in 34 sheep, and in a further 12 mainly nulliparous animals, the ovaries were fused. Sixty nulliparous animals and two ewes had hydatids of Morgagni.

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  • Dr Parkinson's present address is Institute of Veterinary Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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