BARN COUGH - RECTAL PROLAPSE
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Rectal Prolapse: When a portion of the rectum protrudes past the anus. The rectum is a straight tube of intestinal tissue, and when a sheep coughsrepeatedly, the tube is pushed out and protrudes from the anus like an angry sausage.
"Barn cough" is a term used to describe a non-productive hacking cough in growing and finishing lambs. We do not know which organism causes the cough but we do know that certain antibiotics can relieve the clinical cough for 2 to 3 weeks. Barns cough does not cause large death losses or acute deaths, however, the incidence of rectal prolapses increases in direct proportion to the irritating cough. Factors such as crowding, dust, damp humid weather, or stress all can increase the amount of barn cough. Treating the entire group of lambs with antibiotics will reduce the cough, but the producer must be very careful of drug withdrawal times in lambs that are going to be slaughtered. In many cases we have to treat every 2 weeks to control the coughing. Once a lamb tears the supporting muscles and connective tissue around the rectum it will eventually prolapse and require treatment. Lambs that are coughing will develop immunity and eventually become resistant and not cough anymore. Frequently we hear
producers referring to this as "the lambs outgrow the cough". In Minnesota when the fall weather begins and temperatures become colder the incidence of "barn cough" is greatly reduced. The cough is most likely caused by a combination of organisms such as viruses and bacteria working together to weaken the lambs' respiratory system. In our experience we have had good response to treatment
with Albon (sulfadimethoxine) in the water for 3 days every two weeks. Tylan, injectable and feed grade, has also worked in some flocks. Other antibiotics that have been used with some success are tetracyclines and Naxcel.
by Fred M. Hopkins and W. Warren Gill
1. Ewe lambs are affected more often than wethers.
2. Black-faced lambs are much more commonly affected than white faced lambs.
3. Lambs being fed high energy diets and fatter lambs have a higher incidence of rectal prolapse than others.
4. Most prolapses occur in the summer when the weather is dry and dusty.
5. Coughing is a very important factor linked to rectal prolapses
Prolapsed rectums are most successfully treated soon after they first occur. One of two methods are commonly used to treat rectal prolapse in lambs. Injection of irritating solutions around the rectum along with a purse string suture around the anus is most successful, if used with less severe cases of prolapse. Amputation of the prolapsed part of the rectum using special prolapse rings and elastrator bands is also a good way to repair prolapses. It is a good idea to reduce the feed intake of affected lambs for a day or two. The use of phosphate enemas to keep manure passing is important. Giving the lamb 2-4 ounces of mineral oil daily will also help keep the lamb's manure soft.
This page was last updated on: November 29, 2007
Designed for rectal prolapse repair. Insert tube into rectum and tie off prolapse next to body with elastrator ring or umbilical tape. Prolapsed section shouldslough-off.
Needle is 4 1/2" long. Used to sew up prolapses
1/8" or 3/8"
Used with S-curve needles for suture for prolapse repair.