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Rectal prolapse is a condition where, for some reason, the rectum is pushed out of the body. The tender mucus membranes become dried and cracked, causing more irritation and straining. In some cases, the lamb can prolapse its entire intestinal tract, and die of shock.
The act of coughing puts pressure on the rectum and can be one of the initiating factors in rectal prolapse. This condition is usually seen in fat ewe lambs. Ewe lambs tend to have more internal fat than wether lambs and this is believed to contribute to rectal prolapses. Any problem causing diarrhea increases irritation to the area and promotes straining. Therefore, it increases the chances of rectal prolapses. The prolapsed rectum is easy to recognize. It protrudes from the anal area and is bright cherry red. Rectal prolapses must be taken care of right away or you run the risk of having the lamb prolapse its entire intestinal tract.
Picture of Rectal prolapse
This page was last updated on: October 26, 2008
Rectal Prolapse (Do Not Keep Any Male or Female for Breeding)/University of Minnesota
History: Most common in lambs and kids 6-12 months of age. Occurs usually in summer concurrently with pneumonia, cystitis, a weak anal sphincter, uphill feeding, overconditioning, diarrhea, pregnancy and prolonged recumbency. In adults it most commonly occurs peripartum, or when animal is straining for any reason, possibly associated with short tail docks in sheep.
Signs: tissue protruding from rectum, tenesmus, anorexia
Treatment: Slaughter, or treat concurrent disease, clean prolapse, reduce the size of prolapse with salt or topical lasix to allow replacement, administer epidural anesthesia and local lidocaine infusions, place sutures to retain tissue in anus
Feedlot rectal prolapse occurs in 0–10% of sheep. The condition is caused by high grain rations, high feed intake, overweight, coughing, or a short dock. There is no particularly effective cure. Procedures usually include suturing the rectum partially shut or inserting a plastic tube or short piece of hose and clamping off the protruding position of the rectum with an elastrator ring.
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