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Author Topic: Prolapse advice very much appreciated - update question **  (Read 601 times)


  • Joined Sep 2015
Prolapse advice very much appreciated - update question **
« on: March 16, 2020, 08:32:58 pm »
Looking for some reassurance / guidance for lambing ewes with a prolapse.

Our 10 Derbyshire Gritstone ewes are due at the upcoming weekend with the multiples looking rather large (3 sets of triplets, 5 twins and 2 singles). We've never scanned before but due to previous single lambs being on the large size and twins on the small side we did so I could tailor nutrition better. Singles are getting a handful every other day since last week just to keep them tame, twins started 2-3 weeks ago building up to about 400g last week and triplets are on 500gish, they won't eat hay and have a crystalyx block. I don't feel thats excessive but they seem to be quite big - maybe the better grass this year has made the difference.

Anyway I've never experienced a prolapse before but went out to check them first thing to find one of the triplets with quite a big prolapse - no previous signs at all. I brought her in, washed, lubricated but it wouldn't go in easily so rang the out of hours vet. He came out and was brill but did struggle himself to get it back in, the only way that worked was with the ewe on her back, raised on a bale. He gave an epidural, stitched her up, calciject, antibiotics and painkillers and said to repeat the calciject this evening if needed but continue for a couple of days. He just said to watch and when she lambs cut the loop in the stitches. His verdict was shes not overweight and just physically run out on room.

I've come home to work to find a small ewe carrying twins (previously triplets) also pushing a prolapse. Luckily as soon as I went in the field and she got up it retracted so we caught her and put a spoon in.

Firstly maybe I feel the need to rant / get advise but firstly what do i expect for the ewes with the stitch at lambing? Once lambing and the stitch cut will she prolapse ? Will I need to loosen the stitch or will the lamb coming do that?

Secondly the ewe with the spoon, will she lamb ok with the spoon or should it be removed once she starts?

I can't help feeling like I've overfed as that 2 ewes that no have no room at all left - I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't happen to the other triplet too. All have lambed previously with no problems so I'm not sure what is different this year.

Any advice welcomed
« Last Edit: March 17, 2020, 08:14:54 pm by crobertson »
Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Prolapse advice very much appreciated
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2020, 08:48:54 pm »
Your ewe with stitches in cannot lamb with them in  ( personally i would never let a vet put stitches in pre lambing ) you need to watch her for any signs of lambing  isolation / pushing /noise  and cut the stitches and no the prolapse will not come out . The ewe with a spoon can lamb past it if needed but ideally you remove when you see the water bag . While you are not feeding excessively  you say they have plenty of grass ,so can you move them onto less grass or tighten the area grazed or bring them in overnight to reduce intake and maybe cut back feed by 100g ?


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Prolapse advice very much appreciated
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2020, 08:50:16 pm »
Firstly, bad luck!  It happens, you can get a flock has never had prolapses, then has several prolapses one year, then never again. 

If when the lambs come they don't seem to be overlarge and the ewes not fat, then all you could say another year is you would limit the amount of good grass they have in front of them when they are in the later stages.  Two small feeds of cake a day - not necessarily a high-protein cake - and less grass might keep their insides less overfull, but nutrition at the right level.

They can lamb through a spoon no problem, so don't worry if you do miss it she will simply evert the spoon and then the lamb(s) will come.  You can snip the spoon off whenever.

With the ones with stitches, you really do need to cut them once the lamb approaches, or she can do herself and or it some real harm. 

A tip for shrinking a prolapse is to wash it then cover it with granulated sugar and wait.  It really does shrink before your eyes.  Perhaps 10-15 minutes or so to reduce from nearly football size to two grapefruits, which I can usually get back in and spooned.

Mostly they don't prolapse again when they lamb, but you can get ones who don't stop pushing and it all comes out - lambs then uterus, and you can get ones who partially prolapse before the lamb is engaged into the cervix and then can't lamb at all.  Both cases are vet urgently. 

But in my experience, of I guess maybe 20-30 prolapses over 14 years, (of which all but a very few were sorted with a spoon), it's almost always fine.

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Prolapse advice very much appreciated
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2020, 08:59:42 pm »

You might also want to mark the ewes, especially the one with stitches, so you or anyone else can see quickly which they are when you do your lambing rounds.

Sometimes with prolapses the bladder can not empty and lifting the prolapse up will let the ewe pee and that will help getting it back in.


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Prolapse advice very much appreciated
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2020, 09:04:58 pm »
What everyone else said! But mark the ewes to cull... don’t lamb them again. The only exception to that rule seems to be uterine prolapses (after lambing) which the advice seems to be it’s a one off and shouldn’t reoccur- I can agree with that as my ewe that had a uterine prolapse last year was totally fine this year. But vaginal prolapse (the before lambing prolapse) is prone to reoccurring again in future years.


  • Joined Sep 2015
Re: Prolapse advice very much appreciated
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2020, 09:34:15 pm »
Thank you all for you replies.

By plenty of grass I maybe exaggerated, its poorer moorland grass but just lasted longer than usual this year with it being relatively mild. They've been on tighter grazing next to the lambing shed for the past 2-3 weeks just out of convenience to split them away from the singles, the grass is slightly better and they do seem to have expanded since being on that but there is about 7 on 1 acre and there isn't much left.

I've brought them in overnight anyway with the intention of letting them out if there weather is nice tomorrow but they've eaten most of their straw bedding !

Can I ask is there any specific way of inserting a spoon. Never done one before or seen one done so wanted to double check. Once the prolapse had gone back in as she got up a walked around we just caught her, inserted it and tied it to the fleece - how tight / high up does it need to be?


  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Prolapse advice very much appreciated
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2020, 09:45:01 pm »
So long as it looks fairly level then fine and not touching the skin as to tight can rub the vulva


  • Joined Sep 2015
Re: Prolapse advice very much appreciated
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2020, 09:57:24 pm »
Thank you for your help, its very much appreciated. We've lambed for a couple of years but still get new stuff thrown our way. I was worried the spoon was too slack but its about level not too tight, not too slack. I just checked them and its still it and when lying down / standing up its still in and no prolapse so hopefully its in right :)


  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Prolapse advice very much appreciated
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2020, 10:02:08 pm »
Most sheep ,once its back in and the bladder is emptied don't bother too much


  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Prolapse advice very much appreciated
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2020, 03:50:36 pm »
I've never used a spoon but have used harnesses several times and can recomend them. They sit outside the ewe and the ewe can lamb whilst wearing them. Sorry to hear your bad luck. I agree with the others, mark the ewes and cull them as soon as the lambs are weaned.


  • Joined Sep 2015
Re: Prolapse advice very much appreciated
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2020, 08:14:01 pm »
Thanks for the advice and both ewes will go, one ewe was on my list to go at some point as shes had hoof problems (the others rarely have an issue), flystike (the only case we've had, she seems to have a very oily fleece) so this is the third thing to seal the deal.

** One thing I really need advice on is where to cut the stitches when she starts lambing ??

I was down by her head when the vet was stitching her with my dad holding the rear legs. The vet only said to cut the loop when she starts (I presumed my dad was paying attention which we now know wasn't the case) I've had a look tonight while she was up and eating but I really cant see any obvious loop!! I'm now worried I'll struggle when she starts. The only thing obvious was a dangle of suture but no loops or anything easy to snip.

Sounds like a complete novice question but we've never had a prolapse before, nevermind stitching. I will ring the vets tomorrow and ask.


  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Prolapse advice very much appreciated - update question **
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2020, 09:00:32 pm »
Google BUHNER SUTURE  and you will see at the top of the vulva just below the anus  a small loop of tape


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