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Author Topic: Urgent - Is this Ewe aborting?  (Read 6276 times)


  • Joined Sep 2010
Urgent - Is this Ewe aborting?
« on: December 02, 2011, 10:42:29 am »
Yesterday I noticed the ram sniffing and pushing away one of the ewes. Nothing nasty, and all was back to normal with no problems.

Checked them over this morning and noticed this same ewe appears to have some form of poss discharge which is long and almost to the ground. I touched it and it is sinewy not gooey, and not unlike a thin length of afterbirth.

Although they were all wormed in the summer, my first thought was worms, however as she is also a bit red under the tail I've been looking it up and abortion of lambs has come into the frame (she is a bit moist under tail too but as it's wet out there hard to tell if related), as I watched she pushed a bit of fluid out but this could have simply been a little pee.

It is her first time in lamb (born Jan 2010).

I've done a good field check, can't find anything untoward down there, but if she has already aborted fox may have got there first.

She is walking about ok and was eating the hard feed with the others this morning. The other ewes are fine.

She was last seen being tupped end September.

I'm keeping her under observation today and researching as best I can, so before I segregate/worm/get the vet down, can any of you experienced shepherds out there please throw any light on what might be going on?

Old Shep

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Re: Urgent - Is this Ewe aborting?
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2011, 11:12:28 am »
Sorry can't be much help and hope someone more experienced is along soon to help!

My train of thought would be - if it was worms it would be coming out of a different "hole" to after birth? Weeing is more forceful than expelling some afterbirth liquid, so I think you probably have a good idea of what's going on  :'(

Try ringing the vets for advice and see if they feel it's necessary to come out.  good luck  :farmer:
Helen - (used to be just Shep).  Gordon Setters, Border Collies and chief lambing assistant to BigBennyShep.


  • Joined Sep 2010
Re: Urgent - Is this Ewe aborting?
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2011, 11:18:21 am »
Thanks for the reply Shep. I'm just in the process of attempting to segregate her, then I'll be able to get a better (!) hold of her to check under the tail properly.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2011, 11:19:53 am by OhLaLa »


  • Joined Apr 2011
  • lymington hampshire
Re: Urgent - Is this Ewe aborting?
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2011, 11:29:33 am »
Abortion is likely with what you have described but not always she could have a major infection going on as well .Is she distressed with a temperature? She may abort one of a twin and still go full term with the other.
Do you vaccinate for toxoplasma and enzootic abortion?
I would keep an eye on her, don't think you will need vet yet unless problems occurr don't pull the string leave her to deliver naturally and if she does abort, keep lamb and get it tested by your vet.
Keep an eye on the rest of the flock if you have a problem more may abort. and if she shows any signs of smelly pus or temperature rise get vet as she may have retained tissue.
Also just another thought is your ram bought in? and is he from a reliable source
« Last Edit: December 02, 2011, 12:15:02 pm by feldar »


  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Urgent - Is this Ewe aborting?
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2011, 12:38:28 pm »
Abortion of a foetus which is a couple of months old happens ocasionally, stress/ infection can cause the placenta or foetus to die. Normally the ewe recovers pretty quickly and can even take the ram  again this winter. For vet to diagnose keep any placenta and look for a foetus that can fit in your hand.


  • Joined Sep 2010
Re: Urgent - Is this Ewe aborting?
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2011, 01:18:44 pm »
Thanks for the input guys, really appreciated.

Worms were a first thought as I approached this morning, but on closer look I could see it wasn't. I've also double checked under the tail, and it is from the vulva.

The ewe appears fine. I've not seen any sign of stress or infection in any of them, they've all been acting as usual, the first sign of something untoward was the ram sniffing and pushing her (I can see them from the house, and look at them out of habit too many times a day to count). Currently still on grass (with mineral lick), and the odd bit of hard feed to get them over for a checkover, they are all eating ok (she was 2nd in the race to the bucket this morning).

No smell that I can detect (although the ram clearly can, as has been having a good sniff). Ram was home bred. Unrelated.

I don't know if what I can see is pre or post abortion? Looks post to me if last years lambing is a guide to go by, but it's my first year and I'm still a novice in so many respects. I've checked the field but 'a foetus that can fit in your hand' - easy to miss, so I may have. Thanks for that guide shep53, I was looking for something larger so I'll pop out there again.

I have no idea if she was/is carrying a multiple birth. If so then maybe the other will go full term? I'll note the possibility down in her records; but I'll change the raddle colour anyhow, and see if she comes back into season in due course.

Am still monitoring her as need to make sure this is attended to and make sure she is ok.


  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Urgent - Is this Ewe aborting?
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2011, 07:34:39 pm »
Only once has a ewe aborted early and carried its twin to full term, at scanning a live foetus plus a dead twin being re-absorbed is common. If you are worried about the possability of toxo then the vet can do a blood test. Do you or any of your neighbours have young cats and if yes do they have access to hay or feed, if no then toxo should not be a contender. No new sheep bought this autumn???

Hazelwood Flock

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Dorset.
Re: Urgent - Is this Ewe aborting?
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2011, 08:40:56 pm »
If it does turn out to be toxoplasmosis, if the ewe has aborted she will be immune to toxo in the future. Watch the others carefully as it can cause abortions in any sheep who are not naturally immune. Many things can cause a ewe to slip her lamb, but as has already been said a blood test would tell you for sure if it's toxo.
Not every day is baaaaaad!
Pedigree Greyface Dartmoor sheep.


  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Urgent - Is this Ewe aborting?
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2011, 07:34:55 pm »
It is worth placing a ewe who has aborted in with your ewe lambs (if you intend to use them as replacements/sell as breeding sheep) they will then get and become immune to whichever strain it is before they come to be in lamb themselves.


  • Joined Jun 2008
    • golocal food
    • Facebook
Re: Urgent - Is this Ewe aborting?
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2011, 08:52:35 pm »
if you put the ewe in a seperate feild do keep an eye on her in case she bags up... we have a ewe that aborted one last year fairly early then produced a big tup lamb


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