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Bloat in lambs - Sheep & Goats [Skip to Content]
Illinois Livestock Trail by UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION


Sheep & Goats
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QUESTION
I have just lost a bottle fed lamb to apparent bloat. The lamb was around 8 weeks old. Taking milk replacer and eating grass. She got into distress shortly after the evening bottle. Her abdomen was very swollen on both sides. She was dead within half an hour. I tried giving her vegetable oil by mouth to suppress foam in the rumen. But to no avail. After she died I took a knife and cut her open to locate the source of the bloat. First cut into rumen? or area that was compacted with grass - no gas escaped. Then I found a sac below above rumen? and just aft of the last rib and in the middle,on the left hand side, when pierced a large amount of gas escaped. THere was also some foam matter present. How do I treat this problem in future? Is it abomasal bloat? How do I prevent it? Many thanks


ANSWER

I am not a vet, but from the description of the death and the suddeness of it I feel your lamb probably had Entertoxcemia or "Overeating Disease" This does not mean the animal was eating too much, but rather that it may have been stressed in someway and that sent it into the condition. Did you vaccinate the lamb for "Overeating"? AR Cobb, Sheep Extension Specialist

Bloat may be caused by several things, and the most important aspect is to relieve the distension to stop respiratory compromise. That is best done through a tube or by puncturing the rumen to let off gas. This procedure has some risks, but in the event of severe respiratroy compromise is the only thing you can do. Drenching by mouth is a good way to introduce oil or whatever product you are doing it with into the lungs. A very fatal occurance! Having the lamb posted by your veterinarian may have given you more answers as to the root cause of the bloat (if it was bloat). Clifford F. Shipley, DVM, DACT University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine







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