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Monday, 11 May 2015

Lambing Positions

This is when the head and only one leg are presented.
To correct this situation, the second leg should be presented before any traction is placed on the lamb. To do this, gently pushing the lambs head back inside, correcting the limb by flexing the leg from top shoulder to carpus joints, then extending in reverse order should allow the second leg to be alongside the first, without causing any damage to the uterus.

Bilateral Shoulder Flexion (Hung Lamb)
Only the head is presented at the vulva, both legs are retained alongside the chest inside the vagina.
This correction is made by pushing the lambs head back inside, bringing forward one leg at a time and then birthing normally. The lambs head, if left outside the vulva for a long period of time, may become swollen; the tongue and mouth should be checked after birth and if necessary stomach tubing may be used to ensure adequate colostrum intake.

Posterior Presentation
The lamb is presented backwards. There is much reduced straining during second stage because the lamb does not become fully engaged within the ewe’s pelvis to stimulate the powerful reflex abdominal contractions. The legs presented will bend in the opposite directions at the carpus (knee) and fetlock joints, whereas in forelegs they bend in the same direction.
Trauma to the rib cage at the costochondral (bone/cartilage) junctions is common in large lambs delivered in this position. Another possible complication is liver rupture and rib fractures. The lambs can be delivered in this position, but care should be taken and excess traction should be avoided.

Posterior Presentation with Bilateral Hip Extension (Breech)
Lamb is backwards in the womb with the lamb’s tail end blocking the exit pathway, both hips flexed.
There is little abdominal straining as the ewe’s reflex pathway has not been triggered. This affliction is usually recognised by the lack of progression from first to second stage of labour after around half a day. The lamb can often become emphysematous (swollen with gas) and may result in the death of the lamb and ewe in neglected cases.
To correct this presentation, the hips must be extended while the distal limbs (stifle, hock and fetlock joints) are fully flexed to protect the uterus. The breech is converted to a posterior presentation and delivered as normal. To correct the breech, the lamb should gently be repelled back into the body of the uterus. Care should be taken during extension of the hip joints especially if the uterus is clamped down around the lamb. Uterine rupture and bacterial colonisation of the womb are risks associated with this kind of correction and veterinary assistance should be considered.


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