Dinner plan killers

Blocked goats, pig C-sections, and pregnancy toxemia

  • Meredyth Jones Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078; Large Animal Consulting & Education, Perkins, OK 74059
Keywords: urolithiasis, sheep, goats, swine, Cesarean section, pregnancy toxemia


Urinary obstructed small ruminants, pigs in dystocia, and pregnancy toxemia all represent challenging, truly emergent clinical scenarios in mixed and large animal practice. Each of these scenarios, however, lend themselves to protocol development. Putting these cases on autopilot can remove a lot of the associated stress and ensure consistent patient care with consideration for client expectations and finances built right in.

Initial evaluation of animals with suspected urolithiasis should include examination of the preputial hairs for grit or formed stones and exteriorization of the penis for examination and amputation of the vermiform appendage. When vermiform appendage amputation fails to relieve the obstruction, catheterization and surgical intervention, including perineal urethrostomy, tube cystotomy, minimally invasive tube cystotomy, and others should be considered.

Swine presented for dystocia are often compromised and require a Cesarean section. Having a standard protocol in place for perioperative drugs, including anesthetic drugs, antimicrobials, and anti-inflammatories, reduces the veterinarian’s stress in preparing to go to surgery. Unlike other species, the surgical approach in swine is paramammary and the uterus is much more highly vascularized. Care must be taken to minimize abdominal contamination where dead piglets are involved.

Ewes and does presented ill in late gestation should always be evaluated for pregnancy toxemia. Many, if not most of these animals, additionally have pneumonia and a GI parasite burden. Does and ewes that are still standing and eating can often be managed in the field, while those that are recumbent will only recover if placed on IV fluids and dextrose CRI. Producers must be educated on pregnancy toxemia risk factors, such as obesity, parasitism, and improper feeding.

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