A COLD, WET LAMB

1 easy way to save One sim­ple in­jec­tion can be a life-saver for cold or weak lambs.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Feature -

Lambs born dur­ing a heavy cold snap can ex­haust their energy stores just try­ing to keep warm. They quickly be­come too weak to feed off their mother and so they can starve and die.

But in­ject­ing a 20% mix of dex­trose di­rectly into the lamb’s ab­domen can give them the energy boost they need to sur­vive. This tech­nique is known as an in­tra-peri­toneal in­jec­tion and it can be done by the farmer, on the spot, and gives good re­sults.

When to in­ject lambs

In­ject lambs with dex­trose who are too cold or weak to feed off their mother. You must do this be­fore you warm the lamb; if you warm the lamb be­fore you ‘fuel’ it, you will has­ten its death. Give the in­jec­tion when the lamb is over four or five hours old – lambs younger than this should still have enough energy stores to re­cover when warmed. Note: it is not a dis­ad­van­tage to in­ject new lambs, but warm­ing them should be enough.

What to do Op­tion 1

• In­ject ster­ile 20% dex­trose mix di­rectly into the lamb’s ab­domen. You can buy it ready-made to this con­cen­tra­tion, in a 500ml flex­ibag with an at­tached dra­woff tube. Al­ter­na­tively, use 40% Dex­trose di­luted at a ra­tio of 1:1 with ster­ile wa­ter. • Con­nect a 5ml or 10ml vac­ci­nat­ing gun to the draw-off tube or ex­tract the dex­trose us­ing a 60ml sy­ringe. • Use a 10mm 18G vac­ci­nat­ing nee­dle – it must not be longer than 12.5mm (1.25cm). • The dosage rate is 10ml of dex­trose per kilo of lamb weight. The most sus­cep­ti­ble are small new­born lambs that weigh less than 4kg, so you should in­ject 40ml. • Warm the dex­trose if pos­si­ble, although it still works if you don’t. • Hold the lamb be­tween your legs or lie it on the ground, then spray the area to be in­jected with io­dine. • Push the nee­dle in, just in front of the navel (ie, on the head side) push­ing in at a slight angle to­wards the chest. You may

feel a pop­ping sen­sa­tion as the nee­dle pierces the ab­domen. • In­ject the so­lu­tion – if you see a swelling oc­cur­ring un­der the skin, the nee­dle is not in far enough. The in­jec­tion di­rectly into the ab­domen with 20% dex­trose gives the best re­sults as it works more quickly, and is faster to do. How­ever another op­tion to get energy into the lamb is to in­ject dex­trose saline un­der the skin, known as a sub­cu­ta­neous in­jec­tion. • Pre­pare a vac­ci­nat­ing nee­dle or sy­ringe with dex­trose saline (note, this is not the same as 20% dex­trose) • In­ject 30ml/kg of lamb weight sub­cu­ta­neously around the ribs, on both sides of the lamb, and rub the site. After giv­ing the lamb dex­trose and warm­ing it up, it should be­come more ac­tive and ready to feed. Place back with the ewe if she is happy to take it. How­ever keep an eye on it – it may be­come an or­phan lamb. A lamb cover can also help im­prove the lamb’s chances of sur­vival.

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