Posted By: Bibby - Farm Vet

Stitch The Lucky Lamb

Stitch the lamb had a bit of an eventful start to life! Moment after he was born he began to eviscerate his intestines through his navel. This as you can imagine is a true emergency.

Umbilical defects can be fairly common in ruminants, either as a result of a congenital condition resulting in failure of the body wall closing or as a result of trauma to the body wall, causing rupture of the abdominal muscle layers.

When I arrived Stitch was becoming uncomfortable, this was as a result of  his intestines starting to swell, the tissues were filling with blood, which would have been painful. Initially the small intestine were cleaned with very dilute disinfectant to remove as much bacteria as possible, as when the intestine were introduced back into the abdomen, we wanted to minimise the risk of peritonitis. A very small amount of local anaesthetic was introduced to head and bottom end of his navel. This was to allow small incisions, making the navel bigger to allow the intestine to be replaced. With Stitch on his back, and gravity to help all of his intestine were replaced into their correct position. Several stitches were placed with a strong and very slowly dissolving suture material along his muscle layers and skin, ensuring his intestines stayed in place this time!

Stitches successful recovery was down to quickly identify his problem, and probably more importantly, really good nursing. Because of the potential damage and trauma to Stitches intestine, it was necessary to ensure he had regular feeds of colostrum for the first 24 hours. The colostrum was essential for providing antibodies to prevent secondary infections, nutrition to the intestine and provide stimulus to ensure gut motility. Stitch also had a course of Antibiotics to cover for secondary infections as well as pain relief after his procedure. Pictured above is Stitch as he continues to thrive nearly  2 weeks after his traumatic birth.

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