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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2000 Nov 15;217(10):1536-9.

Pregnancy toxemia in a flock of sheep.

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  • 1Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331-4802, USA.


A high prevalence of metabolic disease was evident in a large flock of sheep early in the lambing season. Pregnancy toxemia and secondary hypocalcemia were diagnosed on the basis of history, physical examination findings, and results of serum biochemical analyses. To decrease costs to the owner, pooled serum samples were used to determine the metabolic health status of the flock. Ewes close to the time of lambing were found to be in severe negative energy balance, which resulted in excessive fat mobilization as well as clinical signs associated with pregnancy toxemia and hepatic lipidosis. By nutrient analysis, it was determined that the ewes had an inadequate amount of fermentable carbohydrates, which provide glucose to support the additional nutrition required during late gestation. The diet provided to sheep during late gestation should contain sufficient glucose precursors to maintain adequate glucose availability to maternal and fetal tissues. To minimize the physiologic decline in dry-matter intake during late gestation (which results in accentuation of negative energy balance), high-quality feed ingredients should be fed to ewes during this period.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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