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Farm Animal Practice
Induction of parturition in sheep
  1. Larissa Ingoldby

    Larissa Ingoldby graduated from Cambridge in 1998 where she remained for a year as an intern in farm animal medicine and reproduction. She is currently an assistant in a mixed practice in Devon.

  2. Peter Jackson

    Peter Jackson was university physician in the Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge. He now has a part-time appointment in medicine and reproduction at Cambridge.


ALTHOUGH induction of birth has been quite widely used in cattle and is extensively used in pigs, it remains a relatively uncommon procedure in sheep. A major limitation to the technique in sheep is the poor survival of premature lambs and the frequent lack of precise information concerning the stage of gestation of ewes. Induction of parturition to facilitate batch lambing in groups of synchronised ewes can be very successful. However, the adverse economics of the sheep industry in recent years may have precluded its more widespread use. In instances where the welfare and possibly the survival of a ewe is at risk, as in the case of pregnancy toxaemia, a reliable protocol to induce parturition safely and maximise lamb viability is essential.

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