The incidence of parturient problems in small ruminants is relatively low, however when they do occur they are often emergency situations for the foetus and dam. Farmer training is essential so that problems are detected early and veterinary advice sought sooner rather than later. For the attending veterinary surgeon the approach to these obstetrical emergencies is not really any different to those in other species, particularly cows, so the surgeon should attend in confidence. Once an initial assessment is made a plan should be agreed with the farmer taking into account prognosis and economic concerns, but then should be undertaken without delay. The main differences in small ruminants are the pharmaceutical preparations and doses that can be safely, and legally, used for obstetrical interventions. In some cases where the dam is small relative to the attending veterinary surgeon then surgical interventions may be necessary without full assessment of the reproductive tract. This article was commissioned following a successful talk at the London Vet Show 2018 aimed at supporting new graduates and veterinary practitioners who only perform infrequent farm visits. It aims to discuss the common obstetrical emergencies in small ruminants that the practitioner may experience and will describe tips and techniques on how to approach these. Although every effort has been made to discuss the variety of approaches that can be undertaken by the veterinary practitioner, individual variation and on farm situations will differ.
- 6. Caesarean