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Redgut in sheep: a disease with a twist

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Redgut is a condition of sheep characterised by sudden death. Post-mortem findings are reddened small and large intestines, which are usually displaced. Sheep are predisposed to the condition by a combination of circumstances, including a small rumenoreticulum because of the nature of the feed (usually highly digestible forage), and increased large intestinal size and function. To accommodate this, and because there is not a large rumenoreticulum to stabilise the gut position, the intestinal mass moves to an unstable position in the peritoneal cavity. Some unknown event precipitates a further change in intestinal position, resulting in accidental torsion of the intestinal mass, with resultant obstruction of the mesenteric blood vessels and death from shock. The condition can be prevented by careful attention to feeding regimes that prevent development of the predisposing feature of small forestomachs and an oversized large intestine, resulting in a displaced intestinal mass. This is achieved by intermittent grazing of “dangerous” pastures.

Keywords: Gastrointestinal; Nutrition; Pathology; Redgut; Sheep

Document Type: Book Review

Publication date: December 1, 1997

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