Rectal prolapse is a condition where, for some reason, the rectum is pushed out of the body. The tender mucus membranes become dried and cracked, causing more irritation and straining. In some cases, the lamb can prolapse its entire intestinal tract, and die of shock.
The act of coughing puts pressure on the rectum and can be one of the initiating factors in rectal prolapse. This condition is usually seen in fat ewe lambs. Ewe lambs tend to have more internal fat than wether lambs and this is believed to contribute to rectal prolapses. Any problem causing diarrhea increases irritation to the area and promotes straining. Therefore, it increases the chances of rectal prolapses. The prolapsed rectum is easy to recognize. It protrudes from the anal area and is bright cherry red. Rectal prolapses must be taken care of right away or you run the risk of having the lamb prolapse its entire intestinal tract.
Call your veterinarian.
Prolapse is a major cause of ewe mortality. Ewes, and especially ewe lambs, that are fat and aren't getting exercise seem prone. Moldy feed that contains estrogen may upset hormone balance sufficiently to cause expulsion of the vagina or uterus.
Vaginal prolapse occurs before lambing and may be inherited. It may be due to too bulky feed, natural estrogens in the feed or those produced by molds, short tail dock, or injury. To correct it, clean the protruding tissue, elevate the rear quarters of the ewe, and reinsert the tissue. To keep the tissue in, you can suture the vulva partially, insert a plastic ewe retainer, or fasten a rope hitch around the ewe in a manner that permits tying three knots over the vulva. Use an antibiotic to arrest infection and cull the ewe.
Uterine prolapse occurs after lambing and may be due to a parturition accident. It may never occur again. If uterine infection develops, treat it with sulfa bolus or an antibiotic. Use a ewe retainer, feed a low roughage diet, elevate the ewe's rear quarters, and use a rope hitch as described above.