Ano 2005 - Volume 25, Número 3

Mortalidade perinatal de cordeiros no semi-árido da Paraíba, p.171-178

Nóbrega Jr J.E., Riet-Correa F., Nóbrega R.S., Medeiros J.M., Vasconcelos J.S., Simões S.V.D. & Tabosa I.M. 2005. [Perinatal mortality of lambs in the semi-arid region of Paraíba, Brazil.] Mortalidade perinatal de cordeiros no semi-árido da Paraíba. Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira 25(3):171-178. Centro de Saúde e Tecnologia Rural, UFCG, Campus de Patos, 58700-000 Patos, PB, Brazil. E-mail:

The causes of perinatal lamb mortality were studied, from March 2002 to October 2004, on 27 farms in the semiarid region of Paraíba, northeastern Brazil. In 90 lambs necropsied the following frequency of different causes of death was found: neonatal infections (41.1%), malformations (23.3%), dystocia (10%), starvation/hypothermia (10%), abortion (4.4%), and predation (2.2%). Regarding the time of death, 4.4% of the lambs died before parturition, 10% during parturition, 30% on the first day after parturition, 20% between the second and the third day, and 35.6% between the 4th and the 28th day after parturition. The assistance during parturition, umbilical disinfection of the neonates, colostrum ingestion between 2 and 6 hours after parturition, and keeping the ewes in healthy environmental conditions during and after parturition could improve lamb surviving. The high frequency of malformations in different breeds suggests that malformations are due to a toxic plant. The main defects were permanent flexure of the front legs, brachygnathia, cleft palate, and other head malformations. In a recent report the authors demonstrated the teratogenic effects of Mimosa tenuiflora, a very common plant in the semiarid region, which is probably the cause of those malformations. Lambs which died due to starvation/hypothermia and had low birth weight (1.37 ± 0.70kg), suggesting that a better nutrition of the ewe during the last trimester of gestation is a way to control this cause of lamb mortality. Considering that in the northeastern region, in most farms, the rams stay with the ewes during the whole year, the adoption of a breeding season would help to control the different causes of perinatal lamb mortality.
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