Rib Fractures in Sheep

Lamb rib fractures preliminary investigation
Rib fractures in lambs is a costly condition that results in a significant economic loss estimated to be $3 million per annum to producers and processors and raises significant welfare concerns.

Whilst previously considered a consequence of primary trauma due to poor husbandry it is now postulated that these fractures are secondary to pathologically weakened bones. With a greater understanding of neonatal and juvenile animal bone pathology the cause of these fractures may be identified and potentially eliminated.

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The original story……

What has been detected in my sheep at the abattoir?
Broken ribs. The reports generally refer to old, healed fractures.

How does it occur?

  • The most common cause is soft bones due to mineral or vitamin deficiencies, especially calcium, phosphorus and Vitamin D.
  • Incorrect settings on pneumatic equipment or hard handling of animals.

What does it mean for me?
What can I do about it?
Who do I call for more information?

Information provided by Bisecurity SA, PIRSA.