Drenching – giving a medicine or liquid preparation by mouth into the stomach of an animal.

  • Most worm remedies (anthelmintics) are administered by drenching (dosing), as are preparations such as bloat treatments, treatment for diarhhoea and constipation and other medicines. 
  • Incorrect drenching can cause inhalation pneumonia, which is difficult to treat and can prove fatal. 
  • It is essential that the farmer always follows manufacturers’ directions when administering any treatment by mouth.
  • Always use the correct dose for the age and size of the animal.
  • If an animal is weak or undernourished smaller doses should be used.
  • Animals naturally struggle when being drenched or dosed.
  • This may cause the operator to hurry the procedure, resulting in choking of the animal.
  • Often the animal’s head is held so high so that it cannot swallow properly.
  • Liquids should be given slowly, allowing the animal time to swallow.
  • The head should be held firmly but not so high as to impede swallowing.
  • f the animal being treated begins to choke or cough, the procedure must be stopped and the head released.
  • Wait a few minutes for the animal to recover before continuing.
  • Sheep and goats can be drenched with a bottle, a spoon, a dosing gun or a stomach tube.
  • The stomach tube is most commonly used to get milk or colostrum into the gut of weak lambs who are unable to suckle.
  • The stomach tube used for sheep and lambs is softer, shorter and has a smaller diameter than that used for horses or cattle.
  • To pass the stomach tube, first measure the tube on the outside of the lamb so you can see how far to insert it.
  • Lay the tube along the lamb from the tip of its nose, along the neck and side, so the tip lies at the last rib.
  • Mark the tube at the nose and this will show the length to insert.
  • Hold the lamb between your legs to restrain it, but let it stand on the floor.
  • Open mouth slightly with your fingers and begin inserting tube over tongue and back into mouth and throat.
  • The lamb will resist a little at this but usually not too severely.
  • As the end of the tube gets into the neck region, watch along the left side of the neck and you can probably see the tube moving on down the esophagus.
  • Don’t force the tube.
  • If it is obstructed and won’t push on easily, withdraw it slightly and try again.
  • If the lamb begins trying to cough, the tube may be in the trachea (windpipe) and must be withdrawn so the tip is back in the mouth and then try again.
  • If the tube is in so the mark is now at the tip of the nose, it should be into the stomach.
  • Attach the syringe with colostrum or milk to the tube and infuse it through the tube.

REF:    Handbook of Stock Diseases; Monnig and Veldman
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