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- If the lamb begins trying to cough, the tube may be in the trachea (windpipe) and must be withdrawn so the tip is back in the mouth and then try again.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