Monday, July 22, 2013

What is Bottle Jaw?

The official name for "bottle jaw" is submandibular subcuteneous edema. It is an accumulation of fluid (swelling) under the lower jaw of a sheep, goat, or calf. It is usually a result of anemia (blood loss) and occurs primarily due to the infestation of barber pole worms (Haemonchus contortus).

Bottle jaw is a serious condition and can be deadly if you don't act quickly. If you see bottle jaw in an animal, you need to administer an effective anthelmintic (dewormer). All dewormers should be administered orally using a syringe with a long metal nozzle. The drug should be deposited over the tongue into the esophagus. Because goats metabolize drugs more rapidly, they typically require higher dosages of the drugs.

Bottle jaw in a Katahdin ewe
Not all animals that are severely infected with barber pole worms will present with bottle jaw. FAMACHA scores should be checked regularly to determine the need for deworming individual animals. A FAMACHA score is an estimate of anemia (packed cell volume) and is determined by examining the color of the animal's lower eyelid (conjuctiva). Paleness (white or light pink color) is an indication of anemia and the need for deworming.

While Haemonchosis is the most probable cause of bottle jaw, bottle jaw can be a symptom of other disease conditions, such as Johne's disease, liver fluke disease, and copper deficiency. Coccidiosis can also cause a sheep or goat to get anemic and present with bottle jaw.

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