A vaginal prolapse study involving around 2000 ewes in North Canterbury has shown some promising results. Half of the 2000 ewes were treated with Vitamin ADE at different stages.
The treated mixed age ewes had significantly less bearings compared with un-treated controls. In the two treated groups the risk of a bearings was reduced to 25% and 37% of that treated controls.
This is similar result to the LSD mineral drench trial that one of our Otago clients did. In this situation the bearing rate reduced by 2/3rds in LSD treated ewes.
Why would this mineral have an effect?
Bearings are very multi-factorial. They are a function of abdominal pressure and vaginal wall integrity. The changes in pressure comes from variation in rumen fill, abdominal fat, bladder fill, uterus size and development.
The smooth muscle function and tone is effected by calcium levels and previous trauma. Vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium from the diet and helps with bone and kidney mechanisms to do with calcium regulation. Some forms are derived from sunlight, other forms from certain feeds. Vitamin D is lowest in the winter when sunshine hours are lower. Mid-winter shearing has shown to reduce the risk of bearings in multiple bearing ewes. Is this because their skin is exposed to more sunlight and more Vitamin D? We assumed it had something to do with increased metabolism, burning abdominal fat and moving around more. Perhaps it is both. This is not going to be the total solution, but it is another piece to this complex puzzle.