General description
  • Bruising of the carcase is caused by injury. External blunt trauma results in bleeding and muscle discolouration.
  • Depending on the severity of bruising, entire areas could be trimmed, reducing carcase weight.
  • Bruising is a condition of animal welfare importance.
  • Bruising is estimated to cost industry millions of dollars in losses.
  • Bruising may be caused by many agents, including dog bites, lifting sheep by their wool, trauma during shearing or crutching, poor handling and yard designs, and injury during transport. 
  • The location of bruises can give indication as to their cause.
  • Poor handling and/or poor facilities are the most common factors behind excessive bruising.
Clinical signs
  • Muscle bleeding and discolouration.  
  • At processing the visual appearance of the lesion, without a visible open wound.  
  • Although bruises heal and disappear over time, they are not seen in the live animal, so there is no treatment for bruising.  
  • Proper yard design, handling stock calmly, minimising the use of dogs, appropriate transport loading, and consigning at least 2 weeks after shearing or other husbandry procedures. 
  • Gentle handling of sheep, using the principles of low-stress stock handling, reduces risk of bruising by preventing excessive sheep responses to threats entering into their ‘flight zone’ region.
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