Sheep Tail Docking Banding Elastrator


Docking is when the tail is shortened. Docking improves the health and welfare of sheep and lambs. The tail protects the sheep’s anus, vulva, and udder from weather extremes. Sheep lift their tail when they defecate and use their tail, to some extent, to scatter their feces. The ancestor of most modern sheep breeds (Mouflon) is a hair sheep with a short tail. Centuries of selection for wool production has resulted in sheep with long, woolly tails which usually require docking.

Sheep Tail Banding

All lambs are born with tails, much longer than what most adult sheep have. Much like many canines, such as cocker spaniels, sheep have their tails docked by their owners through a process called “banding.” The method is performed with the elastrator










An elastrator is simply a device to get a powerful elastic band around the base of the tail Slide the elastic bands over the four prongs at the top. Squeeze the handle to open. Its simple, easy , bloodless and most commonly used methods. The band cuts off the blood supply to the tail, causing the tail to fall off in 7 to 10 days.

Some people dock lambs as soon as they are born, but its preferred to make sure the lamb is thriving well in the new world before adding another burden to it. Lambs are usually docked at 24 hours of age. It can be done up to ten days old but the longer you wait the more discomfort the lamb will have. Nerves are not developed yet in the first day of life so they feel nothing during the procedure. This makes sense because they don’t react at all–they are more annoyed at being held.

This method causes the lamb to be very susceptible to tetanus. It is imperative that either a tetanus anti-toxin be administered at the time of docking, or that the mother should be vaccinated with tetanus taxied 2-4 weeks before giving birth. Those immunities will cover the lamb.

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Ear Cropping is Necessary?

Necessary for Pets?

Originally, ear cropping was done on “working” dogs such as terriers or hunting dogs, to save their ears from being injured while they were working. The practice of cropping ears has continued, because many dog fanciers feel that the cropped ears complete the look of the dog. Many people are questioning the need for ear cropping: The aspect of animal cruelty comes into play, and many argue that there is no medical, physical, environmental or cosmetic advantage for the dog to have the pinnas (ear flaps) surgically altered.  They claim to subject any dog to “disfiguring” and an unnecessary surgical procedure, subsequent taping and bandaging after the surgery, amounts to animal cruelty and is indefensible.

Others will argue that for some breeds, the cropped ear will help prevent ear canal infections, and make the opportunity for ear infections much less likely.  They will state the ear cropping is no different philosophically or ethically than surgery such as spaying, neutering, removing protruding dewclaws or tail docking. Today most veterinarians would agree that the incidence of ear infections in breeds with erect standing ears is far less than in breeds with droopy, pendulous ears.

Ear Cropping Breeds

Ear Cropping is performed on over 20 breeds of dogs, such as Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, Boxers, Schnauzers, and Pit Bull Terriers. After surgery there is an aftercare period. Ear cropping surgery is also performed on a variety of cats. Ear cropping in cats is done as a surgical treatment for cancers of the ear. Most dog owners opt to have this surgery for aesthetic reasons, the patient fortunately benefits from the additional medical benefits accompanying the surgery. In rare cases, ear cropping or similar types of surgeries are deemed medically necessary due to health conditions. Otherwise, the decision to crop ears is one made by the dog owner and/or breeder. Other common elective cosmetic procedures include tail docking and dewclaw removal.

The Ear Cropping Surgery

Ear cropping and corrective otoplasties are major surgical procedures, and are as safe and as humane as any other elective surgical procedure when done correctly by an experienced, licensed veterinary surgeon in a hospital environment.

Ear Cropping Age

The surgery is performed at 8-12 weeks of age.  Sometimes the surgery can be done at a later age, however, the chance of the ear successfully standing after surgery decreases with age.  Even when performed at 12 weeks of age there is no guarantee that both ears will stand erect after surgery.  Surgery only shapes the ear.  Whether or not the ear stands up well has to do with the strength of the ear cartilage.  At this age, the cartilage can usually be trained to stand erect.

After Ear Cropping

Ear cropping is a surgical procedure that involves precise cutting and shaping of the ear pinna (the floppy part of the ears) in order to make the ears stand erect. After surgery, the ears are bandaged and propped up so they heal in an erect position. Bandage changes are done weekly, and ears remain taped and propped up until they stand on their own. The healing process can take 4-8 weeks.

Ear Tapping

Important things to remember when taping the ear:

  • Check for odors (The ears should not have a foul smell.)
  • Keep the ears dry.  If the ears get wet, rewrap them with dry tape.
  • DO NOT take the ears down and let the ears “hang” for any length of time.
  • If the ears fall — put them right back up in the roll.

Re-taping Your Puppy’s Ears yourself

learning to tape your puppy’s ears yourself will save you from having to pay the vet’s office to do it for you. It also helps your puppy become accustomed to being handled. Don’t worry if your first attempt is not as pretty as the vet can do it. You can always start over if you don’t think you’ve done a good job and, with just a little practice, you’ll get quite good at it. Another advantage of knowing how is that it can be done as often as you think it needs to be done (for example if the tape gets wet, soiled or ragged or if you wish to inspect the ears for healing progress or infection). Leave the tape on the first time about 3 days then remove it by carefully sliding a blunt ended pair of scissors between the edge of the ear and the tape then slowly peeling the tape from the ears.

Ear Crop Type

There are different lengths of ear crops:

  • Military/Pet Crop: Ears are relatively short in length and has a wider base (bell). They does not typically take very long to stand.
  • Medium Crop: Ears are a little longer and has a little less bell.
  • Show Crop: Ears are longer and a little narrower than the other two crops.
  • Long Crop: Ears are longe.





Ear Cropping Tools

Following tools are used for ear cropping, specially designed ear cropping clamps are used to hold the ears, these clamps function as surgical clamping guides and assist in producing beautiful, consistent ear crops. Breed Specific Kits are available to perform ear cropping, kit includes all necessary tools to perform ear cropping.

Following Breed Specific Ear Cropping Kit are available.


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Methods of Tail Docking in Dogs

Methods of Tail Docking in Dogs

Most veterinarians agree that the risk of tail injury is high in adult dogs; Docking is a necessary precaution to further harm. It does not affect the dog ability to do the daily activities also docking improves the health and welfare. Docking is the removal of portions of an animal’s tails or ears. While docking and bobbing are more commonly used to refer to removal of the tail, the term cropping is used in reference to the ears. Tail docking occurs in one of two ways. The first involves constricting the blood supply to the tail with a rubber band










for a few days until the tail falls off. The second involves the cutting the tail with a specially designed tools Emasculator,










a double action stainless steel tool is designed to cut the tail with minimal blood loss as blood vessels are crushed. It reduces trauma with minimal blood loss.

Dog breeds that were historically used as working dogs appeared to have encountered various issues from their tails getting severely cut as they ran through bushes. Sooner or later infections would set in making tail docking a common preventative procedure. With little or none veterinary at those times, docking seemed like a wise preventive measure.

It must be considered as well that centuries ago in Germany, taxes were collected from the owners of non-working dogs, these taxes were defined as “tail taxes” since the distinguishing feature between a working dog and a non working dog was the presence or absence of it’s tail.

This is because most breeds in particular had their tails docked depending on how they were primarily utilized at work.

Tail docking remains still a controversial issue. Many countries ban cropping and docking. While taking a look back into history various explanations for tail docking may seem plausible, today the practice is strictly cosmetically oriented and therefore, really unnecessary. Whether to dock or not in today’s modern world remains the owner’s choice. However, should to dog have the right to choose if his tail should be docked or not, we already now what his answer would be as he expresses himself with the liveliest tail wag ever…..

Docking Methods

There are some methods of docking are commonly practiced:

The majority of breeders used the technique known as “banding”, in which a band, was placed over the end of the puppies tail at 24-96 hours old. This effectively cuts off the blood supply to the end of the tail, which comes away within 4-7 days.

Many vets used to cut the tail with surgical instruments. There is generally no need for stitches, but on occasions these can be used, especially with the larger breeds.

Does It Hurt Puppy

Docking is carried out when puppies are tiny. Their eyes are not yet open and long experience indicates that if carried out correctly, the procedure causes little discomfort or pain.  After docking, puppies will immediately return to their dam to feed, and there is no evidence that development or weight gain is in any way arrested by the docking procedure.

Nor does a dog which has been docked as a puppy have any problems with balance or communication.

If, however, tail damage occurs during adulthood and docking has to be carried out for therapeutic reasons, normally under anesthetic, a dog can be seriously distressed and the healing process can be painful and protracted.

Reasons of Docking

There are two main reasons why Dock Tails:

1. To avoid tail damage

This is the most important reason for docking a tail. A number of working gundog breeds have to hunt game through heavy vegetation and thick brambles, where their fast tail action can easily lead to torn and bleeding tails which are painful and extremely difficult to treat. Docking the end of the tail eliminates the risk of injury.

2. For reasons of hygiene

Dogs with thick hair have a good chance of getting feces on themselves and caught in the tail. Docking can greatly reduce the hygiene problems.

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