Downer ewe just seems to have given up on legs

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Rectifier, Mar 21, 2017 at 12:11 AM.

  1. Rectifier

    Rectifier Well-Known Member

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    She's been down for a week with no other symptoms. Have given her a full bottle of Cal-Mag SQ, shot of Selenium/E, drenched her with ketamalt, ivermectin, and a shot of penicillin.

    Normally my downers are down with hypocalcemia/magnesemia, and obviously quite ill. They either respond to Cal-Mag or die.

    However, she's an odd case. She shows no signs of illness other than being on the thin side. She's bright eyed, holds her head up, has good appetite and thirst and generally seems in good spirits. She passes normal pellets. But when she tries to get up her legs simply don't have any power. She can get around very slowly with an odd sort of crab walk with a hunched back. She cannot flip her front legs fully out of tucked and cannot get her back legs up above 45 degrees. Lately she seems to have accepted that she is stationary and has taken to bawling at me when she wants something instead of trying to get up. Any ideas?

    She's due to lamb in a month so I am just going to keep feeding and watering her until she lambs unless I can get her back on her feet. Then I'll probably bottle feed the lamb and cull her as she'll never feed a lamb laying down. She doesn't seem to be in any distress.
     
  2. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm This Space For Rent Supporter

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    http://www.sheep101.info/201/diseasesa-z.html

     

  3. Hiro

    Hiro Well-Known Member

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  4. Rectifier

    Rectifier Well-Known Member

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    I bought a dispersal of 3/4/5 year old ewes and she was one of them. She may well be older than 5 though as she was classified as "5" by having all her teeth in.

    That's something I didn't bother with, B vitamins. Usually I'll do B if a ewe is off her feed but I gave it a pass this time. I'll go fire one down her throat. She's definitely not blind, however, and their diet is almost completely hay based.
     
  5. Hiro

    Hiro Well-Known Member

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    No harm in trying the B1, you'll know soon enough if it is thiamine deficiency. Usually there are a host of other symptoms with that and it is usually younger or dry lot sheep on feed exclusively. I hope it works out. That is an odd development for a mature sheep. Any chance of physical trauma? If not, I would guess something neurological like a tumor along her spinal column...

    Best of luck to you and her!
     
  6. Rectifier

    Rectifier Well-Known Member

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    No effect from the B complex.

    Looking closer at her, her back legs are wonky. When she is laying, they are crossed and sticking out the wrong sides. If I try to help her to her feet, they will not track back onto the proper sides of the body - they stay crossed. They have no strength in them at all.

    A search for this symptom found it sometimes occurs with meningeal worm infection. Not something we are used to dealing with, but at least it's not contagious between sheep. These ewes were from a fairly wild range flock, so would have come in contact with deer more than my regular flock - it's possible they could have contracted the worm.
     
  7. Farmfresh

    Farmfresh Well-Known Member

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    She may have a broken hip or pelvis. Is there a chance that she fell?
     
  8. Rectifier

    Rectifier Well-Known Member

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    This happened suddenly about 5 days after shearing, during a terrible cold spell that stressed the entire flock really badly and showed up some issues. The cold even killed a couple of weak ewes from that batch I bought.

    She was fine after shearing and the flock is confined to the corrals for lambing, so it's fairly unlikely something like a hip could get broken, though anything can happen. Just a few days ago I had a ewe overturned and then trampled to death against the bale feeders... it's been an unlucky month for us.
     
  9. Farmfresh

    Farmfresh Well-Known Member

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    Any dogs or coyotes that might have been out chasing them? The other downed ewe that was trampled makes me wonder that. A hoofed animal will usually not step on another animal or even a very soft patch of ground unless they can't avoid it. It could be that something was chasing them and then the animals slipped and went down. The cold snap could have meant ice or slippery ground as well.

    Something to try is to turn her over to her other side. Then try to get her up. If it is a hip then she might not be able to push herself up off of it to get up and has just given up. I know that from personal experience with my arthritis.