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Hello All,
This is my first post. I hope I can get some clues on how to help my poor little sheep who is withering away.

I'll try to make this short.
Symptoms:
Emaciated, minimal appetite, (previously) cloudy eyes, some diarrhea on tail, but I believe the diarrhea is old. Cloudy eyes are better after a thiamine shot and antibiotic shot from vet a few weeks ago, but she still has no appetite and is emaciated. She just stands in the field. She nibbles and follows the others, but she looks forlorn. Poor baby.

What I've done:
Wormed her weeks ago with: Ivomec drench for sheep and Safe-guard fenbendazole dewormer (for goats but internet said good for sheep, too).

Called vet. He wondered if it's sheep polio (thiamine deficiency). He gave her thiamine shot and antibiotic. I called him again yesterday and he's asking for a fecal sample and will do blood sample if she's not better (she's not). I cannot get a fecal sample - I never see her defecate and I've had her isolated for 2 nights but no manure to collect. I haven't seen her defecate in months. She urinates normally.

I noticed she likes carrots (and the other sheep do not nor do the goats). I have been grinding up 2 carrots in food processor every morning and putting Probios in it and a high calorie Omega-3 & 6 & 9 Plus liquid supplement in it. She usually trots over to me to eat it. This last few days, she is less interested. She still comes and eats about half, then stops eating.

I don't know what else to do! Any advice would be very welcome!
Thank you. Her name is Little Baa.
Best,
Leslie
 

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If it has been weeks since the last worming I would do it again (make sure dosage is correct, IMO a little to much is better than not enough). I would also give Pen G or another antibiotic for 3 days straight. Add a little Vit. B complex as well to encourage appetite. Get a sheep mineral block or loose sheep mineral as many others prefer and leave it for her to get at if she needs it. This is all strictly the way I would handle this and my way is not everyone's way but it works for our sheep farm.

I do think you need to work quickly. Try some electrolytes to keep her going as you work on this.
 

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If this were my sheep, I would pull her into a smaller pen with one other gentle sheep as a companion. Weigh her so you can dose her accurately. Personally, I'd have the vet out to actually get his hands on her. He can only do so much via phone call.

I think it's relatively safe to assume this is a parasite problem. Without getting a fecal sample, it's hard to say which wormer would be best.

Best plan would be to get a sample of her poop so that vet can run a fecal, but if that isn't a possiblity, I'd treat her again with Safe-Guard, but this time triple the dose and give that amount 3 days in a row. Wouldn't be a bad idea to repeat this in another 10 days.

Check her temperature. Given the situation, antibiotics could be helpful in case she is fighting an infection (not all infections have a fever). If you use PenG, give the recommended amount 3-5 days in a row. If you are using a long-acting antibiotic like LA200, than treat every other day for 3 doses.

Continue using your high calorie supplement. That stuff really helped a couple lambs of ours this spring that weren't thriving. Start giving the probiotics again after she has finished with the antibiotics.

Has she been getting any grain? If she's not, don't add that in until she's feeling better. If she is, cut way back. Her gut will be/has been taking a beating with the parasites, dewormers, and antibiotics. She may have trouble digesting the grain. Give her free-choice hay. Preferable a nice palatable 2nd cut.

When she starts feeling better, slowly add in some grain. Not a lot and cut back if she develops diarrhea.

Again, IMO, it would be best to get the vet out to see her. Good luck!

Can you give an update with breed, age, weight, and some pictures of her so we can get a better idea of her condition?
 

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I think you might have more than one thing going on with her.

Have you taken her temp?
Is she drinking water?
How old is she?
Is there any Ragwort or bracken in your pastures?
Lead paint on fencing or barn?
Is she in lamb or just had lambs?

She has to have been passing manure, other wise she would be dead by now.
Maybe the manure is so loose and running it is hard to see?

For her eyes, she "might" have pink eye. If this proves to be the case, use gloves as you can get it too.
 

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Agree with trying again on the wormers. You can give some scour pills, they are an antibiotic mix. Separate her from the flock and offer a pelleted creep feed, these are pretty hard for a sheep to resist.

I've heard good things many times about a beer drench for a sheep who has lost appetite, as beer is high in B vitamins and the alcohol can stimulate appetite (It sure does in humans!) but have never tried it myself. Worth a shot?

A visit from the vet will cost more than the animal is worth, this is an unfortunate fact about sheep.
I know this is probably not what you want to hear, but with winter on the way, if you are shipping lambs I would probably send her on the truck while she is still standing as she is unlikely to recover enough to be bred this fall or raise a lamb next year. Cull prices are pretty good right now.
 

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Depends when the truck is coming - wormed "weeks ago" could be pretty close to the Ivomec withdrawal period (~30 days) and most antibiotics are cleared in a week or so. The shots were 2 weeks ago so this ewe may be clear already.

Quite a few large trucks leave our area carrying sheep this time of year and it's pretty easy to drop off a cull at the neighbors place to go on their load at a safe time. Local shipping conditions may vary of course.

A friend of mine goes the easy way and cuts all his culls up to feed his LGDs. This way there is no worries about residues at all (the tiny residue of ivermectin or penicillin will not harm the dogs - both are commonly given to dogs). Previous to the current pricing situation this was also more economical than shipping them. It may be hard to kill and butcher a member of a small flock, but that's livestock production...
 

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Agree on the de -wormer but you don't say her age? Very rarely, a shearling will not grind down it's back teeth properly. They are sharp. The animal minces about, not eating enough and it is a vicious circle- not enough food, weakness, vulnerable to worms - even less food. I have my suspicions because she ate the carrots. Having not eaten well for a long time, this pleasure at eating may have upset her stomach and put her more off food.
One can rasp the teeth but it is extremely hard to get such a sheep going again. And the denture problem can be hereditary.
 

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What type of sheep is this? Hair or wool? On hay or pasture?

In cattle, copper deficiency apparently shows up as a wasting disease with loss of appetite. We are told to be careful about feeding sheep anything with supplemental copper, but my experience in testing my hay for horses is that hay is almost always deficient in zinc and copper, especially relative to iron, which interferes with copper and zinc metabolization. I know of one producer on the California coast that actually ran into a copper deficiency with her Barbados! So, it makes me wonder about this one, too. I heard from someone who works at an ag school in the sheep department, that hair sheep actually can handle more copper than wool sheep. They do need SOME copper, so with everyone being super careful not to let them get ANY, it is possible to run into a deficiency.

Did you check her eyelids for anemia?

What about white muscle disease? We had a lamb come up with that this spring. He couldn't stand all the way up, though his twin could, and when I gave him Bo-Se, he stood up but it was too late, his mom had rejected him. A friend took him and with the hay etc. he was on, he continued his selenium deficiency and ended up dying. He did get into geraniums and scoured badly, wouldn't eat for a few days, came back to eating but never did well after that, had a boney top-line, unthrifty. After he died, she opened him up and he was white inside, very pale muscles. His twin, the one the ewe kept, is still runty relative to the other lambs. Don't know why she may have been low herself before lambing.

I have selenium blocks, cobalt blocks and plain salt blocks available everywhere and then give loose minerals for sheep. Occasionally with let them have a goat protein block. I have also cut range minerals, which has some copper, in with the sheep minerals. Ask your vet about copper and selenium.

I hope you can pull her out of this!
 

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You can try to get a fecal sample by sticking your finger (use a glove) in her rectum. If she has any pellets or is producing any, there will be some for you to take to the Vet.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you for your replies. Here is the situation:
She continues to do badly. I have had the vet out twice. Blood sample came back today and diagnosis is bad liver. Her white blood cell count was up (although no high fever). Her liver enzymes are up, which means liver cells are dying. I am going to pick up a month's worth of antibiotic today because the vet said it could be infection in the liver.

She is young, I think. We've had her for a year. I've been treating her with Thiamine shots....cloudy eyes are gone, but still not enough appetite. She is depressed and stand around forlorn. Poor little friend. She nibbles, but does not have a great appetite.

Frankly, I don't think she will make it. We actually have already given her antibiotics 2 times and I didn't really see that they worked.

Thank you for your help.
Bacon's Fort
 

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I'm sorry about your ewe still doing poorly. It's amazing that she is still alive at this point! I know the stress of trying to keep them alive since I struggled to keep a heifer alive and it was a long, slow demise. All we could figure was liver. So frustrating, spending all the money and still losing her, but when you have hope, you keep trying...

For a smaller animal like this, I am wondering if milk thistle would be worth trying. Very good for the liver! I don't think it is that expensive, either, and if you can get it into her, probably the human dose would be a good place to start.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21466434
 

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Discussion Starter #14
OK - I will try milk thistle. Thank you!

By the way, my animals are pets. I don't know what people are talking about "on the truck" - I guess you mean to sell them or slaughter? I have told my husband to stop buying animals to graze the land because for me, they are pets and I spend way too much time trying to keep them alive and then am very sad when/if they die. So, if she continues to get bad, we'll put her down. She's not old, but an adult, and she has never had babies. We have only females so that we don't have babies. (I went through that with accidentally buying 5 female goats, 2 of which were 2 weeks pregnant and had triplets each 5 months later. Now I have 11 goats I'm attached to......not good.) But animals are lovely things and deserve a lot of love. They get it, too.

Thank you for the milk thistle suggestion.
 

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By the way, my animals are pets. I don't know what people are talking about "on the truck" - I guess you mean to sell them or slaughter? I have told my husband to stop buying animals to graze the land because for me, they are pets and I spend way too much time trying to keep them alive and then am very sad when/if they die. So, if she continues to get bad, we'll put her down. She's not old, but an adult, and she has never had babies. We have only females so that we don't have babies. (I went through that with accidentally buying 5 female goats, 2 of which were 2 weeks pregnant and had triplets each 5 months later. Now I have 11 goats I'm attached to......not good.) But animals are lovely things and deserve a lot of love. They get it, too.
I get that! You have already been pumping her full of antibiotics and maybe other meds that have withdrawal periods, which was the same for my heifer. I had friends tell me to dump her at the auction, but that is not ethical on many levels, one being that the withdrawal periods hadn't passed and the second, more importantly to me, would be the stress she'd have gone through on top of being ill. Yes, I have sold animals, gone beyond the pet level, but when they are sick I still become too attached!

I wish the sale barn was a more ethical place. There's no disclosure, whether animals are there to be culled due to health issues or because the owner is unloading some due to too many but they are otherwise healthy...
 

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With Liver issues... it might be liverfluke. Nasty worms and a lot of de wormers won't touch them.
If this is the issue.. Antibiotics won't help at all.

Braken can also cause Liver problems. What kind of weeds do you have in your pasture?

Had some major problems when I first started out in NW WA state. Then I got ducks... within a year, no more liverfluke issues.

Sounds like you are doing everything you can, to help her pull through.
 
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