Ewe acting strangely..

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by RandB, Dec 29, 2004.

  1. RandB

    RandB Well-Known Member

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    We have a ewe that started last night separating herself from the other ewes, she won't come eat her grain, which is unusual for her. Whenever I checked her today, she was a little away from the others. She is alert and will run around when startled, looks OK, but is acting the way a ewe does when ready to deliver lambs.
    The only strange part is that she has not been bred, unless one of the rams has learned to do the deed through a box wire fence! Anybody have any other ideas why she would act this way? Can sheep have a "false" pregnancy, the way dogs can?
     
  2. Karen Gaietto

    Karen Gaietto Active Member

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    I would get a second opinion on the pregnancy thing, but if a sheep quits eating something is definatly wrong. Ours tend to eat almost to the minute they deliver. We raise shetlands. the only ewe I ever knew to go off of her food had pregnancy toxemia, and they lost her.
     

  3. mawalla

    mawalla Well-Known Member

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    Does she appear to be losing her eyesight? Does she does she stumble or bump into things? Has she always startled or is this a new behavior? Have there been any feed changes or has she gotten into the feed accidently?

    I'm fishing at polioencephalomyelitis in the early stages. A big word but an easy remedy if so. Thiamine injections work like a miracle for it. Sorry, I'd have to look up the dosage to be sure but I think I used 4cc under the skin a couple of times a day when I had an out break of it a few years ago. (Got a new well that had a lot of sulfer in the water and it caused some problems until we got the filter system working right.)

    However, pregnancy is still a big probably! When nature calls I've seen some of my sheep go through some pretty strange contortions to get together!

    Let us know how things turn out.
     
  4. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Get a hand on her and check for signs she might be pregnant. Take her temperature, normal is 102.5 but it can be up or down a degree from that some without much concern. Condition score her, is she thin fatish??? Is her breathign normal or short and heavy? Any ration changes? What is her ration? Could she have gotten more than normal? Thiamin won't hurt but the cases I've seen the animal has been flat out, head back, and responded within hours to thiamin and Dex. (Personally I'd use an IM injection as it absorbs faster.) I'm thinking either acidosis, or Pnuemonia. Has the weather changed alot lately?
     
  5. mawalla

    mawalla Well-Known Member

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    Yes, with polio the animal will go down with their neck arched over their back. Before that happens, however, they will lose their sight, stand off from the flock, probably because they can't find them, they will startle when approached, and stumble around. Then, if not treated with thiamine, they will go down. Unfortunatly, I was able to watch the whole process with some of my own flock several years ago. It being a small flock I could easily tell when any of the animals began to act strange. I do remember using Dex too, (thanks for reminding me Ross), because it reduces the swelling on the brain. But, if this ewe is or could be pregnant, the Dex will cause her to deliver or abort.
     
  6. RandB

    RandB Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies -

    She is coming back to normal, so it doesn't appear serious. She just lost interest in eating her grain for a couple days, she kept eating the hay. She is a "spook" by nature, about the hardest ewe we have to catch.

    Re the polio mentioned - I was not aware sheep could get polio. How would it be introduced to the flock? We have not added any new sheep for a couple years. Is there a vaccine for it ?
     
  7. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    It is not the Polio you're thinking of, it is simply what thiamin deficency is called in sheep, or all ruminants. They make thiamin in the rumin and rapid feed changes can upset that production sending them into shock or polioencephalomyelitis. The treatment confirms the diagnosis, with an hour of treating with Thiamin and Dexamethasone (steriod) they will be very much improved/ cured. its not a viral or bacterial disease, its a condition. Keep feed changes slow and you'll possably never see it.