Ewes lame

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by BetsyK in Mich, Jul 16, 2004.

  1. BetsyK in Mich

    BetsyK in Mich Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 13, 2002
    I am having a strange thing happening in my flock of about 30 ewes and hope the folks here may have some idea of what is going on.

    Every once in a while one of the ewes will come up lame in a front foot. No fever, no swelling, have trimmed the feet and I'm not finding any sign of foot rot, by that the hoof is dry and clean. The ewe continues to eat well and has no sign of diarhea or anything else that would indicate illness. I have given LA200 shots but it doesn't seem to make a big difference. I catch the ewe, put her in a small pen by herself and after a couple or three days the limping disappears.

    This has happened with three of the ewes in the flock primarily. Two of the ewes are six years old the other is about three years old. The lameness began with an older ewe two years ago, she was pregrant with triplets and I layed it to ketosis. After the lambs were born the lameness disappears and she went on to raise the lambs with no other assistance. This year same senerio and a second ewe developed a limp and then a couple weeks ago a third ewe. The third one has taken longer to recover and at one point would not put weight on the leg. Kind of reminds me of my arthrictic knee acting up now and then.

    Thanks in advance for any ideas?
  2. diamondefarm

    diamondefarm Well-Known Member

    Oct 8, 2002
    Sounds like they are getting a leg hung up in the fence or on a panel. I had the same thing happen with some of my ewes. I tried everything I could think of, until I finally sat back and watched the ewes and figured out what was happening.
    My older ewes tend to think they rule the roost, and every time they heard any noise they thought might mean feeding time they would jump up on the panels to be 1st in line, so to speak. Turns out that they were bruising the frog on their foot pads from this repetitive action. LA200 and other antibiotics won't help because it is not infectious, but inflammatory in nature. It was only the older (dominant) ewes, because they were the most aggressive and were putting their front feet up. Now that they are out on pasture, with no panels to put their feet up on - no leg problems.

    Observe your ewes and see if this fits.

    Good luck. :)

  3. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    May 9, 2002
    Certainly trauma is very possible. One of the things my vet told me once is "you can keep sheep too well" and perhaps they are suffering from founder by being kept too well too. Same as horses too rich a feed and they founder just the same. Is the diet the sheep have very rich or high in protein? Are they in tip top shape? If so they may need a reduction in the quality of feed. I know that sounds a bit odd. Treat with Bute or ASA either way to reduce swelling and get them back on thier feet. Ask you vet for amounts/advice about this, you can use human asprin but the dosage is quite a bit more than you would expect.
  4. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

    Jun 3, 2002
    I just posted a similar response on a different thread. We just discovered that a sheep hoof can look normal on first glance but have raging hoof rot. It grows in the soft part under the pad. Looks OK on the outside, but you can lift up a flap of the surface tissue and the infection is underneath. Look carefully between the toes and on the inside soft parts and make sure the hoof doesn't have rot underneath the surface.