First lambs of the season

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by mawalla, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. mawalla

    mawalla Well-Known Member

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    Today,her 146st day of gestation,my Finn/Suffolk cross ewe, Lucky, delivered quadruplet ewe lambs. She had no problems delivering despite the fact that one of the four seems to have a badly curved spine. Though this little ewe lamb is of good size and strong, I don't think she will make it. It appears to be more than a compressed in the wound problem that will straighten out in time. Since she is not suffering, I will nurse her through today and take her to work tomorrow to have the large animal vet I work for evaluate her and, more than likely, euthanize her. All the others, though, appear fine, even the "runt".

    This is the second lamb that has had a spinal birth defect on my farm. The previous one was three years ago during a triplet birth and it was bent completly in half! It, however, was stillborn. Out of about 130 lambs born here I guess that is not too bad. However, I'm thinking that there might be a genetic link because these two ewes are "aunt" and "neice". Any thoughts?
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    What relation is ths sire? You'd think it would be a recessive that would need doubling to show. Like you say it amounts to a small proportion of the lamb crop. I've had a couple of feaks, one very badly deformed and one siamese. Both ewes were culled because of resulting birth trauma. Neither were closely related, all rams were from off farm. I'd have to look up what the vet said, but genetic wasn't his first thought if I remember right. I'm half remembering he thought it might have been the result of a viral infection???
     

  3. mawalla

    mawalla Well-Known Member

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    I'd be interested in what your vet said, if you find it. There was no genetic doubling on either of these deformed lambs. Both were by the same ram that we've used for three years and they both had similar maternal lineage. But so do many more of my lambs so it's probably not a genetic thing..

    As I wrote earlier, I'm nursing along the little deformed one until tomorrow. It really breaks my heart, too. She tries so hard to stand but both front legs are contracted. All her systems are working, she's passed her myconium(sp?), she is urinating and is a good eater. She also has a lot of "try". She would have been a dandy but for this. :(
     
  4. SilverVista

    SilverVista Well-Known Member

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    As long as you are having a professional evaluate the situation, ask about selenium deficiency. It seems logical that the 4th lamb might be deformed from lack of space to grow properly, but I've also noticed that lambs born with serious selenium deficiency ("white muscle disease") usually appear to be folded up, or kind of one-sided. It would be nice if you were to discover that a simple shot of Bo-Se to the ewe would prevent the problem, wouldn't it?

    Best of luck to you!
    Susan
     
  5. SilverVista

    SilverVista Well-Known Member

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    Forgot to mention -- you may want to administer 1/2 cc of Bo-se to the lamb ASAP. Make sure it's Bo-se and not Mu-se, and don't overdose. There's a very good chance you'll see improvement.

    Susan
     
  6. mawalla

    mawalla Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the suggestion regarding selinium, SilverVista. According to the county extension agency, I don't live an an area that is selenium deficient. Though I didn't have a selenium level run on this ewe and lamb, I've had one run on another ewe I have, but for a different reason, this past summer and the levels were well within normal.

    Sometimes "things" just happen. Maybe a virus, a bite of a toxic plant, a crunch going through a gate or an extra s chromosone. I'm sure there was a reason for this but I don't have the funds to explore all the possiblities. If there was a greater incidence of it occuring in my flock I would pursue the cause like a terrier after a hare, but there have only been two incidences in eight years. For now I'm going to file it away in my memory banks, and note books, and go on.

    My doctor and I both felt it was best to euthanize the little one and we did so this afternoon. My daughter had named her Sugar.
     
  7. CountryFried

    CountryFried Well-Known Member

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    mawalla,
    So sorry to hear of the loss on the lamb. I hope all goes better for you and the remaining ewes to deliver. I've had my first two (already !) of Jacobs this year. Two ram lambs. Very spunky! I am learning the "hard" way that they don't always come into heat in the fall. I need to get to reading ...fast !
    Sherry