Founder?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by SilverVista, Mar 8, 2005.

  1. SilverVista

    SilverVista Well-Known Member

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    After 20 years of lambing, and thinking I had seen it all, here comes one that has me stumped. I have a ewe who has suddenly become very lame. We don't have foot rot and haven't even had scald for several years, so when she started limping, we were pretty quick to pull her in and work her feet over. No rot, no sign of any infection, no nothing except that she acts like her front feet hurt too much to put weight on them and she is WAY down on her pasterns in the rear. It looks like a classic case of horse founder (laminitis) except that none of my books say anything about such symptoms in sheep. The word "founder" has a discussion about enterotoxemia, and the section on feet only talks about infectuous rot and foot baths.

    She has a month-old lamb, and we did go through about 20 bales of 4th-cutting alfalfa that was richer than the usual fare, but no bad effects on any of the rest of the flock. So..... before I call the vet yet again, can anybody give me any input on such a condition?

    Thanks,
    Susan
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Other than to say yes I've heard of founder in sheep and its caused and treated the same as horses not much. Never seen it here.
     

  3. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    I have never had to deal with this either. And the page I normally go look for such info is not working.

    This is all I could come up with.. sorry it could not be more.

    Laminitis in Sheep
    The lameness related to laminitis is caused by inadequate blood flow in the foot. This effect of founder (or grain overload) is normally associated with digestive problems resulting from excessive intake of grain, which usually masks the effect on the feet. Such animals usually die before the feet become involved. Recovered animals may exhibit unusual foot growth and/or permanent lameness.
    Feeding management is the key to prevention of founder and laminitis.

    And some links..

    http://www.vetpath.co.za/large_6_different_disease_conditions_causing_lameness_in_sheep.htm

    http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/91000.htm
     
  4. Slev

    Slev Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ok, here's my thoughts, but before I begin, let me state for the record, I'm not a Veterinarian, nor do I play one on T.V. Also, I've had a wee nip of the vine tonight. With those disclaimers in mind, here we go....

    1st, I never think it a bad idea when something bad or odd comes up with a sheep to give it a shot of LA 200. Then, looking at what others have said, try some sort of yogurt concoction maybe? I also like the idea of putting one of those throw-away plastic disc child temperature gauges on one of the feet of your ewe, and also on a healthy sheep. (If I recall, doesn't it cause a difference in temp. of the hoof in horses?) this might help with the diagnosis.

    Does anyone know if a difference in temperature would hurt the lamb drinking the milk?

    I would also suggest if you are successful at keeping this thing alive, that you then eat it, or something to take it out of the reproductive process. My reason for thought about that is, with so few sheep suffering that illness, it might be wise to take it out of the gene pool. My final thought is a mild, mellow wine to compliment the dish, something like Boones Farm Country Quencher, (an apple based wine) or for a more expensive palette perhaps a Lambrouska. (no pun intended)

    If this happened to me, I'd just call the wife out to take a look because she's a nurse, and then she can look at that $75 book we bought and figure out a game plan.

    I don't know, maybe I should just have another drink and look at everyone else's responses. Cheers!
     
  5. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

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    I had this happen to one of my ewes. I didn't know what in the world had happened. It was her back leg, she wouldn't put any weight on etc. I was about ready to put her in the freezer. After 4-5 days she came out of it. Then one day I watched her climb up on top of our square bales in the barn and then she flew off of the top (about 15 foot) and landed on all fours and hurt it again :haha: Needless to say they are not allowed in the barn now. Could yours have just sprained something or possibly fractured? Hers didn't swell or anything, it was just really sore.
     
  6. SilverVista

    SilverVista Well-Known Member

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    Well, thanks for your input! You've all pointed to the same information that I looked at, and it still leaves me wondering. Slev, I was also thinking about a slug of LA200, but I have always really ragged on other people for hitting the antibiotics without a diagnosis. :haha: And believe me, she won't get another chance at being bred. Looks like we're headed for a summer of drought here, and I'm watching like a hawk for excuses to cull. In fact, just wait till DH hears my suggestions for his cow herd! :yeeha:

    What still has me wrinkling my brow is that this ewe never showed any signs of digestive upset, and she's certainly not over-conditioned. Except for a few days of extra-hot alfalfa soon after the lamb was born, she is not on a rich diet, and I haven't grained this year at all.

    Guess I was hoping this would be one of those things I could figure out without another vet bill. UGH!!!!!

    Susan