lamb attacked by dogs--NEED ADVICE

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by CnySolar, Jan 31, 2004.

  1. CnySolar

    CnySolar Member

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    I'm writing on behalf of my mother, who has a homestead with a small sheep flock. About 3 weeks ago, one of her lamb rams (border leichester) was attacked by a band of "neighborhood" hunting dogs, and has not been able to walk since. They carried him up the hill, but didn't want to move him too much. The second day he was lethargic. She gave him three doses of LA-200 that week. They've kept him isolated in corner of the barn to keep him from getting trampled by the other sheep, and have been out everyday to change his bedding. He's been eating and drinking and can scoot around to reposition himself. When they hold and help him, he tries to stand, but the legs on his left side are unable to bear the weight. He can, however, get up on his back legs and front knees.

    Today they brought him outside to turn him over and clip his fleece to clean him up, and found two wounds that expose muscle. There is no skin to pull over and stitch. She washed them and removed residual-looking pus (it's not currently oozing) and visible dirt.

    How should she treat these wounds? Is there something she can use to encourage skin-regrowth? Should she apply neosporin or something of the kind (or is there a livestock-specific topical treatment)? There is no vet within a hundred miles, nor is there a lot of money to spend on a vet anyway. His general demeanor and eating habits indicate that he is "healing," and putting him down does not (at this point, anyway) seem necessary.

    Please advise!

    Madeline
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Its going to be a lot of work to rehabilitate him so your mother should consider her ability to tend to this little guy long term. (I'm guessing a month to six weeks) Without knowing how big or deep these wounds are I can't really say how successful any of this will be. The wounds have to be kept clean. It's better to let them have air but it might be more practical to have some sort of covering that will breathe as best it can. A dilute iodine wash will suffice to clean once or twice a day, and it can be syringed gently over the wounds to flush out dirt. There are antibacterial ointments and just make sure they can be used on a food animal. I'm assuming he can move the rear legs but regardless he'll need to be lifted to stretch his legs. I've heard of digging a hole to lower the legs into, I guess she could build a bale stand to "lift" him and stretch his legs..... Just make sure he doesn't get cast wrong way up!! He'll need lifting and stretching often. If she has Vit AD and B complex injectable they won't hurt and might help. LA 200 isn't really the best choice of drugs but its better than nothing. PenG for dirty wounds would help more. I'll end this where I started, its going to be a lot of work, and has no garuntee of success. Decide if its going to be worth it to try.
     

  3. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    at my place any injured animal that is eating, drinking and trying to live gets all the help I can give. Mother Nature is a miracle worker.
    But as Ross said what about the burden on your mom?

    ps: at risk of being labelled a red neck, I would solve the dog problem with a rifle and a shovel. easier said than done tho' if these are neighbour's dogs.
     
  4. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I don't mind making the effort but i do try to balance it's chances of survival not only with the suffering it is experiencing (no one promised me a pain free existance but there are limits) but with the real time constraints I have too. If I can't care for it I destroy it, I work full time here so there are only rare occasions when I couldn't commit to rehabilitating a sheep of mine. That said it is almost never finacially wise to try, calling a vet or not. Trouble is I doubt I'd make what I think I'm worth doing something else and not caring for sheep!! :haha: :p
     
  5. CnySolar

    CnySolar Member

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    Hi.

    My mom says thanks so much for the info. She is a full-time shepherd, a spinner/weaver/knitter, so she has the time to nurse this fellow.

    And as for the dogs, my mom was given similar advice for the next time they come around. The 3 S's: shoot, shovel, and shut up.

    Thanks again.

    Madeline
     
  6. Patty0315

    Patty0315 Well-Known Member

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    There is also the legal route to take if someone seen these dogs .Mom should be compensated for time and money spent .It hits dog owners hardest in the pocket .
     
  7. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    I agree re balancing survival/pain. We had an aged draft horse a few years ago that suddenly went off feed and water and appeared to be in great pain. Vet put her on pain killers until the blood tests came back in a couple of days. Kidney failure, no happy ending possible, we had her put down.
    From another angle...my grandfather's only income came from the farm, he would not nurse sick or weak newborns as they were too great a burden on his labour. Not to say that he was heartless, just practical.
     
  8. LeahN

    LeahN Well-Known Member

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    Definitely clip the wool away from the wounds and clean well. There is a product called Granulex (we got it from the vet, but I've seen it in catalogs) which helps new tissue grow from the inside out insituations such as this when there is not enough skin to cover the wound. As Ross said, LA200 isn't the best, expecially for lambs (I've used it successfully on some adult sheep, but as Ross said, with a wound situation, use penicillin).
    From what you said, it sounds like the injuries are more serious than the cuts. He could have broken a bone or had some internal damage of the muscles or tendons so that he can't use his legs. If she has a good relation with her vet, have her ask her vet over the phone. It can't hurt to ask what s/he'd recommend, and a phone call is much better than a 100 mile drive. Maybe drugs to ease the pain will help, but you'll have to get a vet to prescribe, which might not be feasible in your situation.
    Leah