need info on white muscle disease

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by eldertree, Jun 26, 2006.

  1. eldertree

    eldertree New Member

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    Apr 6, 2006
    Location:
    Idaho
    :help: Need information on the diease white muscle in sheep. What are the signs, causes and cures. Don't have it in my sheep-- but heard that neighbor does. Have two katahdin ewes, one ram. Expecting lambs in Sept. They are on pasture with morning grain. With flowing water source. Thanks
     

  2. Sprout

    Sprout Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    The Sunny Okie transplant ground of Californie
    It's not a contagious disease so you really can't have neighboring flocks that aren't affected by it in some way. You may have smaller sheep so it may not show up as often or as severely. It is a mineral deficiency in the soil. So if your area or the area where you buy feed from is deficient your sheep will be too. The mineral lacking is selenium, a mineral used to abate detrimental enzymes and create a sticky mucous layer that protects your sheep's skeletal and cardiac muscles, in combination with vitamin e. If sheep are deficient in selenium or vitamin e they will develop one of two problems.

    A. they will be still born or die shortly after birth. In these lambs the cardiac muscle has been damaged by the bodies own enzymes leaving deep lesions on the outer walls of the heart.

    B. in this type they may not be affected until later in life but the results are just as deadly. These lambs are born fine but within the next few days or even later through their life they will start to be weak, stiff, and unable to move. They die of dehydration rather than of the disease directly. Here instead of the heart the enzymes have begun to attack the skeletal muscles of the lamb again leaving deep lesions. When these animals undergo necropsy the lesions are white as well as the surrounding tissue, hence the name.

    Thankfully selenium deficiency is very simple to prevent. Sheep salt with selenium in it offered loose or sprinkled on their morning grain will supplement their levels and keep them stable. It is also a good idea to give every lamb .5-1cc (check the label of course) of BOSE a selenium vitamin e injectable upon birth. You can also skip the salt and give the mommas 1cc when you give CD&T and again at birth as selenium deficiencies have been linked with retained placentas. If you do have a lamb afflicted with white muscle give it a cc of the BOSE and supportive care like sub-q fluids and tube feeding, be sure that you know how to do both as each can cause fatalities. Visit your vet to pick up the BOSE and ask him/her to show you how to do the above processes. I have found that they can mean life or death to a struggling baby lamb.
     
  3. Vere My Sone

    Vere My Sone Well-Known Member

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    but, when you buy the sheep salt with selenium, make sure it doesn't have too much copper

    we are selenium deficient, but not copper
    TSC used to carry a salt which worked for us in our area with extra selenium, but then a few years ago, changed to a different salt which had too much copper for our area
     
  4. Sprout

    Sprout Well-Known Member

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    The Sunny Okie transplant ground of Californie
    Yes dito what Sone said. Around here you can ask for a loose "sheep" salt with selenium in it and it should be safe for sheep. I recomend going the BOSE route though because it is often hard to find the selenium salt, but if you can find it kudos sprinkle it on their morning grain like you would salt your own food, or you can just leave it loose for them. Good luck with your babies.
     
  5. eldertree

    eldertree New Member

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    Apr 6, 2006
    Location:
    Idaho
    Thank you so much for all the good advice. Will go to Vet next week and get what we need. Will also get sheep salt-- have mineral block. Another neighbor swears by horse feed-- she says it has what sheep need- as a supliment. It is so wonderful to have this group-- so many people with great advice-- Thanks again--Eldertree(Char)
     
  6. wooly1s

    wooly1s Well-Known Member

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    My dd just did her 4H demo on selenium, and we both learned a lot! Be advised that routine selenium shots can be harmful if the animals are not deficient. Selenium toxicity is even uglier than deficiency!~The only way to know is by blood sampling, which can get costly. We supplement with salts/selenium, and do not inject because we have not seen the disease in our herds. I would ask the neighbor if he has been supplementing with selenium as a starting point, to see if you need to jump in with both remedies (choice and injection) at once, or can start with choice...