Occassional Coughing Ram

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by lisarichards, Dec 7, 2004.

  1. lisarichards

    lisarichards Well-Known Member

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    I know that a cough in a sheep is a bad thing, but we are new to keeping sheep, and have only had these guys for about three months. Our Icelandic ram (Sue) coughs a dry hacking cough every now and then. My husband hasn't heard it at all, and I've heard it about three times. My daughter sheepsat for us this weekend, and said she heard it twice.

    There are no vets within 30-40 miles of us that will handle sheep.

    What should we do, if anything?
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Sounds like a harmless cough or perhaps he swallowed wrong. You could take his temperature (102.5 is normal, +- a half degree or so) Any nasal discharge? Is he wormed or vacinated for anything? What are you feeding? When he coughs is it related to any other activity, (running or getting up, eating drinking etc.) What is he like other wise, good colour in the gums, eye whites etc. good body score?? Anything else even remotely remarkable about him?
     

  3. FrankRichards

    FrankRichards Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    I'm Lisa's husband, with a little more information: His nose is occasionally wet. It doesn't really look like a discharge, it's just wet. His body score was good but I'm a tad concerned that he's losing weight this last two weeks. We were definitely overfeeding, so we've cut back. Meanwhile the weather has gotten colder and we've put him in with two ewes. The previous owner sheared them at least a couple of weeks after she should have which also bothers me a bit. We feed hay and maybe half a cup of pellets per sheep per day. I try to feed enough that there's a bit left, but ... he hasn't been vaccinated or wormed recently, though supposedly he's up to date and wormed in September. His eyes appear fine, I haven't looked at his gums since I've no clue what to look for.

    Thanks for your advice.

    Frank
     
  4. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Hi Frank and Lisa,
    If your ram is losing weight and coughing he probably has lungworm and is in need of a drench (worming). Ring your nearest sheep vet and discuss with them the best type of drench for your situation but try to purchase a broad spectrum one. If you have put him with the ewes he will pass the worms on to them so drench them as well.

    Are these animals outside? If so, try and rotate them on to clean pasture frequently to lessen the liklihood of them picking up worms from soiled grass.

    Frank, the gums and "whites" of the eyes should be a healthy pink colour. If they're not it is usually a good inidication that the sheep has a worm burden.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  5. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    If you cut the ration and he's dropped a bit of weight coupled with the breeding season when most rams lose a bit anyhow, I'm not sure I'd say he had a worm burden. No harm in worming them now but do worm everybody at the same time! Ronnie is correct the gums should be pink, and the veins in the whites of the eyes clearly visable when you pull back the eye lids.
     
  6. sheepmom

    sheepmom Guest

    when did you get him? I had a problem with my ram, he had pneumonia but it took me a couple of weeks to figure that out....

    Check his temp, and a short course of antibiotic....i used penicillin and sulfa.....might be in order. Sometimes they get stuff from the stress of shipping, and it lingers on until they have an additional stress and POOF! you have a problem. It's happened to me twice now.
     
  7. FrankRichards

    FrankRichards Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to eveyone for the advice. I tried increasing the ration, and everyone (we have three paddocks, don't ask) is eating more, even though the Ram In Question is the only one that has visbly lost weight.. He'd also gone for three more days without coughing during chore time, then yesterday he had a sneezing (not coughing) fit after feeding. This was a dusty bail, it crinkled up my nose as well.

    For better or worse I've decided not to worm everyone unless I see someone else coughing, or the RIQ looks worse. We have four times the number of sheep we started out looking for, and getting them squared away in the fall clobbered our other winter preparations. I simply have do to whatever catch-up I can elsewhere before snow flies.