Polio?!?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Cat, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

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    My friend here who has the sheep farm has been having a bad run with polio in his ewes and lambs here recently. I know it's caused by a vitamin B deficiency but what is it that makes it so widespread in his flock. IMO he doesn't have the best flock management nor does he provide the best feed which has led to run down sheep however can the polio be attributed to poor management or is there a bigger factor involved?
     
  2. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    Is one thing I have no knowledge in... but I looked up Polio and here is what I found.

    POLIO
    Polio is a disease caused by a deficiency of thiamine and is seen most commonly in lambs on high grain diets. The first sign of the disease is blindness. If your lamb bumps into things that it ordinarily would see and avoid, he may be showing signs of blindness. An injection of 3 cc of thiamine in the muscle will correct the condition.

    If the first symptom of blindness is missed, the lamb will begin to appear wobbly in the rear end. This may be misdiagnosed as lameness. A day later, the lamb may be unable to get up but can still sit up and will be found on his side and unable to hold his head up. Finally, the lamb will die in convulsions. The course of the disease from the first sign of blindness to death will take approximately 5 days if not treated. The further in the disease course the treatment occurs, the longer it will take the lamb to recover. Generally, it will take 10 days before the lamb will begin to eat again.

    Polio - polioencephalomalacia
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Signs/Symptoms of thiamin deficiency in ruminants
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    Oct 27, 2002, 11:19pm

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    Signs/Symptoms of thiamin deficiency in ruminants

    http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/toxicagents/thiaminase/thiaminase.html#thia5
    Thiamin deficiency in ruminants manifests itself as polioencephalomalacia. Signs of polioencephalomalacia include disorientation and wandering, blindness and opishotonus or retraction of the head. The brain of infected animals becomes inflamed and edematous. Ruminants will also show symptoms as seen in other animals - anorexia, poor feed utilization and weakness.

    Normally ruminants are fairly resistant to thiamin deficiency since rumen microbes provide the animal with sufficient amounts of thiamin. However, the ingestion of thiaminases will lead to polioencephalomalacia. Additionally, young growing ruminants, especially cattle and sheep, fed high-grain diets are especially susceptable. Diets high in grains can encourage the growth of certain thiaminase-producing bacteria in the rumen. These bacteria, including Clostridium sporogenes and a few species of Bascillus can produce enough thiaminases to induce thiamin deficiency.
     

  3. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    If the managment is weak and there are rapid feed changes in type or quantity or quality you'll see polio. Even if there is an unseen rapid change in hay quality you're risking polio.
     
  4. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the information bergere & Ross!

    I just don't know what it is. He has it in 3 seperate pens and in both pregnant ewes, ewe & lamb pairs, and yearling ewe lamb & wethers. None are on a high grain diet and I don't know that there have been any feed changes, one flock have been on wheat pasture with lambs for a few months, one on milo-stalks pasture, the 3rd on hay. It sure makes me not want to take care of the sheep tomorrow, that's for sure! He's been giving injections and some recover quite quickly and some don't and the pregnant ones become ketonic. I'm looking forward to this about as much as I would be a root canal!
     
  5. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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  6. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

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    Well, I made it! Not without irritants but I made it back alive & kickin'. I only had one ewe that I had to treat and picking up lambs went pretty well with only 1 loose lamb without a mother. Actually, she had a mother accept her, just not her own!

    I usually take my car around the farm because his truck has been ridden hard and put away wet, but after his insistence that I drive it, after all if it won't go in gear all ya gotta do is stomp on the clutch a few times well I coudn't get his truck to work no matter how hard or frequently I stomped and I then ripped my jeans straddling a fence!! :( (He'd also made comment about me actually using the gates to let the ewe & lamb pairs out because I had to walk through too many gates and too far around ~ welllll at least I never ripped my jeans doing it!

    I asked him about selenium deficiency and it doesn't appear that we have to worry about that and I know I've never had to deal with it with my lambs here. Although the ewe I treated yesterday didn't respond immediately to the injection he says that you'll treat one and within minutes they'll be back in business.

    Thanks for the links!!