Ram lamb down - help?!?

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Sarah J, Aug 15, 2004.

  1. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Yesterday morning we went out to do chores and found our ram lamb down. He's about 3 months old and has been weaned for 3 weeks and on pasture with the adults. He had been bottle-raised on goat's milk (we don't own the ewe). We thought it was the cold at first and that he'd been chilled. But his mouth was warm and he isn't running a fever.

    Drenched him with propylene glycol, gave him a dose of Panacure wormer, thinking maybe he didn't have any energy from an overload of worms? Gave him Probios and a sulfa anitbiotic (Di-Methox).

    We babies him yesterday with all-day watching. He was taking bottles of electrolytes and water all day long with vigor and no problems at all - his sucking reflex sure didn't give out! By mid-afternoon he was eating grass. I could stand him up and he would walk for a bit before tripping and falling down. Once he was down he couldn't get up again. His poo turned to diarrhea around 2 or 3pm yesterday afternoon, but is back to normal today. Wondering if that's just the effect of the wormer? Last night around 9 I took him for a walk - we walked around for maybe fifteen minutes, with him following me, seemed to have a lot more energy and only tripped twice since it was getting dark and he couldn't see.

    Spent the night in our diningroom (in a large dog crate!). Baa-d at us when we went in this morning. But today, while he shows the same energy in drinking from his bottle and took his antibiotic and Probios happily, is grazing on any grass he can reach in our yard, he still can't stand up. And this time he can't even stand after I help him up. He just falls back down - as if his legs simply don't work.

    He seems happy otherwise. Obviously this is not good. I thought maybe he had white muscle disease and gave him a Bo-Se shot for selenium and vitamin E, even though we arne't considered selenium dificient here in Iowa, I thought maybe...

    Any other ideas? I just don't get it. None of the other lambs or sheep seem to be having any problems at all - just our ONE RAM LAMB...we were going to keep him for the herd ram, but if he doens't survive, obviously this won't happen...

    I'm taking this kind of personally - I feel guilty for whatever reason. Like I did something wrong, or didn't do something I should have. I'm out of ideas on how to get his legs working again.

    Does he need a CDT shot? I have the Bar Vac stuff here...could that be it? I'm so clueless... Please help!

    Sarah
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Don't vacinate him while he is weak, and a CDT shot is for goats, sheep need an 8 way cattle vacine. If that was the problem he'd be dead. Did you stop the sulfa med? I'd start it up again if so. other wise I'd start back at square one with the prop, and maybe add some coffee too for the cafein. You could give him a Vit. AD shot, stressed animals lose A quickly. A vitB or thiamin shot if you have it won't hurt. I'm guessing when I say the wormer did it's job and cocci are taking over where they were removed. (so no Dexamethasone) All you can do is treat for them and add supportive treatments to keep his energy up and keep him hydrated.
     

  3. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    I gave him a second dose of Di-Methox this morning. What is the correct dosage? He's about 30 - 35 pounds. My goat kids are getting it at 1 cc per 10 lbs of body weight. Is that right for sheep too? I couldn't find any info on it and guessed. I'm hoping that's right and I'm not busy building up a resistance by under-dosing... He's vigorously eating away at all the grass he can eat, but still isn't standing on his own power. I can hold him up and he won't even try to stay up. Very alert, happy to see me, drinks all of his water from the bottle (not interested in it from the bowl...probably because he knows there's a bottle option!). The only symptom I see right now is that he seems to have no muscle control over his legs. Otherwise he's seems perfectly fine! Of course a ram that can't stand up is useless... :rolleyes:

    I don't have thiamine or vitamin AD here. Can get some from the vet's tomorrow...have a B-complex coming but probably won't get here until Friday - seems to take a while to get here when I order online. I also ordered tetracycline to have onhand, too, but again, won't get here 'til late in the week.

    So basically, keep doing what I'm doing and hope to see improvements? Do you think this is cocci causing it? The goat kids had cocci and I'm still treating them for it, but none of the other sheep are having any problems at all and the goats and sheep are separated.

    Still paranoid that I've done something wrong in this treatment and made it worse...

    -Sarah
     
  4. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I haven't used the sulfa drug you are but the dosage for sheep cattle and goats is likely the same by weight. I am sure your efforts are not hurting, If cocci are affecting the rams nervous system Dexamethasone will make it fatal. Guessing it doesn't sound like white muscle, I doubt the BOSE shot is going to hurt although too much can. Your providing energy and care (noticing about all these is to notice) and no your not making things worse. It can be frustrating at times, and not all cures are fast or complete. You'll have to decide if this illness has made the ram lamb an unsuitable sire if he survives. Another bridge to cross at another time.
     
  5. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Sulfadimethoxine 12.5% Solution...goats have a very high metabolism and their dosage tends to be higher for things like wormers (4x the stated horse dose by weight, for instance)...but I didn't know about the sheep, if it was the same or not. This is the recommended medication for my goat kids' cocci... But I treated him with the same dosage. I'm very worried. Still eating great and drinking his bottle. But can't do as much as sit up without help - if he's on his side, he stays there. If he's been adjusted so he's on his belly to eat and drink and graze, he stays there unless his head pushes too far and he loses his balance. Showing no signs of improvement there - as if his legs were completely useless now.

    Taking him to the vet in the morning, if he isn't up and about by then! (though what else he can do is beyond me...I guess that's why he spent eight years in college, right? :) )

    Thanks for your help Ross!

    Sarah
     
  6. LeahN

    LeahN Well-Known Member

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    Are his gums pale? It sounds possible that he has a worm overload and is just very weak. For heavy worm loads using panacur, my vet recommends dosing at 8cc/100lbs for 3 days in a row and then repeat the 3 day dosing in 21 days.
    I had a wether lamb die a couple weeks ago and his symptoms sound similar, but mine ran a fever and had awful diarrhea. There was also a sick ewe but she recovered with LA-200 and banamine. The odd thing about that wether though was that he ate right up until the day he died, and he was down for several days before he died. We unfortunately didn't have him necropsied, but I think whatever sort of infection he has, it was probably complicated by worms because it was past the date I should have wormed the flock. Let me know what the vet says, as I'm curious.
    Where in Iowa are you? I'm actually leaving for Iowa tomorrow (was supposed to leave today, but would have gotten off to a really late start). I'm going to live in Ames and going to Iowa State vet school.
    Leah
     
  7. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    No, no paleness in his gums, no fever, no diarrhea, no lack of appetite, eating and dnrinking everything just fine. He's not taking the bottle anymore but started in on a bowl of water now so I don't have to hold a bottle for him to get his fluids! He's just not able to control his legs. It is really bizarre.

    My vet didn't know what else to do for him - he's never seen this before. He gave him a shot of Dexamethazone after confirming it isn't coccidiosis. Also got a shot of Super B complex into him. Other than that, he said to keep doing what I'm doing with the antibiotics, Probios, propylene glycol in the morning, and re-de-worm (is that a word? ;) ) again 21 days after I hit him the first time.

    I'm in Northwest Iowa - I go through Ames about twicce a month. Excellent Vet school there! Study up on sheep and goats!! We need more small ruminant vets around here! And while you're at it, get some info on those Alpacas, too! :D

    I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for Jack, but if he doesn't start showing definite signs of improvement by the end of the week, I think we'll put him down - no fair to him OR us to baby a paralyzed lamb for the rest of his useless life...I can find another herd ram...think I will anyway and if Jack pulls through we'll probably wether him and put him in the freezer when he's older.
    Guessing that this illness will ruin him as a herd sire... *sigh* We'll see.

    -Sarah
     
  8. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    Is it possible he has white muscle from a lack of E or selenium?
     
  9. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    I thought of that and he got a Bo-Se shot (selenium and vit. e) on Sunday morning. Iowa isn't selenium deficient so I don't think that's what it was but gave it to him anyway. I'd think he's be suffering far worse effects if that was it. The only symptom he has is that he can't stand up. His legs can be moved, voluntarily, but they won't hold any weight at all. He has a good appetite, drinks, pees, poops, all normal. No fever or anything like that. Even his breathing which sounded gurgly for two days is back to normal now ('course I'm hitting him with antibiotics pretty hard, too!).

    My vet is starting to think it's an injury of some kind...though I can't think of *what*.

    -Sarah
     
  10. mawalla

    mawalla Well-Known Member

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    Do you have deer ticks in your area?
     
  11. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Everywhere! :no: Are you thinking Tick Paralysis? I thought of that, but wouldn't he be dead by now? The info I've seen in the online Merck Vet manual says that that's like a three day thing...this started Saturday early morning (we found him about 6:30am like that when he was fine on Friday) and is not showing any signs of change...

    Took him in, physically, to see the vet for a check. He's stumped but is doing research. We're using this guy as a research tool right now for the area vets. No one has seen anything like it. After a pretty thorough exam they can't find any sign of injury to his back or legs. He does not have Spider Lamb syndrome - he just doesn't have the deformities involved in that.

    He appears to be fine in all ways other than his legs. Reflexes aren't really there and he doesn't seem to notice pinches and pokes in his legs, though he can move them voluntarily.

    I hit him again with a solid dose of wormer (Panacur - 3 cc's) today, just to make sure. The concensus between our three vets at the clinic is that we're dealing with either a neurological disorder that they've never seen or else a really bizarre bacterial infection. He's getting his sulfa drug and I've been told to continue that, electrolytes (though his eating and drinking is fine, they think that this will be good for him anyway), Probios for his rumen, and "lamb therapy" which Dh and I started on Sunday - moving his legs around and exercising them regularly (every two hours or so during the day) just like you do with people in the hospital who need to get their limbs back to strength.

    I think the local vets actually like the fact that I'm morbidly curious enough to keep trying with this little guy. Most people would give up on him and have him put down by now...but we're going to do this for ten more days and they're going to do more research to see if they can come up with anything else. If, at the end of the ten days, he's still like this with no signs of improvement or anything else, and they haven't come up with anything, we'll give up. But for now, we keep going!

    So, in other words, anyone who wants to do some research on this one, feel free! I'll answer any questions that I can!!! :D I'd LOVE to find out what's wrong with this little guy! Probably cost me an arm and a leg, but I really am that stubbornly curious and want to *know* rather than just chalk it up to an unknown infection (and possibly be wrong and find something wrong with the rest of my small herd).

    Sarah
     
  12. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Few sheep are worth a vet call in themselves so for the benefit of the flock you're doing what's best. Is this little guy vaccinated? A clostridial infection usually kills fairly fast but there are few hard and fast rules. Everyone has access to loose salt? I lost lambs (new born mind) because of an iodine deficency, which was corrected by switching to loose salt. They never had use of their legs. I would expect anemia if the worms had been a problem, but I wonder if an iron shot would help. If he doesn't make it a PM might tell you why, and perhaps it will be somewhat cheaper if you're vet is as interested as you!
     
  13. mawalla

    mawalla Well-Known Member

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    Yep, I am guessing at tick paralyisis. Look him over good, just in case. (You probably have already!) Have your vets done any blood work on him to see if anything is out of wack?

    I do know of a vet in Virginia that does a lot of work with downer small ruminants that you might want to consult with. It's Dr. Karen Baum with Little Doc's Veterinary Clinic, (540) 297-1051. The phone consultation that I did with her cost $35.00. ( I knew about her from a seminar I attended at the Central Veterinary Conference last year.)

    I had a yearling ewe that went down several weeks ago. Different symptoms from your lamb, however, as she was running a fever. A CBC showed nothing so we are guessing that she had heat stroke. She, too, was bright and alert and eating and drinking. Not only did I do physical therapy on her legs but I also created a sling to get her up. She is now using her legs and getting around. She is still not quite right in the front legs but I think that she will continue to improve.

    You sound like me. We keep working with them as long as they have a breath in them. As long as they they want to try so will I.

    Good luck.