Sheep tail wound, what to do

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by tmwessel, Nov 25, 2003.

  1. tmwessel

    tmwessel Guest

    Just finished feeding the sheep and ducks. Found a big chunk of wool and
    soon realized it was a tail. One of the Baby Doll sheep had her tail bit off
    I presume. Now I'm thinking, "exactly how many Barbados sheep did I see?" I
    have to go back down and count. We do have mountain lions, but in a year
    have lost only one sheep to a mountain lion. The mountain lion privelages
    generally go to the guy across the way with the large flock of goats and the
    large amount of acreage (we have only 5 acres and houses and roads around).
    Anyway the one sheep with the missing tail...it's just the wool and skin
    sheath gone. The bone is there. Not sure what to do. There aren't any sheep
    vets around here. They generally just tell us use super glue for skin tears
    and Wound Kote for cuts etc. Does anyone have any advice on what I might do
    with the remaining part? The bleeding had stopped till she moved around at
    feed time. Will the rest just fall off, or will new skin grow? I'm thinking it'd be better to band off the remains. She isn't in any stress and is happily munching her hay and let me inspect with no complaints. Yuck. Think we need a donkey or a llama to guardian the sheep. And their night quarters are about 50 feet away from a fairly busy nursing home. Brave mountain lion or coyote.
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    We docked adult tails with a local anesthetic in a simple type of epidural at the base of the tail and cut it off with a sharp knife cauterizing the stump with a dehorning iron. I did notice that a few ewes didn't seem to get the full advantage of the freezing and were back to eating seconds after the deed was done. I'd get the rest off and would probably put the sheep on PenG for three or four days as a preventative. Can you get some lidocane? A simpathetic vet or one with a student vet to impress might offer some help. Nothing lost asking.
     

  3. LeahN

    LeahN Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm. Can I send 3 of my ewes to live with you? We bought them last year, and they still had tails...the youngest 2 are almost yearlings and the other is a mature adult. I need to get their tails off sometime before spring (to aviod flies), since those big tails turn to a horrible smelly mess in the summer. I asked the vet today (he wasn't sure, said to ask another vet at the clinic more knowledgable about sheep). I asked him about using lidocaine and he said he knew goats were VERY sensitive to it, and its easy to kill them with it. Does anyone know if its the same with sheep? I've been told I can shear the wool and band it with an elastrator (as long as tetanus vaccine is given), even though she's an adult, but do you think infection would be a problem? Economically I'm not sure its worth the vet doing it, but I will talk with the vet to make my decition. We have a double crush emasculator (the one that crushes and cuts) that we use to dock lambs, and I'd read it can be used on older sheep, but I'm not sure if thats a good idea or not. To complicate matters, the ewes are all bred (or should be by now anyways...they've been with the ram since Oct. 1), so whatever I do, I don't really want to use anaesthetics that cause abortion, and I want to minimize stress. Any ideas?
     
  4. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Certainly my ewes were not pregnant when we docked (about 15 if I remember right) but I don't know how much difference it makes. I know we used the Lidocane injected between the joints of the tail near where it joins the hips to "freeze" the rest of the tail. Lidocane was used for a number of other proceedures I've had done (by my vet) to the sheep as well (removing a lump from a prolapsed uterus for one) so I wouldn't think sheep are particularly sensitive. I've never banded an adult sheep and it didn't seem like a great idea when I talked to my vet about it. That was a few years ago now!
     
  5. LeahN

    LeahN Well-Known Member

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    What a coincidence. This morning I asked the vet about our tail problem. I came home, posted the question on the list (and even asked jokingly if my ewes could come to tmwessel's place). Then I got up from the computer and went out to check on all the animals and break the ice on their water. I noticed a HUGE clump of wool in the run-in connected to the pasture where I have a yearling lincoln/merino ram with a lincoln ewe. I forgot to mention that this ram also had a tail that needed to be removed. He must have read my thoughts or something, because that was not just a clump of wool. I think he got his tail stuck somewhere or something, because that clump was an 8inch section of his tail (8 inches not including the long wool). From the looks of the bloody end it looks like a fresh wound (and the broken off piece was not frozen), but not much bleeding. His tail that used to drag on the ground is now a 1/2 length tail. Why couldn't he break the whole thing off! :p He did a pretty good clean job though...the pulling probably snapped off the blood vessels to stop the bleeding and he snapped it right between 2 joints. I just wonder how in the world he got his tail stuck and pulled off! He doesn't seem to be too bothered, and is just out grazing with his ewe.