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Discussion Starter #1
I have no idea what this is. After shearing this weekend, we noticed a large lump on our ram's hind quarter - on his back near his tail area. Upon further inspection, we found a one-inch slit/hole in the lump and could tell it was full of something black. My husband squeezed at it and it basically emptied (a HUGE amount!!) of black-grey matter with some white specks in it. It discharged out of the one-inch hole, similar to a blackhead or a pimple. He probably got a good cup or two of this stuff out of it. He worked at it until he was fairly confident that he had emptied this 'hole'.
There is no redness around it, no inflammation, no other discharge and no odour whatsoever that would indicate infection. The grey matter doesn't smell like anything, nor was anything moving (like bugs or worms). The white specks in it were not clearly eggs or anything like that. The ram wasn't bothered by our poking and squeezing, although he was favouring that hip area a bit last night, I noticed.
He is already on a round of antibiotics that we started on Saturday for a bit of a foot scald, so I'm thinking this will help if there is any infection in there.

Does anyone have any idea what this is - and any suggestions as to what we should be doing further?

Thanks!
Jodi
 

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i've been reading up on CL as a guy i work with has been losing goats to it lately. it also affects sheep. any chance that's what it is?
 

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winding down
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It may also have been a vacated warble hole. The flecks may have been feces from the larvae. Check on-line for photos of those and see.

Meg
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, I am totally thinking that it is warble or even botfly-related. We have been having the typical bouts of flies, common to our farm area in summer time.

I found this...

"Flesh-flies and Blow-flies (Calliphoridae)
The larva of these flies all live in, or feed on carrion (recently dead animals) but only when it contains a high degree of moisture. Blow-Flies got their name from the fact that meat that they had laid their eggs into was called blown as in blown up. Blow-flies like the Blue Bottle Calliphora vomitoria are highly attracted to thawed out or cooked meats and can be quite a nuisance in warmer counties than the UK. The Green Bottles Lucilia sp., are apparently attracted to a different set of odours than the Blow- flies and this is why they are often common outside but seldomly come indoors. The largest members of this group are the marbled-grey Flesh-flies, like Sarcophaga carnaria. These are again often common outside but seldom come into a house, and though they too breed in carrion they give birth to live young larva rather than laying eggs.
Aside from feeding on carrion there are a number of flies which have taken to feeding on living flesh. Some of these are related to the common Green Bottle i.e. Lucilia sericata and Lucilia cuprina which lay their eggs in the damp ammoniated wool around the sheep's anus. The larva, which start off eating the sheep's faeces, soon take to eating the sheep's flesh instead. These two flies are a serious pest of sheep from Scotland to Australia. These, and others like them, attack a wide variety of animals, particularly in the tropics, and are known as Bots or Bot-Flies. Even more painful are the Warbles or Warble-Flies whose larva burrow beneath the skin, leaving only their anal spiracles exposed to the air. The human bot-fly is Dermatobia hominis of South Africa whose females lay their eggs on a mosquito or some other sort of biting (piercing) fly which carries the egg to its human host In tropical countries most animals are attacked by some sort of warble, even elephants and rhinos have their hides pitted with the pock marks left behind by the larva as they burrow out of the skin before falling to the ground to pupate. Adult Warble-flies are large and hairy and often look like Bumblebees. "

So, apparently this is a common problem to sheep?

Thanks for leading me in that direction, Meg!
Jodi
 

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The hole may be sealed off from the blood supply and will likely be unaffected by the antibiotics. Our vet had us flush out a similar sac with hydrogen peroxide. we had to do it once a day for several days.
 

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CL is not normally grey, it's bright white with greenish tinges, solid chunky puss not liquid like.
 

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And doesn't CL usually exhibit iteself starting at the mouth, neck, etc?

My first thought was a sort of keratin based cyst-- but then, I've been concentrating on dying rabbits lately---
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The hydrogen peroxide flush sounds like a good plan. Did your vet mention what it was, Sheepish?
I'm going to read up on the keratin-based cyst.... although from my reading yesterday, Terry, the whole botfly/warble theory may very well apply to rabbits. (rabbits and squirrels are its most common hosts).
 

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Hawkfamily said:
The hydrogen peroxide flush sounds like a good plan. Did your vet mention what it was, Sheepish?
I'm going to read up on the keratin-based cyst.... although from my reading yesterday, Terry, the whole botfly/warble theory may very well apply to rabbits. (rabbits and squirrels are its most common hosts).
My rabbits are dying from things like smacking their silly little heads into ceilings and walls of hutch boxes, getting lost in the pen and getting cold,( too young to be so adventurous) not having ANY tolerance for heat-- It has not been a good month-- For now, I have parasite issues under control-- but who is to say Mr. Murphy won't stop by for a visit? I am kinda glad my Ram has expired--I can just imagine the types of issues he would have--
 

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sheepish said:
The hole may be sealed off from the blood supply and will likely be unaffected by the antibiotics. Our vet had us flush out a similar sac with hydrogen peroxide. we had to do it once a day for several days.
Couple years ago I had a baby ram lamb with an abscess at the corner of his mouth. Doc said to flush it with iodine mixed 1 part to 9 parts water. This worked well, and it healed without a scar. I squirted it into the opening made when expressing the pus.
Something else that worked for me on a rabbit with a huge abscess under the chin.....got one of those tubes of pennicillin you use for dairy cattle teat infusers, and squirted it into the abscess for a few days. It also healed completely so that I could show him again.

Lisa at Somerhill
www.somerhillfarm.com
 

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In our case, the pus didn't look just like that from Jodi's sheep but ours was a sac created around a large sliver. It got to be a couple of inches in diameter before we noticed it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
We're at a loss again now, cuz the damn hole just keeps filling back up with the same grey matter.... Dh emptied it again yesterday, to the point of getting some clear, more pus-like fluid out and then a bit of blood, and he has been religiously flushing it with hydrogen peroxide. The flies definitely like the area and are hanging out there. After flushing/cleaning it last night, he put a glob of vaseline there.
We shall see.....
 

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Try using the diluted iodine (1 part iodine to 9 parts water) and see if that will start drying it up. You really don't want to "goop" it up with anything like vaseline, since you want it to drain and dry and heal from the inside - not seal back up and abscess.

Try a flyspray - like a face spray for horses - around(but not in) the wound area to keep flies off. I use Catron IV, but not sure if its still available. I found a salve that is a fly repellent at TSC a while back, which would be the ideal solution.

If you have not already done so, clip the wool back all around the wound so that air can get to it, too.

Nothing like a stubborn wound to get frustrating, huh?
Lisa at Somerhill
www.somerhillfarm.com
 

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If you have ti tree essential oil, put some of that on it. Ti tree oil is very healing, and it will keep insects away. Lavender e.o. would also work well, and smells a lot better.
 

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I second the iodine suggestion. I had a ram with a nasty neck abscess that would NOT heal ... I started injecting it with iodine diluted with water, and it worked wonders. Makes an ugly mess when you are doing it, but it's worth it.

You may also try covering the wound with gauze - you want air to get in, but not bugs. Try trimming the fleece all around the wound then covering with a light gauze piece held in place with duct tape (I have heard duct tape works quite well on sheep as it sticks to the fleece but gets dirty/unsticky and falls off in a few days without needing to be yanked).
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for these suggestions. We will definitely move onto the iodine solution and try the bug repellant. He was just sheared a week ago, so it is nice and open to the air - no wool around it whatsoever. thanks!
 

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Would you think I'm crazy if I suggested trying raw, (unprocessed), honey on the abscess?
According to the C.S.I.R.O., it contains a type of peroxide that will clean and dissinfect abscesses and ulcers suffered by humans, letting them heal without leaving scars. (It also doesn't fizz and sting like peroxide does.)

C.S.I.R.O: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
 

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Just visiting, but raw honey worked on one of our goats; neighbor SWEARS by it, so tried it on a raw scrape...worked well, but there weren't any other goaties nearby to lick it off :) I read up on it, and there IS something in honey which acts as an antibiotic; ancient folks used it. I've not used it since.
 
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