What a crappy year!

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by kesoaps, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,108
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    Location:
    Washington State
    I'm feeling terribly guilty over this one. Hadn't noticed her being off, but also hadn't spent much time with them the past few weeks. Aside from tossing hay over the fence and counting to be sure they were all there, I'd pretty much ignored them. (health issues, large craft fair seemed to consume most of my time.)

    This morning DD went out to feed and found one of the spring lambs laying in the barn. She tossed a handful of hay to her and the lamb didn't get up. She did nibble at it, a good sign, but no desire to get on her feet. I went out to see if I could get her up, and it's as though she's got no muscle in her back legs...or a lower back injury. Her temp is way down, too, no doubt last night's cold weather put her under to the point where an existing problem became noticable.

    I'd suspect a build up of parasites, however she's just 7 months old and has been de-wormed three times, plus we sent a fecal sample (from the flock, not her specifically) into the vet in Sept and the results were fine. She also spent the better part of the summer on better pasture than we had here as she was at one of the county parks for a couple months.

    The worst part is that this isn't one of our lambs, but another 4-H member's lamb. Their mom is on her way right now to take her to the vet. In the meantime, I've given her some nutri-drench and vitamin B. She's loosing ground the longer she waits, and it's been over an hour since I called the owner; at this point I'm not holding out much hope for her.

    I keep looking to see what I could have done differently. Pasture management has been an issue this year as we've doubled flock size. I've got a neighbor who has okayed us stringing an electric fence around his old cow pasture for next summer, so that will provide a great deal of relief. Another neighbor offered her pasture this year, but it was so wet most of the summer that we just didn't get around to using it. I felt like I was more aggressive with deworming this year, given lack of pasture, as well as feeding throughout the summer. They've had hay in front of them pretty consistently since September. I also bumped up the quality of hay once the pasture was completely gone.

    What else can I be doing to prevent any more catastrophes? :shrug:

    The owners haven't been here to see their sheep since August, so while I realize it's up to me to care for them while the sheep are here, I'm feeling a bit miffed that they haven't bothered to come and see how their animals are doing. We scheduled a meeting for this past Friday and they didn't show up, saying they'd thought it was an evening meeting. I was going to have them trim feet and deworm their sheep that day. Had they shown up, we may have spotted something earlier.
     
  2. mawalla

    mawalla Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    953
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2002
    Location:
    AR
    Geez, I hope that it is something that can be corrected. Any chance that its menigeal worm? (Not that that is a good problem to have.) And I also hope that the owners are not the type to come down hard on you since they have done nothing to help care for this lamb in 3 months.

    I hate it when something like like happens in my flock. It seems like when ever I keep a close eye on things nothing happens but as soon as I lay off for a little while because of some other obligations some freak accident or illness will raise its ugly head!

    Good luck and keep us posted as to what the outcome, and the cause, is.
     

  3. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,108
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    Location:
    Washington State
    I just spoke with the vet, told him all I could about the past couple of months, deworming that's been done, anything that may have led up to this. The only other thing that went wrong with her is that she got loose a month ago and spent the night tangled in some blackberries...when I cut her out in the morning she had a hard time walking, very similar to this, but I figured she'd just lost the circulation in her leg since she'd been down all night. After getting her up, she shook it off and seemed fine.

    Feels like I've had the vet out a lot, but I had to remind myself that once was for kidney stones and the other was Dolly getting out and into the grain. Both somewhat preventable, but also something that happens. I just got lucky and had them happen on the heels of loosing a lamb this summer.

    Fortunately, the owner is pretty even keeled. I felt snappy, she maintained. Very classy lady, even if she doesn't find time to bring the kids out. I'm just hoping it's not something that I've overlooked and should have been obvious.
     
  4. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

    Messages:
    1,326
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Eastern Ontario
    I hope the result of the poor lamb isn't to serious for your part. I know that having any sort of illness isn't good but having one what isn't to bad is better, and for your sake it is alot better. I'm crossing my fingers for you!, You have done all that you could once you found her.

    Melissa
     
  5. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,108
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    Location:
    Washington State
    Just spoke to the owner. She's paying for an IV...good grief!...and leaving the lamb there for the afternoon. Her temp is coming back up and she's perking up a bit. The vet thinks she's just been pushed out of the hay by everyone else, because nothing else seems wrong other than she's on the thin side. He agreed with me that the cold weather last night was what pushed her to this point. So we're setting up the lights inside the sheep shed for her and will seperate her from the big sheep to see if that helps.

    I'm just way to oversheeped here. Sold two early in the summer but the owner's left them for two months while taking their time putting in their fence. I also had the ram here which limited where I could put the young ewes. Just not a good situation. This lamb and her mom are the only two left here that aren't mine, and I've no clue how long it will be before their property is ready (no water there at the moment) for these sheep to move.

    It's just been a rotten year for both me and the sheep. Hope next year is better!
     
  6. eieiomom

    eieiomom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,391
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    You need a big hug ....

    It is easy to beat yourself up when you have a big heart...
    Sounds like you would treat all the animals on your farm the same no matter who they belong to and who takes advantage of your kindness for taking such wonderful care of all !

    My first reaction was that the ewe lamb may have gotten dehydrated due to the combination of the cold weather and competing with others for feed.
    If she had been injured she probably needs more TLC in making sure she has access to food and water in addition to the source for the rest of the flock, which is especially difficult in the excessive cold.
    She does sound like a fighter so hopefully she will be ok.

    Don't know what to suggest about the 4H family who doesn't do their part- there always seem to be those who are that way...maybe give them the ultimatum if they aren't interested in taking care of their own sheep then you need to consider them your own :confused:

    By the way how is Dolly doing ?

    Next year will be better ;)
     
  7. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    13,084
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ontario
    Your feeding purchased hay correct? Washington shouldn't be selenium deficient but could that hay have come from ground this is? An IV isn't a bad idea, some lactated ringers or even just 30% gluecose is cheap and very effective.
     
  8. eieiomom

    eieiomom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,391
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I also wondered about Selenium deficiency-what about a shot of BOSE too ?
     
  9. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,108
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    Location:
    Washington State
    Well, whether or not it's deserved, I am beating myself up over this one. The other three were out of my control, but this one I may have been able to prevent. The lamb is currently in my rec room where I'm pretty sure she'll die tonight. Here's the scoop:

    I picked her up from the vet this afternoon and spoke with the vet. From our conversation I'm gathering it's a combination of parasites and lack of feed. How we got from healthy lamb in August to this I'm not sure. I've been trying to piece it all together.

    She spent a couple of months at a local park, along with another young ewe of ours. This is the second year we've had sheep there. A couple of doelings from a local goat dairy are there each summer, plus another ewe and her lambs. Everyone is required to deworm and provide only healthy animals. We dewormed Clovia before she went in early July at weaning time.

    She passed her health exam at the fair with no trouble. She was on the light side, a bit ribby. Last year her dam lambed for the first time, but at 10 months we gave her skinny lamb the benefit of the doubt. Since this year's lamb was skinny as well, I put the blame on the ewe. The other lambs were fat and growing quite well. We dewormed her before leaving for the fair because we'd just lost the icelandic lamb and wanted to be sure everyone was healthy.

    In Sept we sent in a fecal sample from the flock and it came back clean. No problem, said the vet. Everyone was dewormed just the same because we were so overloaded and had little pasture. I pulled everyone off grain due to the ram's condition. I also didn't want to risk it with the wether that was in with the girls, so they went without.

    A couple of weeks ago I had a strange thing happen. I was unloading my car and everything went black. I was in town and at first thought it was a power outage, but deep down I knew it wasn't. I asked and no one had seen the lights even flicker. By midnight I was in one of those MRI tubes. Fun. I've felt light headed from time to time in the past couple of weeks; haven't been able to lift much so have had DD feeding. Consequently I haven't been out there to really see what's going on. She's the one who found the lamb this morning.

    A drip IV was offered, but even with it they didn't give the lamb much of a chance. She has no muscle tone. (I do a head count every morning, she's been outside standing with everyone else, no clue why the sudden lack of muscle.) The owner wasn't sure what to do...she'd already spent at least $100 on the lamb. I told her to keep in mind that this was a farm animal, and she'd never recoup this money. I recommended she just euthinize her, and the vet offered that up as well. The owner couldn't bear the thought of that, but also didn't want to put a few hundred more into the lamb. She decided to bring her home...my home...and baby her back to health.

    Of course that's wishful thinking. I'm not holding my breath. It's really a rather cruel thing to do...but I do understand that sentimentallity. She lives in a world of diamond studded dog collars, although deep down she's the girl next door and has a difficult time seperating the two lifestyles. Thankfully she's under the impression that I give the best of care...sure wish I felt the same way right now!

    For the record, we are incredibly selenium deficiant on this side of the mountains. I fed a local hay in late summer/early fall while there was still a wee bit of grass left, but had switched to a high protien easter grass hay by late sept/early oct. There's nearly always hay left out there, so I haven't really worried about anyone not eating. However...if I'd have gone and run my hands over them I'd have realized just how thin this girl was; much thinner than she was earlier this fall.

    Hmmm....it's beginning to smell bad back here in the rec room. She had a wet spot beneath her. Thought it was urine (put some plastic down), but now wonder if she's loosing enough muscle tone to loose fluids?

    Sorry for the novel...
     
  10. mawalla

    mawalla Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    953
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2002
    Location:
    AR
    What did your MRI reveal about YOU. I hope nothing too serious!
     
  11. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,108
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    Location:
    Washington State
    LOL! It revealed nothing! I tell you, that's nearly as frustrating. I've no clue what's going on, except that my right side has been terribly sore and stiff. I'm sure the spinning doesn't help. Think it could be as simple as a pinched nerve...of course nothing is simple when they turn out the lights on you :rolleyes: I'd had a upper back/shoulder/neck/base of headache the week before it happened. I'm sure it's related somehow.
     
  12. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    13,084
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ontario
    Selenium deficency could account for the muscle loss, you may want to ask the vet about a maintenance shot of BOSE or some Vitamin E selenium in some form for everybody. Check the mineral suppliment to see how much is there. Glad your not taking any chances with blackouts, they're usually nothing more than over tired or not eatign right but ya never know.
     
  13. CCSheep

    CCSheep Member

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Location:
    Washington
    Feel bad for you reading this thread.

    Our part of Washington is so selenium deficient that if a shepherd doesn't have a management plan in place, (Bo-Se at birth for lambs, year-round supplements for ewes and rams, growing lambs) he/she won't have a flock for long. Lambs go down really fast with white muscle disease in our area. They bounce back miraculously if they get a shot in time too.

    I know you feel bad that this happened under your care, but a sick sheep can be very time consuming and it does sound like she has no clue as to what it takes to care for animals because she is expecting quite a lot of you in caring for a close to death lamb. I think you gave her good advice and if she won't take it, she should get to take care of the lamb herself. Be strong.

    Take care and hope you feel better soon too.

    Jami B.
    Ellensburg, WA
     
  14. eieiomom

    eieiomom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,391
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I received the Pipestone Vet Supply catalog (MN) today and they had a vitamin E liquid as well as the other large variety of supplies. I have found them a little more pricier than other supply places but they are a good source of info too (i.e. newsletters) and are very helpful with questions for their veterinarians over the phone.
    Might want to check them out and ask them some good advice too ?
    Here is their link to view the catalog on line or order it via snail mail.

    http://www.pipevet.com/

    By the way is your vet tied in with University ? Vet schools are usually a good source of info.
     
  15. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,108
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    Location:
    Washington State
    Thanks for the kind words, Jami!

    They brought Clovia home for a couple of nights and she did improve a bit. She was holding her head up on her own, which was wonderful as it meant I didn't have to prop or hold her up while giving her water or hay. Her appetite has been good all along.

    The owner left for the weekend, and brought her back to my place yesterday. When I got home from work, I found they'd left her 'sitting' like a dog would, with her tail beneath her and her back legs stretched out forward. Her chest was lower than her back end because she'd been left 'sitting' on a blanket. There was a greyish brown mucus coming from her nose and she didn't look too good.

    Tried moving her to make her more comfortable, lifting her head and shoulders, propping her a bit with a large pillow. Like I said, her appetite was good. I spotted a large area where they'd put grain down in front of her beneath the hay. Not sure how much they'd been feeding her, but her tummy was getting rather large. Checked beneath her back end and didn't see any poop.

    This morning she couldn't lift her head again, and her tummy was getting tight. Bloat. She'd been off grain since Sept as I was waiting for the butcher to show up for the ram and wether, plus Dolly was back in with her and I didn't want anyone getting sick again. I've no clue how much they were feeding her over the past two days.

    Got her moved out of the laundry room (which reeked unbelievably, could hardly stand to inhale!) and found she'd had dihareah and her tail was stuck to her bottom. Of course, because she'd been sitting on it for who knows how long! The stench was so bad that I had dh help me set up the calf hutch and we got her into it.

    I had to go to work, but when I came home there was a long trail of the wet grey mucus which had drained out of her nose and run at least six inches out in front of her. Her eyes were sunken in and there was no life or recognition. I rubbed her head, she was still warm but not responding. Her breathing was so shallow that I really couldn't see it.

    I didn't bother her. It's been an hour and I'm sure she's gone now. I'll give them another lamb in the spring...it'll have been long enough for them to get over this one. In the meantime, this has been a year of growth for all of us. Why everything has happened in the past 5 months, I don't know. Would have been nice if it had spread itself out a bit over time!
     
  16. eieiomom

    eieiomom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,391
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Poor baby.

    She is no longer suffering and you did all that you could.

    I don't know about giving them the responsibility of taking care (or in this case not taking care) of another lamb.
    Hope that doesn't sound harsh but I probably don't know all the details either....
     
  17. CountryFried

    CountryFried Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    144
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2003
    Location:
    Tennessee
    That was a heart breaking story . I regret you have had to go through all of this misery.

    Someone should come up with a cliff notes book on sheep keeping. If those people had known better than to give all the grain, she may have made it !

    I too have learned my lessons the hard way. I acquired my sheep, then TRIED to read the sheep manual while working full time. Lots of problems have arisen that I could address by going to the book, and then there were the times that having a working knowledge of in my head would have paid off better . Learning and experience takes time, it's sad to see you had to deal with their inexperience.
     
  18. eieiomom

    eieiomom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,391
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin

    We are approaching a new year and hopefully things will turn around for all of us.
    I told my vet it has to be better, this past year we had to say good bye to our 20 year old gelding, 35 year old mare, 15 year old dog and 16 year old cat :(
    It has to get better !
     
  19. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,108
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    Location:
    Washington State
    Oh, Deb, that's horrible. I remember putting down my gelding at 32...we had an early morning appointment and there was no assistant, just the vet and myself. He asked if I could help, but was so sweet and worried when he asked. I'll never forget holding the old boy's head as the life slipped away from him.

    Anyway, about the owner and the lamb...She lives in a rather uppercrust area where sheep are not allowed. They've got property, but her dh decided to purchase vacation property and build a cabin instead of starting their home on the land over here. Consequently, she's still got sheep at my house. Once she's on her own land, she'll be fine; right now she's got a lot of irons in the fire and a high maintenance dh. Once she gets settled on their place things will smooth out for her, she'll be fine. (And I'll wait until then to give her another lamb because I don't need that mouth to feed here!)

    On the positive side...our online group (yahoo list) has now got several health links for the kids to learn from at this point!
     
  20. eieiomom

    eieiomom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,391
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I understand and you are so kind to help her family out, hopefully she appreciates it.