white gums, bit of swelling...

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by kesoaps, Aug 10, 2005.

  1. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Dd's little icelandic was looking a bit lethargic this morning, didn't come up to eat, instead lay beneath a tree with some dis-interest. I went and gathered her up and put her with the new icelandic. Would prefer to completely seperate her, but at the moment every holding area is full what with the upcoming fair.

    She seems to have lost a bit of weight, so I'll hit her again (she was done 6 weeks ago). Her gums are quite white, she has a funny little swelling, like a drainage beneath her jaw. It's not hard, but definitely there's some fluid in it. We've got an appt tomorrow at 7:45 in the morning. Keep your fingers crossed, as this little ewe is supposed to be in our first dairy class ever out at the fair!
     
  2. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    She has Liver Fluke. Get a wormer into her NOW that covers Fasciola hepatica . If she is already lethargic she has had it for some time and if you delay in treating her you stand a good chance of losing her within the next couple of days.

    Worm all your other sheep at the same time.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     

  3. backachersfarm

    backachersfarm Well-Known Member

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    The swelling you noticed is called bottle jaw. It is a sign of advanced worm infestation. You need to worm this animal with a different wormer then you used last time. Might not hurt to give her some nutridrench. When they get down this bad it can be hard to bring them back around.

    Sharon
     
  4. sheeplady

    sheeplady Well-Known Member

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    Its been a bad year for parasites. Especially in lambs. A hot topic on the SheepL List I'm on. Yes, bottle jaw is bad. But treatable if started quickly. I would go with Valbazem as that gets liver flukes which the others don't. ( Panacur, Ivomec) . Also give her an Iron shot ( once every 5-7 days) and also Vitamin B Complex which can be given once a day . Both can be had through your vet.
    If you can get her through this, don't count on taken her to the fair. It takes about a monyh for the red blood cells to fully come back and any added stress could delay it.
    Nutridrench is good too, but be very careful to keep her head level giving it ( or any liquid). If she has her head tilted up, it can get into her lungs and cause aspiration pneumonia.
    Good luck. A tough battle once they get the swollen jaw. Worm all of your others now too. Kate
     
  5. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Okay, after posting I read something where the owner of Lavender Farm (sheep mag/2003) used some apple cider vinegar on a down lamb, and it worked. Ran and got some. But now this lamb is foaming inside her mouth.

    I haven't got anything on hand but Ivermec. Called a friend who's dh was home, he said all they had was ivermec and panacur. Will either of these work?

    I'm calling the breeder to see what she used before I picked her up...or if she's got anything different.
     
  6. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Cider vinegar isn't going to do one ounce of good in this case. You have to hit the problem and do it fast.

    Your sheep is showing the classic signs of Liver Fluke infestation - lethargy, fluid retention under the jaw and pale mouth (as a matter of interest cattle show the same symptoms). Not all drenches cover Liver Fluke so whatever you buy you must ensure that it is going to cover this nasty as well.

    If you were to cut open the liver of your sheep, you would find the tubes full of greyish, leaf-like parasites and it is these that are literally sucking the life blood out of her. Don't bugger around, if it means a special trip to town to get the drench, do it. I learnt the hard way about Liver Fluke and lost a pregnant cow to it. The vet cut her open for me and I couldn't believe my eyes. It was enough to teach me that all animals that live in Fluke prone areas should be drenched for it at least twice a year.

    Good luck,
    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  7. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Valbazen or Safeguard dosed to kill tapeworms/flukes. Either will work but get it now! "Ivomec Plus" will kill flukes/tapes as well, you'll need to ask a vet for doseages.
     
  8. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Thankyou Ross. I didn't mention drench names as I think that while being the same product, they can go under different names over here and it would have only confused the issue.

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  9. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    A collegue of mine has lost several lambs this year to this very problem... If we haven't made the urgency of the situation clear... MOVE MOVE MOVE. This is an emergency if it has advanced to bottle jaw! Lambs/sheep can die of fluke before the bottle jaw stage, so if you've hit that point, you've got a very serious problem.

    Dose.. then dose again in 21 days (someone like Ross, verify the span, but I am currently running 21 days as the life cycle of the nasties using Valbazen) and rotate to a clean pasture 12 hours after you've wormed if possible. Or consider bringing them in and dry lotting them. You don't want them dropping the worms then grazing over them and re-infesting.

    If you don't have a "second pasture" seriously consider taking over your lawn as a temporary measure.
     
  10. mawalla

    mawalla Well-Known Member

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    Pale gums and bottle jaw are caused by red blood cell and protein loss in the blood stream when an animal has anemia. They are both symptoms of a sever blood sucking internal parasite load in an animal. Around here, Liver Fluke isn't a problem but Haemonchus Contortus, commonly called Barber Pole Worm, is a problem. Coccidia can also cause anemia. What you use for worms won't work for coccidia, however.

    If it were me, I'd treat her for worms immediatly, put the girl up and feed her hay out of a bunk to keep her head up higher than at a grazing position which will reduce the jaw swelling, and also keep her from reinfecting herself

    I would also test her poop to see what type of parasites she has. Not all parasites are blood suckers but they can still cause internal damage to you animals. A few days after worming her I'd test her poop again to see if what I used has worked.

    It would be a good idea to check the rest of your flocks' eyes to see if they are getting pale, too.
     
  11. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

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    Nasty barber pole worm infestation will show the same symptoms. Along with worming, give a high daily dose of FORTIFIED Vit B complex ~ it is higher in thiamine than the usual Vit B complex. The thiamine is necessary to turn around this anemia. Also drench with a protein/amino acid solution which helps. Give high protein feed, soybean meal included, until good color returns. Re-worm in 19-21 days.
     
  12. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, everyone, but it's too late.

    I called the vet because I didn't have anything other than ivomec here, which she'd already been wormed with. I described everything to him, that she'd been fine the previous day, but a bit slow yesterday to come to feed in the morning and by late morning seemed 'off' and a bit lethargic, that I'd seperated her so she could have her own pile of hay if that had been the problem (she's smaller than the rest.)

    I told him her gums were white, about the swelling (it really was small, only noticble when handling her, not like the advanced pictures you see) and that she'd nibbled a bit on hay and had been happy to take a handful of grain at 7:30 (two hours earlier.) Told him we had an early appt in the morning, but no wormer other than the one. He told me if she was on her feet and mobile (which she was between resting spells), if I kept her in a small area with a buddy to keep her quiet, that waiting until morning should be fine. The fact that no other sheep seem to be troubled suggested to him that she'd gotten into something and twisted a gut, which can sometimes mimic the bottle jaw with drainage and paleness of gums.

    So...I waited and hour and checked on her. She was down...still alive, but so terribly much worse. It was 10:30 out here our time, I called the vet back and told him we were putting her in the car and heading out. It's a 45 minute drive normally...took us 35 that time of night. But she died on the way.

    The vet felt her (still warm) and said her flesh was good, a bit light in the loin, but not exhibiting worm infestation like he'd anticipated. He still thought it came on too suddenly, and that it was diet related. I told him she really reminded me of a horse with colic, like there was abdominal pain. She hadn't appeard bloated earlier in the evening, but by the time we were at the hospital she'd definitely swelled up.

    Today I'll shift everyone to another pasture...although they're all connected to one another, so not sure how much that will help. On Sunday they head to the fairgrounds. Everyone else is fat and healthy, no sign of any trouble, but they'll get a dose of the Ivermec today, and I'll go pick up some Panacur (which there was none of when I was buying last month.)

    Thanks for everyone's input. I'll make of point of learning more about drenching (I'd imagined something simpler, like using a syringe like in paste worming) and getting those supplies on hand when I need them in the future. I'd called a couple of experienced shepherds in the area (20 plus years) and neither of them could tell me as much as you folks did, they'd never had to deal with this before.
     
  13. sheeplady

    sheeplady Well-Known Member

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    You can get Valbazem from most any large animal supply catalogue.My vet orders it for me for about the same price. Its an all purpose wormer, liquid form, but also the main one effective for liverflukes. Its too bad your vet didn't do a postmortem autopsy as he had her right there and it would certainly have helped you pinpoint the problem. Flukes do not show up on fecals, but are very apparent in the livers as Ronney described.
    Drenching need not be complicated, especially with just a few sheep. You can improvise with the syringe end ( minus the needle) . Syringes are available in 3cc,12cc and 50cc sizes. I save used syringes from vaccinations, wash well, sterilize in boiling water and use to dose small groups of sheep with liquid wormers. Each animal gets a separate syringe. I carry them in a waist tool pouch along with a small wool marker spray so I can mark each one as I do them. Valbazem is about 3 cc for a lamb and 7 cc for an adult.
    For larger groups I do have a drench gun and backpack bag that I can do 50 in a chute in half hour or less by myself and I am not a young person and don't move as fast as I would like.
    Check your remaining sheep often for signs of parasite build up: pale gums or lower eyelids, loose droppings, swollen bellies, etc. But get on a regular worming program. It can be helpful to take a fecal sample to your vet to determine what if any parasites you have. Saves time and $ to use the right wormer. Although flukes don't show on a fecal, just stomach worms.
    Remember the expression: the eye of the master fattenth his cattle.
     
  14. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

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    Very sorry to hear the outcome but can't say I was overly surprised. Was disappointed that the vet didn't do an autopsy as it would have been good for you to have confirmed what she died of. Also, how long ago did you buy this sheep as I feel the onus of responsibility lies with the seller. Worm infestation of any sort doesn't happen overnight and I have a strong suspicion that this sheep may well have come to you with an existing problem.

    Sheeplady has given some very good and practical advice and Sheeplady, I hope you don't mind but I will expand on it a little.

    Local knowledge - get as much of it as you can. Talk to other farmers and your vet, find out what problems face sheep in your area, how to deal with them etc.

    Understand that sheep are quite labour intensive. They need shorn, suffer from foot problems, fly strike, lice and worms. They need to be vaccinated, docked and can fall over from photosensitivity problems such as FE. They can suffer Hogget Ill-thrift through a lack of selenium and cobalt. In fact I sometimes wonder why I keep the damn things :bash:

    As Sheeplady has suggested, get a drenching programe underway and use this in conjunction with grazing management - the more frequently your sheep are shifted, the less you will have to drench unless you are overstocked. The worm cycle is approximately two weeks so sheep should not be returned to a paddock for at least that length of time. If you can do this it cuts down considerably the amount of times a sheep has to be drenched. It can also help to graze cattle in conjunction with sheep as the worms that affects cattle don't affect sheep and vice versa.

    Liver Fluke and Barbers Pole are two traps for the unwary as they are often ill before any physical sign manifests itself. Liver Fluke (and I do feel that is what your Icelandic had) doesn't have to be explained to you. Barbers Pole is a bugger because you will often find the sheep dead although it appears to be in good condition. The only real signs of it are extremely white mouth and eyes and, if shifting sheep, they tend to lag behind the mob and fall over.

    Sooo, you need to do some research about the type of country in which you farm and look very carefully at the drenches you purchase to ensure that they are going to cover the problems that you may face.

    Don't beat yourself up over the death of your sheep. Experience often comes at a very high price and I doubt there is one person here that has got away scot free. BTW, who is Dd - your daughter?

    Cheers,
    Ronnie
     
  15. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Ronney! Yes, DD is my daughter (dear daughter) She's getting over it, and while I do sit and wonder, I'm not beating myself up. Life (and death) happens. Labor intesive? I'll take them over the horses any day :) At least I can trim those feet myself!

    The vet suggested that if we should loose a second animal, an autopsey would be a good thing, but with one sheep it's a big mess that gets sent home with me afterwards to deal with. And to be honest, with dh just getting back to work after an 18 month lay off, I wasn't relishing the idea of a big vet bill. Yes, it would be nice to know, but again, that's life.... I'm headed out there with some fecal samples this morning and will ask about getting some Valbazem.

    I did call the breeder, told her I really didn't know if this was something the lamb came with or something that happened here (obviously, if it was infestation she came with it), and she felt really bad. Yesterday when she got the message that the lamb died, she called and offered another lamb to my daughter. I did want her to have a heads up and double check her flock, and she had just brought fecal samples in because I scared her with a barber's pole story. (BP supposedly wasn't in this area, but last weekend I went to see a flock and was told she's lost one ewe and has several who are skin and bones :( )

    Regarding local knowledge, I'm either asking the wrong questions or the wrong people, lol! Sheep aren't big here, this is dairy cow and horse country, but only in pockets between former farms that have been sub-urbanized. I did call a couple of more experienced sheep folks, but no one mentioned drenching, no one had suffered from bottle jaw or worm infestation. One did suggest that with the foaminess in the mouth that perhaps she'd gotten into something she souldn't have (and that also mirrors the vet's first inclination.)

    Anyway, live and learn. Sunday most of them will be moving to the fairgrounds for a week, they all appear to be in great condition. A neighbor has allowed us to fence part of her vacant pasture, I just need to find the time to pound in the fence posts and will move them in there when we get home.

    Thanks, everyone, for your input. It's most appreciated, and hopefully others will pick up some valued piece of information to use along the way!