Monday, August 2, 2010

A very depressing day (unfortunately sheep related)

No pictures today. My heart isn't in it.

Last night when I went to bring in the sheep Winston one of this years rams lambs was ill. He was lethargic, had difficulty breathing, was dragging his hind feet and couldn't bah. He would occasionally cough. I separated him and took his temperature (a whopping 108 degrees). Respirations were painful to listen too. Unfortunately I got the emergency vet who was very reluctant to come out, kept telling me that if I really wanted him to live I should take him to the hospital (nearest one is over an hour away) I said I wanted her opinion. Meanwhile he peed a few times and just lay down. He looked bloated.

Vet arrived within 30 minutes at 7.30pm. Didn't believe his temperature and retook it. Informed me "I've never seen that temperature conducive to life". Upon my request (I said he looked bloated) she tubed him and got 50cc of air out. He stood up. She gave him banamine and an antibiotic. She basically also informed me that she had her children in the car because I had made it sound so urgent on the phone, but that he looked "quite perky" to her. She left me with banamine and more antibiotic and told me to just put him back in with the other lambs "because if they're going to get it that would have it already".

At 9pm I checked on him. He was acting strange. Getting up and walking a few feet before collapsing. I put him on my lap. At 9.15pm he started having seizures. At 9.30pm he was dead. He had seemed fine that morning.

I called my regular vet today and informed her he had died. To make it worse 2 other lambs have temperatures. One is 104.6 and one is 104.3. Both are eating, chewing cud and running around. No-one seems to know what is causing the fevers. I am open to ideas. Let's hope everyone else can pull through.

May Winston rest peacefully in grass filled fields.


  1. Shula, I am very sorry to hear this happened. Just makes you want to scream when the vet acts that way. On one hand to say that with that kind of temperature he wouldn't survive and on the other hand to say he was 'perky'. What?? Is it really hot there? It sounds like you have some type of pneumonia going on, but that is just a guess. I would start treating the ones that are showing a fever and any signs now, before it gets any worse. Good luck. Again sorry to hear this.

  2. Shula, I am so sorry. This is the part of having animals that really stinks....the heartbreak of losing them. Keep your chin up...

  3. So sorry for your loss. I hope you find out what is going around and that the others get well very soon.

  4. Oh Shula, that sucks! I wish I had something to offer, but as you know, I've had health mysteries here that we haven't ever been able to figure out -- and I'm married to the vet!

  5. Hi Shula,
    I am so sorry. Hope everyone else is doing okay now. With the heat we have been having, I worry about stuff like this cropping up. I feel like it is hard to breathe with this humidity. I think your weather has been similar.

  6. Thanks everyone. Temps today have stayed mainly below 105 in all the lambs. Adults don't seem to be effected at all. The only symptom they have is fever. No coughing, discharge, swelling etc. All are eating hay and grain, running (away from me trying to take temps), grazing, chewing cud etc. Hopefully the morning brings some positive news.

  7. As with everyone else, I am sorry to hear about your lamb. This summer heat has really been rough. I worry about the animals all the time and check on them all the time. I wonder if any of them could have gotten bitten by something esp. on the legs and had an reaction??? I don't know, just thinking. I know the flies really stress my one ewe out. Hope all gets better!

  8. Did they get into milkweed?Milkweed is poisonous to sheep.Here's a site I found that describes many of those symptoms:
    Hope it helps!

  9. Danny and Shula,

    I believe and I went to the site and the map and picture of the plant on that fist page of that link confirms it, that the "milkweed" here in the north east is different than the milkweed found in the rest of the country. My sheep eat our type on occasion with no ill effects, knock wood. The horses however eat around it.

  10. The pasture they were in is grass, clover and a plant with blue flowers that all of the sheep have eaten on occasion with no ill effects. And yes Kara our milkweed does not look like that but I try and pull it out or fence it out of the pasture. We think many of poor Winston's later symptoms were due to his elevated temperature.

    Today 3 lambs in the 103's and 3 in 104's. The ones with higher temps tend to be younger and smaller than the 3 doing well. The vet thinks they might have a virus that they just have to fight off. We are hoping that the other 3 continue to come down today with supportive help. Thankfully no other symptoms other than fever.

  11. Hi Shula, just wondering how everything is going? Do you think someone or a neighbor child could have fed them Chrisanthemums? That would cause convultions. Well hope they are OK. And yes keep your chin up Hun.