Monday, May 05, 2008

E . . .

E started out to be for "eating." Lambs nursing, Blizz up on the grain tray, everyone out on wonderful grass. I was quite tickled to have worked out a morning routine wherein I turn out the sheep to graze while I clean the horse stalls, then call them into their dry lot with a bit of grain so they don't overdo it on the lush grass.

But before I could formulate the intended post, another "E" turned up - "emergency." Late Saturday afternoon we brought in the sheep and did chores early so we could visit some friends. In the fold, I noticed that Brava wasn't acting right. She was clearly depressed, and either ataxic or weak. I called Rick over; THIS is a sick sheep:
We gave her nearly everything - B vitamins, probiotics, pain reliever, antibiotics - and then left for three hours. When we got home, she was worse; down and grinding her teeth, in spite of the Banamine. I really thought she was going to die in my arms; she was that bad. We gave her a stronger antibiotic and ran CMPK with dextrose IV and straight into the belly, and she responded like a cow with milk fever, even though there seemed to be no way or reason for her to have hypocalcemia. We set up a jug for her under the heat lamp (her temp was 98.6, about four degrees lower than normal), and fell into bed at 1:00 a.m. with a prayer.

I was braced for a dead sheep Sunday morning, but she was better. She's still not 100%, but I think she's out of the woods. We will continue to treat and watch her, and hope to learn something from lab tests on her blood and fecal samples. None of the other sheep she has been with are affected; Rick has no idea what we are dealing with.

There WAS bad news Sunday morning; Braveheart was in with the other ewes! Somehow his gate came off; I think I might have messed it up trying to work around Brava's jug Saturday night. I don't know if any of the lactating ewes would be receptive, but I am worried about Bella. I do NOT want any fall lambs! So unless someone out there wants a possible two- or three-in-one package deal on a nice grey ewe, we will be giving her prostaglandin to abort any possible pregnancy.

And yes, I know I am VERY blessed to have a veterinarian on hand, even when he doesn't have all the answers!

That's it for now at . . .

9 comments:

Tammy said...

Prayers for Brava to keep improving. It's very scary when they look like THAT. I have one coughing, but she seems fine otherwise but I'm still treating her. I hope all goes well with your little girl. I had to get a 'morning after' shot for one of my sheepies last fall too, when the big Merino Ram broke in with the wee Shetland yearling ewes. Always something. Take care,
Tammy

Sharrie said...

You sure have things going on out there. Hope Brava continues to improve.

Becky Utecht said...

Glad to hear that Brava made it through -- it would be so great to have a vet in the family! Could it have been grass tetany that brought her down with that calcium imbalance? Your grass looks pretty lush.

Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

Congrats on the successful treatment with the CMPK....hypocalaemia hits with a major drop in temperature. They are 'hypo' - on the down side - and their body temp drops. When I see drooping ears and a ewe or doe either standing miserably or down and in obvious distress, if the temp is low I do the CMPK now and ask questions later. My first Hypo was with an older ewe, perhaps 7 or 8 years old, a good week after lambing. The other few Hypo's I've had were on milk does. What was her temp?? Would be good to know if Tetany also shows a big drop in body temp too...let me know if the DH knows that answer! :-)

Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

PS - I don't know that I'd worry about any pregnancies from Braveheart's adventures. Shetlands only come into estrus in the fall with the drop in daylight and temps, although there could always be that odd ball. My unregistered flock always had the rams living with them all year long for the lack of a better place for them to live, plus they were very happy living with their flock and there was little discord amongst the flock with them remaining there. Never have I had one get bred before September, and we've done it that way since 1997. :-)

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Becky, Brava didn't present like Rechel's grass tetani two years ago, nor did she pop right back with treatment like that one did. Rechel was staggering when I brought her in off grass; Brava got 20 minutes grazing that morning before being returned to dry lot, and was sick 11 hours later. And milk fever doesn't make sense in a yearling ewe that's never been bred or had lambs, although several of her symptoms align perfectly.

And Suzanne, in spite of the conventional wisdom of seasonal cyclers, I know that some have successfully bred for fall Shetland lambs. I do think Bella has been cycling, too, because the oldest ramling twins thought she smelled REAL good a while back, and she seemed to like their interest!

Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

Wow! I would LOVE to have fall lambs here! 11 years and not one lamb born before late February...and considering that a few are crosses, you'd think by now I'd have had an odd-season lamb or two. Darn! I think I would like that! Michelle, perhaps they lutelysed those ewes for fall lambs?

Rayna said...

Glad that your ewe is improving...it's scary to have a sick critter! I've had fall lambs tooI think the lamb was born in...August? That was a while back.

Becky Utecht said...

Yes, very curious indeed Michelle. I forgot that she hadn't lambed. I hope she's continuing to do well for you and the blood tests will shed some light on the subject.