1 day ago
Monday, February 8, 2010
Treating a ewe who collapsed
Each species has its own set of requirements, husbandry practices that work for it, and weird quirks. I have really appreciated a local blog written by Michelle, the collie farm, for the bits of information she's given me on sheep. She has a flock of the same breed as I do, and really takes it seriously, and I vicariously use her research for my own flock.
Part of farming is just being there. Every day I check on each animal in my care, and make sure that they've got everything they need. I also note their general condition, whether they are hanging out with the other animals of their species, and whether they've got any issues -- limping, that sort of thing.
So on thursday of last week I counted my sheep and noticed I was missing one. looking around I found her out in the field, laying on her side, all by herself. The other sheep were doing sheep things in a flock.
I walked over to her, and she didn't raise her head to look at me as I approached, but was alive, which i was pretty happy about. At least I have a chance to to something, but I have no idea what her ailment is. Running my hands over her, she's not skinny, but her breathing is labored and she's pretty pregnant. My ram got into a pen with a couple of my sheep earlier than I would have liked, and she was one of the sheep that probably got bred then.
No obvious injuries; wool is in good shape, no discharge from the mouth, anus or vagina, or eyes. No wounds, no blood. Just laying on the ground. I try to get her up, but she's down. Hmmm...
I go and get the tractor and put her into the bucket and carry her over to a little shed. I bed her on some hay so that she's got dry stuff under her. I don't know how long she's laid out there; could have been since yesterday. I don't think that water will do her any harm, and so I go get one of the most useful first-aid implements I've found for the farm: A turkey baster.
I called the fellow I bought the sheep from, and he speculated that it might be the stress of pregnancy, and that maybe I wasn't feeding them enough high-quality feed, and suggested that I get her some Propylene Glycol to see if that boost would help her get back on her feet. I called a local vet who concurred (and said that a farm visit would cost me $300), and I located a gallon of this stuff, and started treating her with 30ccs every 8 hours. Water, glycol, water, glycol. After 12 hours of this she was trying to sit up, and I brought in a bale of hay and propped her up onto her chest, and the next day she was standing and moving around and eating. The picture above is her rejoining the herd after I kept her for another two days of this regimen.
I've ordered 1,000lbs of grain, and will be putting the whole flock on 2lbs a day in addition to hay and forage for the rest of their pregnancy.
Really glad she's better. Hope there's no relapse.