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  Don Bailey, D.V.M. Vet Check  

    If you’re puzzled about a sheep health problem, write immediately to Dr. Bailey at the above address. He thoughtfully responds by mail to your sheep questions, and some of his answers get published in sheep! to help readers with similar problems.

    Please do not ask Dr. Bailey to practice medicine over the telephone. If you have an immediate problem, call your local veterinarian.

    Always remember to check with Dr. Bailey for a second opinion. Questions sent via E-mail to sheepmagazine@citynet.net will be forwarded to Dr. Bailey.

Off-Feed: Entropion

The lame lamb I had first asked about is out of the splint and doing great! She is eating one full bottle every morning and every night and rarely leaves any leftover.

Her twin was growing great, but over the last couple days has been eating less and less and while he was eating a full bottle twice a day he’s now eating about 1/3 of a bottle four times a day.

He became very weak over the weekend and was having trouble balancing and walking. Last Tuesday he was chasing my 3-year-old around our yard and having a great time playing. By Thursday he was getting a little slow; Saturday he was slowing down on eating and by Sunday he was just lying around and had to be held to eat.

This morning I noticed he is starting to get a white tint to his right eye. It looks like a cloud moving up his eye. The eye is about 1/4 white on the bottom part of his eye. We acquired this lamb on May 4th along with the twin I talked to you about.

On May 13th we acquired another lamb that was also a multiple birth but I am not sure if it was a twin or triplet. I just know the ewe did not have enough milk and this lamb was “pulled.”

On “Day One” he was doing great for a newborn—he was eating a couple ounces of CL ewe replacer colostrum several times that day and on Day Two moved to eating six ounces of Hubbard lamb milk four times a day.

On the 15th we moved the lamb to the barn with the rest of the lambs and he started eating about 10 ounces three times per day and was running and playing with the rest. On the 17th he was getting wobbly when trying to stand but still was eating well, then last night did not have much of an appetite and this morning is have trouble standing and will only eat about two ounces.

I may be mistaken but it seems like these two lambs are following the same route. I was doing research on the internet and was wondering what the chances are that this could be white muscle disease?

As a kid I helped my family raise Southdown sheep and we very rarely had a sick lamb and if we did it came from an older ewe that was low on milk. All our bottle lambs were normally grafted onto a couple Alpine/Nubian cross dairy goats that we raised that would feed anything. I don’t think it is the milk replacer I am using because we do have two other lambs that have done well here since Day One and have not had any problems. We also have two Boer goats that I am taking care of that are on the same milk and doing great.

Kristyl Blowers
North Dakota

Glad to hear your lame lamb is better. As for the white spot on the eye, I would suspect that the lamb has one eye with entropion (rolled-in lower eyelid).

This would cause the eye to turn white along with increase in tears and very wet below the eye.

There are many ways to correct entropion. I would try injecting air, or penicillin into the lower lid to force the lid out, away from the eye.

I would also use antibiotic ointment in the eye twice daily for one week.

As for your off-feed, weak cases you need to correct the amount of milk fed, I think.

Maybe one of your local sheep producers could give you advice. I hope your 3-year-old child is not holding or carrying the lamb too much; this is hard on young lambs.

I don’t think you are dealing with white muscle; it usually starts with hind leg lameness in both legs.

I would have your veterinarian autopsy any losses.

Near-Amputated Tongue

Tongue cut 1

Tongue cut 2

My sheep presented me with this bruised and swollen tongue yesterday.

Initially, we thought it was “blue-tongue” but after researching that disease, I realized that this was her only symptom.

Upon further examination, I found that she had a nylon string wrapped around her tongue acting like a tourniquet. This has resulted in what appears to be a near amputation.

I was able to cut the string and have examined the area thoroughly to make sure it was only wrapped around her tongue once. I have treated with penicillin today (SQ).

She is drinking but not grazing. Obviously the area is severely swollen. Can this heal? I know to watch for infection/necrosis. Could she survive if it were amputated? Suggestions?

Darlene Pigman, RN
EMT-P, Florida

My advice would be to not amputate the end of the ewe’s tongue. That area of string damage will granulate in.

It will take time, so you will need to drench her with a gruel made of ground grain and soy, two to three times a day.

If the tongue would turn cold and black on the affected tip then you might have to amputate. As long as the tip is pink colored it will heal.

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