5 month old lamby ram very ill ??

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3 years 6 months ago #543982 by Claymon1121
One of our 5 month old twin lambs became very ill on Sunday, he’s not keeping food (grass) down, is very unsteady on his feet if he gets up at all and seems to be blind. We suspect poisoning and are awaiting a call out from the local ag vet tomorrow but I just thought I’d ask about other people experiences. I have been giving him a mixture of water/glucose/electrolytes in a syringe every few hours which he guzzles and his demeanour seems to have brightened slightly. To start with he was just lying on his side looking like he was about to die. So there is some slight improvement. I’ve even given him some syringes of beer after reading about the benefits to the digestive systems and today some activated charcoal.

On the property but not in the lambs paddock I’ve now noticed Foxglove and we’ve also been cutting down Cypress trees (or similar) so there is a couple big piles of branches in different paddocks (not there’s). The lambs sometimes go for walks with me around the property so it is possible that they could’ve had a bite at something around the place but are not left to graze as they destroy everything around the house.

Open to any insight if possible pretty please?? These lambs are pets and are usually full of beans running along side our dogs so it’s very sad to see him in this state. The other twin seems perfectly fine btw.

Natasha ♥️♥️

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3 years 6 months ago #543983 by LongRidge
My first guess would be thiamine deficiency, aka polioencephalomalacia, which requires injections of thiamine, urgently and often more than once. If the eye or eyes are weeping then he might have an eye infection which needs the right sort of antibiotic.
I firmly believe that in every case of a sick animal treat for all of the obvious problems, because I have had animals that were damaged by something but then got a secondary infection. These are not typical symptoms of worms, but I would treat for worms just in case, and the minerals in the drench are likely to help. The symptoms are not typical of an infection either, but I would give antibiotics "just in case", and to slow down a secondary infection. Because of these symptoms I would also get some thiamine to try, along with the worm drench and antibiotics, and also to give to the next lamb that has similar symptoms.
By the way, never (as in NEVER) keep a male as a pet. Always (as in ALWAYS) castrate the males.
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3 years 6 months ago #543984 by Ronney
Hi and welcome to the forum :)

My experience with Thiamine deficiency is that the lamb (particularly one as old as yours) will be in reasonable condition and you won't notice too much wrong with it until it starts high stepping and "star gazing" which, as the name implies, has them pointing their noses to the sky, aimless wandering and staggering. This is brought about by bacteria breaking down thiamine before it can be absorbed - and thiamine is essential. By that stage it if often too late to correct the blindness but IV or IM doses of thiamine (Vit.B1) will stop it going any further. Do this under the supervision of a vet.

Which leads me to the next point - while I too think you may be looking at Thiamine deficiency, we can't see your lamb so get him to the vet asap. As an aside, if it turns out he will be blind, blind animals do very well in a safe environment i.e. no drains, swamps, rivers etc.

Cheers,
Ronnie
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3 years 6 months ago #543985 by Ronney
LR, never say never - because there is always the exception.

Below are a couple of photos of my granddaughter with a pet sheep. His name is Sooky. He also happens to be a ram. He wasn't hand reared, brought up on his mother and never made it to sausages and now never will. Believe me, I would not put her at risk and he thought she was the best thing ever because she would spend ages scratching his ears and chin to the point where he would go to sleep and fall over. Not everything comes out of the same mould.

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3 years 6 months ago #543986 by LongRidge
Hi Ronney, yes, very often it can be got away with, but it is heartbreaking having to get rid of a tame pet that becomes rogue, which is as much a part of never doing it as is the risk of the animal becoming rogue. Tame rams and bulls tend to want to play ram or sheep games with their "friends", the humans, and that involves bunting and ramming. We had a tame, ewe-reared ram that loved a scratch and behaved perfectly with me, but he attacked women when any came into his paddock, by running up from behind and knocking out her legs :-(.

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3 years 6 months ago #543987 by Mudlerk
Ronney, pet rams attacking their people is not about bad temperament..It is simply about who's in charge of the flock. Sheep have no rules against 'corporal discipline', like we do.

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3 years 6 months ago #543996 by Blueberry
Hi Claymon
have your lambs been vaccinated, e.g. 5 in one?

[;)] Blueberry
treading lightly on mother earth

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3 years 6 months ago #544000 by Claymon1121
Hiya

Is anyone seeing my replies to your replies?? When I press submit nothing seems to happen, not sure what I;m doing wrong. Ggrhh

Thanks!
Natasha

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3 years 6 months ago #544001 by Mudlerk
Natasha, that happens to me a lot. When it does, I copy what I am trying to submit and take it further down the thread, where pressing a new 'quick reply' and pasting it in there usually gets it done. [Must be a better way though?] Good luck!

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3 years 6 months ago #544004 by LongRidge
Blueberry, that is a good question but not relevant in this case because the Clostridial bugs kill very, very quickly. With sheep, Pulpy Kidney is the main killer and then only in suckling lambs. I have had one case of Malignant Oedema in a nine month old lamb that had not been vaxed, which killed itself by running too far and too fast thus making the muscles anaerobic. Tetanus is possible if an animal spikes itself deeply with a dirty stake. Black Disease is possible in NZ but is usually associated with liver fluke. Black Leg is also present in NZ, which apparently strikes at any age from the bugs (Cl. chauvoei) that were picked up at birth.

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