Another Hasty Note

So much going on but no time. I will update this weekend.

The issue with Pixie, my downed ewe, grows more mysterious. The veterinary assistant told me that her fecal test was almost clear, that she did not need worming.

If Pixie doesn’t have toxemia, doesn’t have milk fever, doesn’t have anemia from a heavy worm load — why is she unable to walk? She is at a good weight. She looks great — except for the teeny-tiny, very small problem that she cannot move and will barely eat.

My online sheep group is stumped. A Maine vet contacted by a friend suggested that perhaps Pixie might have a selenium deficiency. Our soils are very low in selenium, but my ewes have constant access to a mineral supplement. Still, in the interests of doing everything, I bought a dose from my vet of BoSe, vitamin E and selenium. I gave her the shot last night sub-Q.

Poor girl. Pixie was already a nervous sheep and now every time I come near her I jab her with needles. I am giving her Vitamin B shots daily to stimulate her appetite. Yesterday morning I drenched her with lamb milk replacer to get some nutrition into her. Half an hour later she nibbled at some grain (the day before she had lain with her head stretched out in the feed dish, eyes dull, with no interest). Last night I drenched her with some fresh warm milk straight from the cow. Again, afterward, she ate a few bites of grain and even lipped tiredly at her hay. I know force-feeding milk to an adult has some risks in terms of upsetting her digestion, but I have been very concerned that Pixie is not taking in food or water.

Absolutely nothing about this health crisis is clear and I’m flying blind.

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4 Responses to Another Hasty Note

  1. Jay Ward says:

    Was the fecal done with a sugar float. Barber pole and other strongyles need a high specific gravity solution to push the eggs up to the slide. I used to take fecals to my vet but found the results were incorrectly negative due to using the companion animal solution which is a salt solution with a lower specific gravity. Barber pole may also shed intermittently so if the sample had fewer eggs in it that could also provide a lower result. At this point I’d still drench with cydectin. It’s one of the most effective on barber pole. if you’d like I can get a sugar float run on a fecal sample by the alpaca breeder who has her alpacas at my farm and does fecals all the time. Call me or text 524-0545 if you want to connect on getting the fecal run. Or email but I see email sporadically during the day at times and time is of the essence here. Best wishes. Jay Ward

    • adkmilkmaid says:

      Hi Jay! I will text you. I am frustrated. My sheep list was astonished that the vet couldn’t tell me what kind of strongyles I was dealing with. I’m guessing the test might have been the wrong one. I was told that to get any better information it would cost about $100 to send a sample to Cornell!

  2. Erika says:

    I hope Pixie gets better soon. How frustrating to have a sick animal and not be able to help.

  3. Missy says:

    Can sheep get the equivalent of “calving paralysis”? Could it be something like that? Hope she picks up soon. “Pixie” is a really cute name. 😀

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