Sheep Medical Question
Started by faithmead
Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
Tuesday 17 November 2009 at 17:43
I just wonder if anyone has ever heard of a sheep suffering from a Stroke / TIA please?
Tuesday 17 November 2009 at 18:25
A few years ago we had a shearling ram which we had paid 600 for the previous year as a ram lamb. One day I went down and found him lying on his side and unable to get up. It seemed as if he had lost the use of his legs on one side and I also detected that he had gone blind in one eye. We got him inside and called the vet. The vet suggested he had brain damage through fighting with the other shearling ram he was in with but they didn’t usually fight and there was no sign of blood or scrapes on ether of them so we didn’t really believe this was a likely cause.
I can’t remember now what treatment the vet gave but I expect it was some kind of anti inflammatory. With him in a pen and propped up against some straw bales he was able to eat and drink, although you needed to hold the bucket for him to get at the water. After a couple of days it seemed as if he was getting some movement back in his legs on the affected side and I got him to his feet and he was able to walk a little distance as long as I kept alongside him to stop him falling over. Over the next few days he made some progress until he could walk a little way unaided then he suddenly lost all the movement he had gained and was then unable to purse his mouth to drink, We surmised he had had another stroke and was unlikely to ever fully recover and especially as he now couldn’t drink we decided to call it a day.0
Tuesday 17 November 2009 at 20:20
Many thanks for your reply Jacobus.
My reason for asking is that my White Ryland Ram suddenly appeared to be holding his head on one side about a week ago. I didn’t pay much attention to start with and then realised he was staying like it. I caught him up and checked in and around his ears suspecting he had an ear infection, but all was perfectly clean and normal and cool. Upon further inspection I realised he couldn’t see out of his left eye (the way his head was tipping). Apart from this and the fact he was stumbling very slightly when moving any faster than a walk, he appears perfectly normal. He seems to be able to graze without a problem and is still sniffing around his ewes.
Initially I suspected some sort of head trauma as the day before the problem started, we’d caught up the group of ewes and their ram in the adjoining field to do all their feet and worm drench etc, and there was some serious bashing of heads either side of the gate. Having said that, the Lleyn ram who weighs considerably more than the Ryeland, suffered a few minor cuts to the head, but the Ryeland didn’t appear to have any marks at all.
I’ve left him out thinking that this may possibly be a temporary concussion type trauma to the temple, but today (as he’s still the same) it suddenly occured to me that maybe the symptoms were of a Stroke type. Going on your description above and the fact your ram also went blind in one eye – I wonder if this is the problem.
If there is no change by the weekend, we’ll catch him up and bring him back to the barn where we can shut him up and get a vet to take a look at him. I’ve left him out as he does seem to ‘normal’ apart from the symptoms described…. What do you think?
Wednesday 18 November 2009 at 09:12
It sounds as if a stroke of some kind may be a possibility although you can’t rule out other causes such as Gid or Listeria. Gid is a cyst which can only be treated surgically but Listeria, if caught early, may respond to the right antibiotic.
If it is a stroke then there’s really nothing you can do to make much difference. Strokes can have two basic causes, the restriction of blood supply to a certain area of the brain caused by a blood clot or damage to brain cells from blood leaking from a burst blood vessel. The only means of diagnosis as to which is the cause is a brain scan. If the cause is established there are treatments available (at least for humans) but the two different diagnoses give rise to treatments which, if the diagnosis is wrong, will make the condition worse. For a blood clot you need to dissolve the clot and reduce the possibility of future clotting. For an escape of blood the treatment would be to monitor the condition and depending on the exact cause may involve surgery.
Unless you have access to a CT scanner and a bottomless pocket, in practical terms there is not really much you can do except keep an eye on him and hope for the best.
Wednesday 18 November 2009 at 21:22
Thanks very much for the feedback, its very much appreciated. Will post an update here when I know more, once the vet has seen him.
Monday 23 November 2009 at 19:02
I have a ewe that suffered what I believe to be a stroke 3 years ago, I got a phone call to say that there was a dead sheep in my field and when I got there she was lying on her side soaking wet and looked as if she had been down over night. I brought her home and noticed that she had one ear drooping down along with the eyelid on the same side, she also had tremors affecting her head, she could drink and seemed very thirsty. I nursed her and she recovered over the next 2 weeks then gave birth to a big ram lamb which she reared as usual, she has now fully recovered and has no signs so whether it was a condition of late pregnancy or a proper stoke I don’t know. I did ask the vet but he was of the opinion that she would either recover or die, very helpful.
Monday 23 November 2009 at 20:18
Many thanks leafieldzs – that’s encouraging and your case sounds much more traumatic than mine. Strangely enough today I noticed that the left eye lid (the one he appears to have lost the sight of) seems to be very slightly swollen!! This is the first time I’ve noticed an actual clinical sign. He appears very bright, can graze and drink as normal……and his head doesn’t appear to be quite to tilted. I’m gonna go catch him up tomorrow and bring him back to the barn and then get the vet to have a look. Will keep you posted.
Many thanks again for the feedback – its very helpful and supportive.
Monday 30 November 2009 at 19:52
Well…….diagnosed as a Gid Cyst after all………………..but ANOTHER QUESTION……..can the tapeworms be carried by Foxes???
Friday 4 December 2009 at 19:16
The tapeworm responsible for ‘gid’ or ‘sturdy’ in sheep is called Taenia multiceps. Its lifecycle is completed in dogs and wild canids (including foxes) – these animals become infected by eating sheep offal that contains the tapeworm cysts. The dog and the fox pass the eggs in the faeces, and if sheep then graze the contaminated pasture or eat contaminated feed they will ingest the eggs. Sheep are an intermediate host in the life cycle of this tapeworm. When the sheep ingests the eggs, they will hatch in the intestine and travel in the bloodstream to the brain or spinal cord, where the cysts develop. The life-cycle cannot complete until a dog or fox eats the cysts.
Mainly dogs are responsible, but if foxes pick at sheep carcasses that are left out in the fields, then yes, they can become infected, allowing the lifecycle of the tapeworm to complete, and excrete eggs – which can re-infect sheep.
Make sure you deworm farm dogs and dont feed them offal. Dont leave dead sheep around for foxes to eat either.
Hope this helps a bit.
Saturday 5 December 2009 at 17:09
Many thanks Elizabeth – yes helps a lot. Does this mean that some/all of the rest of the flock are likely to be infected too [:(] ?
Monday 7 December 2009 at 11:15
They could potentially be, that is if they have eaten some contaminated feed. I think it would be quite rare though for lots of sheep to graze the same bit of grass that had the fox or dog faeces on it though, so try not to worry. The signs in the sheep do take some time to develop, as they are caused by the mature cyst-like coenurus, which can take a few months to develop to its full size (about 5 cm). This is why you get the behaviour changes – because the cyst presses on the nervous tissue.
Monday 7 December 2009 at 11:26
Thanks. On a rough guess…when do you think he is likely to have actually picked up the contaminated grass? I’m just trying to work out exactly where he would have been grazing at the time. [:^)
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