Calcium deficiency is often mistaken for pneumonia
Calcium deficiency and toxic mastitis are top of the vets hit-list this month. Jessica Buss reports
PRE-LAMBING upland ewes that have moved to lush pasture and those that have not been offered mineralised feed risk hypocalcaemia.
Producers could misdiagnose this deficiency disease as pneumonia, warns Midlothian vet Phil Scott. When in doubt, and there are more than two animals affected, he advises treating for calcium deficiency.
"Treatment with subcutaneous calcium injections usually works, but if cases are severe or when no improvement is seen within two hours, intravenous calcium is needed," says Dr Scott.
He advises warming the calcium borogluconate and injecting 40ml of the 40% solution subcutaneously in four sites for a quicker effect. Then animals should get up within about half an hour, he says.
Risks of pre-lambing calcium deficiency are increased for upland ewes that have not been supplemented adequately.
SHEEP: WATCH FOR
• Inadequate feeding of pregnant ewes.
• Watery mouth in lambs.