Author Topic: Blind sheep- what can be the cause? How soon will they get better?  (Read 8359 times)

JMB

  • Joined Apr 2011
Hello.
I've read a few threads already about blindness in sheep , but I'm not sure of the cause.
One of my hebs is completely blind and 2 others are blind in one eye.
I found them yesterday morning, managed to ring the vet before it shut at 12 - and they diagnosed it over the phone and prescribed some Orbenin.
We treated yesterday- no real sign of improvement yet.
I just wondered how long it would take to get better?
Do I keep re-treating with Orbenin, or if it's no better soon do I get the vet out?
And how can I prevent it?
We've never had it before - no new sheep have come in (only the lambs born). I've read about various causes- dust (but they weren't housed), or flies, but I'm not convinced of that, or thistles and nettles- which we have, but have had patches for years and nothing has occured.
It's so awful to see the blind one totally disorientated.
Also- should I separate them from the others? They all have lambs with them.
Thank you very much.
Joanne xxxx
 
 
 

Crofterloon

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • Mintlaw
Re: Blind sheep- what can be the cause? How soon will they get better?
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2012, 04:09:37 pm »
I seem to remember that oil seed rape could cause blindness, might be wrong.

jaykay

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: Blind sheep- what can be the cause? How soon will they get better?
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2012, 04:33:15 pm »
There's a contagious thing that can cause this. Have they had contact with other sheep recently or have you?

Keep treating with the eye ointment. I would pen them, with their lambs, into a smaller space to help with the disorientation and also to see if you can avoid it spreading to the others, if it is contagious,

JMB

  • Joined Apr 2011
Re: Blind sheep- what can be the cause? How soon will they get better?
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2012, 04:47:51 pm »
It's a mystery.
They've not been anywhere near other sheep, neither have we. Or oil seed rape.
Thanks for your replies though. Fingers crossed the ointment works.
Joanne xxx

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
Re: Blind sheep- what can be the cause? How soon will they get better?
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2012, 04:55:59 pm »
round here the word is that its spread by flies and yes its highly contagious but self limiting. It will prefer immunity in virtually all the ewes affected but some may end up carriers with the ocasional sporadic outbreak. I treat ewes with sore eyes with topical cream and if necessary an antibiotic. Generally find it breaks out in humid conditions; Once the initial inflammation of the cornea has sorted itself out your ewes should go back to running around as before. fortunately I've never had a ewe get it in both eyes at the same time.

JMB

  • Joined Apr 2011
Re: Blind sheep- what can be the cause? How soon will they get better?
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2012, 05:30:31 pm »
Thanks Kanisha.
I was holding off on the crovect a bit longer because we're due to have them sheared (there's a backlog so we're a bit late getting the man is to do them), but maybe I should crovect them now rather than wait if the flies may be a problem?
Thanks again,
Joanne x

JMB

  • Joined Apr 2011
Re: Blind sheep- what can be the cause? How soon will they get better?
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2012, 05:40:18 pm »
Oh I forgot- I have Depocillin antibiotic (not used but got as a back up during lambing as recommended)- would that be Ok to give them or do I need something else?
Thanks, Joanne xxx

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
Re: Blind sheep- what can be the cause? How soon will they get better?
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2012, 05:53:17 pm »
I would say no point now re crovect  its its too late for those affected and those unaffected are likely to only have it mildly or not at all. as for A/B I tend to use it only as a cover if the sheep concerned looks to be having a real problem clearing it up. generally by day three the cloudiness of the cornea has started to clear and should give your sheep some vision. I assume those sheep that have a problem clearing it may have some immune deficiency hence rational for A/Bs but never really checked which is likely to be the most efficient.

woollyval

  • Joined Feb 2008
  • Near Bodmin, Cornwall
    • Val Grainger
Re: Blind sheep- what can be the cause? How soon will they get better?
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2012, 06:07:15 pm »
I would say no point now re crovect  its its too late for those affected and those unaffected are likely to only have it mildly or not at all. as for A/B I tend to use it only as a cover if the sheep concerned looks to be having a real problem clearing it up. generally by day three the cloudiness of the cornea has started to clear and should give your sheep some vision. I assume those sheep that have a problem clearing it may have some immune deficiency hence rational for A/Bs but never really checked which is likely to be the most efficient.
Noooooo please use your crovect as it is no good for preventing flies being around but will stop your sheep getting fly strike!!! Use it asap if your sheep have not been treated as with all the wet then warm weather its ideal flystrike conditions!!!
Re eyes....always treat both eyes as its very unusual for them to get this in one eye...some are affected worse than others but all will be affected to some extent! A shot of long acting antibiotic is very helpful.
There do not need to be sheep near yours as mine got it last year and they were miles from any other sheep at the time, however nearly everyone in the area with sheep was affected and if not treated it can cause ulcers and permenant blindness, saying that one local did not treat his sheep and seems to have had a lucky escape!
www.smallholdinginsomerset.blogspot.com
www.valgrainger.co.uk

Overall winner of the Devon Environmental Business Awards 2009

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
Re: Blind sheep- what can be the cause? How soon will they get better?
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2012, 06:48:59 pm »
I'm not treating any of my sheep this year with anything for flystrike. I will take the risk vis a vis any likelihood of protection from biting flies and schmallenberg. That said so far I haven't had a case of flystrike possible the position on the hill has something to do with that.  I never give systemic antibiotics without a rational and a justifiable need.

JMB

  • Joined Apr 2011
Re: Blind sheep- what can be the cause? How soon will they get better?
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2012, 07:17:15 pm »
Thanks very much for your replies.
I think I'll check and see how they are tomorrow and if the cream isn't doing much I'll see about the antibiotic.
I haven't put crovect on because the man coming to shear them said not to (I think this is because crovect could cause damage to his hands if he then handled them sheared them? But I wasn't talking about the same day- I assume it would be Ok after a certain period of time?).
As we still have no shearing date I'd like to go ahead, but I don't want this poor man coming to any harm
Thank you,
Joanne
 

woollyval

  • Joined Feb 2008
  • Near Bodmin, Cornwall
    • Val Grainger
Re: Blind sheep- what can be the cause? How soon will they get better?
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2012, 07:19:26 pm »
Well you have been lucky! being open and windy lessens likelihood of strike, I never use pour on such as Clik or Crovect etc before shearing ( so JMB please wait) but always after and do the lambs at the same time. I also never use antibiotic without reason.....and impending ulcers on eyes due to lack of response in some sheep to eye ointment would be a very good reason! We follow organic principles that allow treatments when found to be needed, never 'just in case'!
 
 We have damp ground and lots of flies......so do many other people and I can guarentee if you ever get strike you will think again! In the days before pour on prevention products were available and dipping the only real prevention, much environmental damage was done and many sheep suffered horribly. I for one am glad I can confer some protection upon my sheep, I am also glad that ABs are available as if I had not been able to use a long acting AB on one of my sheep last winter he would have gone blind and been destroyed
www.smallholdinginsomerset.blogspot.com
www.valgrainger.co.uk

Overall winner of the Devon Environmental Business Awards 2009

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
Re: Blind sheep- what can be the cause? How soon will they get better?
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2012, 08:20:22 pm »
PINKEYE ( ovine keratoconjunctivitis ) is highly contagious and distressing to sheep and sheep keeper. If the eye is cloudy then ointment every day helps, but in  a week or two weather treated or not it normally clears. If how ever it is in both eyes or a small white abcess forms then an injection in the lower eyelid is needed , even after an abcess most eyes recover to normal . It may be that some sheep will act as carriers thus an outbreak can break out at any time

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Blind sheep- what can be the cause? How soon will they get better?
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2012, 12:26:41 am »
JMB - Infectious conjunctivitis appears some years and will run through your flock, then it may not appear again for several years.  There is little point in segregating the affected sheep other than to make catching them to treat them easier, and to ensure they can find their water easily.  Once everyone who is going to get it has done so, the flock will have a degree of immunity.  The condition can be vaccinated against, but vaccinated animals act as permanent carriers, so if they then join with unvaccinated sheep, they will go down with the condition.
 
The usual way to treat conjunctivitis is to apply Orbenin once or twice a day for a few days (pull out the bottom eyelid when applying it so the whole eye is treated), by which time the blindness is usually improving.  If it doesn't improve, or becomes worse and the eye gets a thick covering over it, then give the appropriate antibiotic - I use Terramycin LA given intramuscularly and this has always been effective for me.  I have never used the injection into the eyelid out of pure squeamishness  ;D  but I believe it is as effective as an IM injection.
Conjunctivitis might be spread by flies, but please before you start spraying Crovect on unshorn fleece, check that this is the case.  Can you see flies around your sheep's heads?  You may need to clean up their eyes anyway (bathe with salty water) as they tend to weep with conjunctivitis.
 
The reasons for not using a product such as Crovect on unshorn fleece, for three months prior to shearing, include the danger to anyone, including the shearer, who has to handle thousands of animals in the course of his job.  The chemicals (neurotoxins) in Crovect, Clik and so on, can cause serious illness in humans exposed to them, and in someone who is sensitised, the illness can be severe.  As your shearer has asked you not to spray before he comes to shear, it could mean that he is already sensitised.
Another reason would be to protect those handling the fleece, such as Wool Board sorters and craft workers, or judges at shows handling treated animals. 
Thirdly, when fleece is scoured, the waste water has to be disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner and must be free of all dip and spray residue, as the water will be returned to a waterway.  Removal of the chemical residues is expensive. Remember that these chemicals are toxic to insects so must not be released into the environment where they can do untold damage - as did DDT in the past.
 
There is no point getting into a blind panic about flystrike.  Make sure your sheep are dagged and clean at all times - the flies are attracted to dung, although they can go for clean animals too.
You can treat your lambs with Crovect from the end of May, or earlier if there are signs of the greenbottles, repeating every 6 weeks. 
Observe your adult sheep very carefully at least twice a day for signs of being bothered by flies, or struck.  If you do get a problem, then treat that sheep, but mark it so your shearer knows it has been treated, then destroy the fleece afterwards, through the carcase disposal service.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 12:39:37 am by Fleecewife »
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JMB

  • Joined Apr 2011
Re: Blind sheep- what can be the cause? How soon will they get better?
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2012, 12:43:10 pm »
Thanks again. I picked some antibiotic up today-Alamycin LA, so we'll see how we get on.
Sheep don't sem much better with the eye cream but I need to be a bit more patient.
Not sure which of us is most distressed.
Joanne xxxxxx

 

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