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Author Topic: Elderly sheep possible vitamin deficiency?  (Read 530 times)


  • Joined Feb 2017
Elderly sheep possible vitamin deficiency?
« on: January 07, 2020, 09:06:12 am »
I have a elderly ewe that has not lambed for 3 years.
She is currently inside with the rest of her flock as the ground outside was too wet and muddy with no grass so we thought best to feed them inside.
For about 2 days she hasnt been going straight to the feed then yesterday i noticed her face twitching abit. She does eat abit but not as much as normal. Her face or ears havn't drooped any.
We gave her pen and strep last night, havn't seen her twitch today.
I was wondering if is was listeriosis or a vitamin deficiency.
Is it safe to give her the twin lamb drench? As that contains vitamin b and selenium that ive read could be the deficiency.
If it was listeriosis would her face of drooped now and be more lethargic seen as though shes been quiet for atleast 3days now.
Im going to get a lick bucket for her too.

Please can anyone help.
Thank you.


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Elderly sheep possible vitamin deficiency?
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2020, 09:38:30 am »
Listeria is normally caused by feeding mouldy silage.

Vitamin B1 deficiency would cause nervous symptoms- stargazing, fitting etc but a twin lamb drench would not contain enough vit b1 to correct this.

Best bet really is ring the vet to come and see her.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2020, 10:05:30 am by twizzel »


  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Elderly sheep possible vitamin deficiency?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2020, 09:47:42 am »
Vet , could be anything ?


  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Elderly sheep possible vitamin deficiency?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2020, 09:48:05 am »

Have you checked her teeth? Taken her temp? Were they dry when you brought them in?

Any concerns then get the vet or take her to the vet.

Please don't give antibiotics if you don't know what you are treating.


  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Elderly sheep possible vitamin deficiency?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2020, 10:39:41 am »
I've had several cases of Listeria over 30 years. It is a soil born organism - hence its presence in haylage that has soil contamination, but can be contracted from the soil alone as in the muddy conditions so prevalent at the moment. In sheep you need a larger than usual dose of antibiotic to cure it and it needs to be done as soon as possible. I would therefore give another (large) dose of pen strep today, although tetracycline is better if you have it. Even if it is a long acting antibiotic, you need to give it daily to keep the level up.
By the way - I understand Harmony's reticence in giving antibiotics for everything whether diagnosed or not, because of the real danger now of antibiotic resistance. However this animal is presumably not going into the food chain, or in fact going anywhere else, and if she in fact has listeria then to have delayed giving her antibiotics last night would have probably meant it was too late as it develops very fast in sheep if untreated.

As for the possibility of a mineral deficiency - I would get a good general purpose sheep vitamin/mineral drench for her anyway. It won't do her any harm and is always a useful thing to have in for when any of the others look off colour.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2020, 10:43:04 am by landroverroy »
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Elderly sheep possible vitamin deficiency?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2020, 10:48:23 am »
In general, the treatment for anything of this ilk is indeed antibiotics and VitB.  Covers the likeliest conditions - CCN, listeriosis, and something else I can’t recall at the mo. 

I always used to keep Combivit to hand but we can’t get it any more.  Vits by mouth simply aren’t as effective when the sheep is in crisis.  Drenches are fine for routine top-ups.

I don’t think you would harm her with a drench of TLD remedy, but she needs more than is in there really.  Can you talk to the vet and pick up either a vitamin B jag (best) or, if they will dispense it for you, a small quantity of vitamin drench?
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Elderly sheep possible vitamin deficiency?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2020, 12:45:42 pm »
To me her symptoms do not say listeria or listeriosis.  This comes on fast and causes more obvious symptoms such as circling/head pressing/blindness.

It could be a tooth problem.  I would see the vet before treating in this case.


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Elderly sheep possible vitamin deficiency?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2020, 03:21:27 pm »
If this is a sudden change from field to inside, where she probably hasn't got as much space and maybe bullied at the feed trough, I would have some kind of set up to feed her separately. Also check her teeth, if she is seriously gappy she would need a different feed maybe?

She may just simply be stressed? Low in calcium can also cause twitching.


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