NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Limping sheep? Update  (Read 4321 times)

Blackbird

  • Joined Jul 2012
Limping sheep? Update
« on: May 06, 2013, 02:49:32 pm »
Hello all. One of my GFD wethers has been lame since Friday night (nearside hind). I've checked him over carefully and can feel no break in the leg, no scald or rot in the foot and no visible injury/thorns etc. The leg feels hot just above the foot though which makes me think it's a strain or spain. There's been no improvement since Friday. He can walk on it but prefers to lie down or stand with the foot raised off the ground. He's grazing fine, not grinding his teeth and is otherwise his usual self. If no improvement very soon I will speak to the vet. Any thoughts about how to reduce inflammation/pain for him meantime? Many thanks.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 11:44:24 am by Blackbird »
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Maggie

  • Joined Jul 2011
  • Umberleigh, Devon
Re: Limping sheep?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2013, 03:42:49 pm »
Two of my Wiltshire Horns same thing - several days of limping but  feet were well trimmed and no sign of infection so it was either sprain or strain.  Phoned my vet and he gave me 2ml of metacam to inject under skin,  and it worked wonders on both occasions.  Result within hours.  I picked it up from the vets so saved a call out fee etc.  Worth asking.

Blackbird

  • Joined Jul 2012
Re: Limping sheep?
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2013, 12:24:48 pm »
Thanks Maggie - just a quick update on limping Basil. The vet finally came back to me yesterday morning and gave me an anti-inflammatory and an antibiotic (which was my first go at intramuscular injection - Yikes!). As soon as I approached him with the needles, his limp seemed to improve!  ::) He is very much better this morning - I'm very pleased, not least because he is being shorn tomorrow and I was a bit concerned about him being turned over and wrestled with a bad leg.
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Blackbird

  • Joined Jul 2012
Re: Limping sheep? Update
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2013, 11:55:22 am »
Well, he did seem to improve after the anti-inflammatory/antibiotic shot, but despite the care taken by the Singing Shearer, who was gentle with him when he was shorn on Friday, he's back to square one with the limping. I've had another close look at his leg now the wool is off, but I still can't see anything visibly wrong with leg or foot. If I squeeze the leg gently, he flinches when I get to the inside of the hock (where the inner elbow is on a human), so I'm still thinking it must be a sprain. He grazes with the foot raised, but can put weight on it if I lift the other back leg.

My question really is how long should a sprain last? (I know when I sprained my ankle I limped for over a month). He's been limping for ten days. Should I just be patient, or ask the vet for more anti-inflammatories or suspect something else? He's grazing fine, seems happy enough - tries to pogo about with the others and no teeth grinding. Any thoughts gratefully received.
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steve_pr

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • Carmarthenshire/Pembrokeshire Borders
Re: Limping sheep? Update
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2013, 06:53:21 pm »
It seems to us that limping can be an indicator of things other than a bad leg. Our GFDs can develop a limp (sometimes I think they get together overnight to take it in turns the next day!) that just disappears as soon as you try to catch them. Other times it is the sign of something else (we turned over a limping ewe to find really bad mastitis that we wouldn't have noticed without the limp - you can't go round turning them over every day!).


Bottom line (at least from the very limited experience of this newbie shepherd) is that a limp is the sheep's way of telling you something is up - then it's down to you to find out what and whilst the leg is a good place to start, don't stop there!

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Limping sheep? Update
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2013, 09:16:30 pm »
If the leg still feels hot it would indicate that he still has an inflammation in there somewhere. Another injection of anti-inflammatory stuff wouldn't do any harm and maybe improve it? If you can pick up the dose in a syringe already it will not be too expensive? That's what I would do.
How old is he?

Dogwalker

  • Joined Nov 2011
Re: Limping sheep? Update
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2013, 09:36:36 pm »
I presume you've looked really thoroughly for a thorn in the pad.
The cm ram was limping a few weeks ago and I found a 1/4'' thorn stuck straight in his pad, only a tiny bit sticking out and with black feet really difficult to see,luckily I caught it before it caused an abcess.

Blackbird

  • Joined Jul 2012
Re: Limping sheep? Update
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2013, 10:55:58 am »
Thanks all - I'm assuming it's something muscular as he was improving until the shearing, which suggests a pull or strain to me. Anke, he's a year old - I got the first dose of anti-inflammatory already in the syringe from the vet, so will do the same again. Dogwalker, I'll have another look at his foot - I couldn't see anything obvious, but I intend to trim the foot anyway (I let it be when I did the other sheep, so as not to pull him about more than necessary) and will check again for thorns. Interesting that a limp can be a sign of something unconnected with the leg - I'll check his underside when I trim the foot.

On an unrelated note, the sheep are looking cold and cross since being shorn - they've been running into the shelter in the heavy rain and hail showers we've been having, and my skinny old ewe was actually shivering this morning. Put a coat on her and gave her a few oats and she toddled off to the shelter. Let's hope for a bit of warmth soon!  :cold:
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steve_pr

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • Carmarthenshire/Pembrokeshire Borders
Re: Limping sheep? Update
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2013, 04:05:59 pm »
Wow, you are shearing early are you not? In this weather I'm not surprised they are feeling cold. I was planning on leaving ours for at least another couple of weeks (and even longer for the ones we are selling - I'm guessing people want to see a woolly Greyface!) For the first few weeks after shearing they don't quite have the same appeal!


Blackbird

  • Joined Jul 2012
Re: Limping sheep? Update
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2013, 01:11:49 pm »
Steve, we went early because we wanted the Singer Shearer and also didn't want to apply flystrike prevention now and have to wait another 6-12 weeks before they could be shorn. I figured we have the shelter and an assortment of old dog coats/miniature pony rugs to keep them warm if necessary (we have only 7!)

You're right the GFDs don't look half so cute after shearing!

Before:



After:


Still, got the most beautiful fleece off my Heb/Longwool cross in the second picture!  :knit:
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