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Author Topic: Mystery death of lamb :(  (Read 2764 times)

smee2012

  • Joined Sep 2012
Mystery death of lamb :(
« on: September 13, 2014, 06:08:46 pm »
I've just been down to poo pick the field and let the animals into the bottom paddock. I noticed there was one sheep missing and have just discovered it lying dead near the hedge. I go into the field every day to check on / pet the animals and could have sworn that all 10 sheep were present but must have miscounted. Even if I had miscounted, I'm sure I would have noticed a dead animal lying on the ground.
The pony was going a bit crazy last night, galloping around the field, and we could hear foxes yipping quite loudly (our bottom paddock backs onto a wood so this isn't unusual). The lamb is riddled with maggots by now, quite small ones, and its front legs have been nibbled at but there's no smell and the eye still looks quite fresh. What could have happened? I'm completely perplexed. Latest worm counts (for sheep and pony) all came back clear, they've been Heptavac P'd and all had clean bums.
Any ideas?
Voss Electric Fence

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: Mystery death of lamb :(
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2014, 07:26:18 pm »
Sorry for your loss , you must not think  that heptavac will totally stop all deaths from clostridial diseases or pneumonia's ,   their are many types of pneumonia and hep only covers a couple of the most common plus not all sheep have the same level of protection .     These things happen , last week was very cold at night and  warm during the day and I lost 2 lambs with pneumonia despite hep  , you can only do your best

smee2012

  • Joined Sep 2012
Re: Mystery death of lamb :(
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2014, 07:31:12 pm »
Would I not have noticed a lamb that was sick with something though? I go in there every day. They are all greeted by name and have a good head/bum scratch (depending on personal preference) and they then all follow me around whilst I poo pick. I know they are good at hiding being sick or injured but surely something like pneumonia would have shown in some way prior to dropping down dead? Or is it not easy to spot? I'm feeling really bad now. My sheep are more like family pets and I feel so awful at not noticing anything was wrong.

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: Mystery death of lamb :(
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2014, 07:50:20 pm »
 Sheep are prey animals and  are really good at  not looking sick until they have to , some times symptoms can be drawn out and sometimes its just  quick  overnight/ hours or sudden

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Mystery death of lamb :(
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2014, 08:05:33 pm »
Often the only sign of pasteurella is a dead animal. As said before vaccination only protects against the most common strains.

I don't think you could have done anything else, but I know it is still upsetting.  :'(

Old Shep

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Re: Mystery death of lamb :(
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2014, 08:49:54 pm »
This late summer has been bad for pneumonia for both people and animals apparently.


You say it is riddled with maggots, although small.  How long is the cycle of flies laying eggs then hatching into maggots??  Could it have actually died of fly strike?
Helen - (used to be just Shep).  Gordon Setters, Border Collies and chief lambing assistant to BigBennyShep.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Mystery death of lamb :(
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2014, 08:57:20 pm »
This late summer has been bad for pneumonia for both people and animals apparently.


You say it is riddled with maggots, although small.  How long is the cycle of flies laying eggs then hatching into maggots??  Could it have actually died of fly strike?

That's what I was about to suggest.  If the lamb itself looked fairly newly dead, then fly strike is the most likely I would have thought, and would explain why you hadn't noticed it dead a few days ago - it wasn't.
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smee2012

  • Joined Sep 2012
Re: Mystery death of lamb :(
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2014, 09:08:39 pm »
Apparently they can be laid and hatch within 8-20 hours!

smee2012

  • Joined Sep 2012
Re: Mystery death of lamb :(
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2014, 09:12:06 pm »
I don't think it was fly strike (although hard to tell now). All my sheep have clean bums (I check them fairly regularly) and they get petted every day and scratched so I'm sure I would have noticed a patch of necrotic flesh with maggots in. I suppose it depends where it is though. If she'd scratched herself on something on her underbelly then I wouldn't have noticed there. I just hope whatever it was, it was fairly sudden :(

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: Mystery death of lamb :(
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2014, 09:12:51 pm »
Depending on the temperature eggs can hatch in as little as 8 hrs  plus eggs will be laid on sheep that are sick but still alive

Blacksheep

  • Joined May 2008
Re: Mystery death of lamb :(
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2014, 08:29:07 am »
Very sorry to hear about your lamb Smee  :(
I would have thought that you would have noticed a change in behaviour beforehand if fly strike was the cause of death, would be very surprised if she would have died as soon as the eggs had hatched.  Also with pneumonia would also expect that you would have noticed her ill beforehand especially in a small flock,although can be very quick. We have found that Caines will do a quick check for us if asked of any carcases for disposal, they can tell you there are signs of  pneumonia etc.   Do you think there could have been an accident with your pony upset in the field during the night?

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Mystery death of lamb :(
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2014, 08:45:41 am »
or maybe foxes were out and the pony kicked the lamb by mistake (do they share the field?)?

ages ago our dogs were going crazy one night, which i also put down to foxes, then we found one sheep in the woods well and truly eaten - she was fully grown.

 :bouquet:

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Mystery death of lamb :(
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2014, 12:12:16 pm »
We found one of our ram lambs with flystrike last week.  Clean backside, perfect feet, but a patch as big as a fist on top of its pelvis.  Just noticed a damp looking patch on the fleece.  All about a day old.  As we clipped away the wool from the outside of the circle inwards, to nab any escapees, dozens of flies were landing to lay.  We poured Spot On onto the fleece and so many tiny maggots emerged it looked as though the whole thing was moving.  There must have been thousands!  They'd just started to go into the flesh and we cleaned up the lamb and put him in the shed with a companion overnight.  By morning the area had crusted over and all was OK.

The first sign of the less usual forms of pneumonia is generally death. They can cause a massive septicaemia which builds up slowly without outward symptoms then gets to tipping point Most often the best lambs, too.

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Mystery death of lamb :(
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2014, 01:50:22 pm »
and put him in the shed with a companion overnight.  By morning the area had crusted over and all was OK.

"The first sign of the less usual forms of pneumonia is generally death." - What a quote!

 
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