NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Sheep eye Injury  (Read 6140 times)

FrancesV

  • Joined Feb 2016
Sheep eye Injury
« on: February 19, 2016, 02:40:06 pm »
Hi,
My elderly Shetland sheep has been bashed or injured and has injured her eye. The vet said it is a waiting game ( as third eyelid is shut tight) to see whether eye shrivels or becomes infected. The eye is gone we think, in terms of functioning as an eye  :(
?
Does anyone have any tips, help with this? As vet says that if eye is infected he recommends having her put down, but she seems determined to live. Her condition is tarther thin as she has no teeth, but always looked like she was ok, until we had more of a awareness, due to eye injury. we are feeding her up as best we can and giving her extra nice shelter.

Many thanks to ewe all  :sheep:

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Hellybee

  • Joined Feb 2010
    • www.blaengwawrponies.co.uk
Re: Sheep eye Injury
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2016, 07:28:38 pm »
Can he not remove the eye? 


We hve a one eyed ewe here, she s one of the original ewes, getting on now and empty, has raised twins in the past.

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Sheep eye Injury
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2016, 08:13:00 pm »
I would keep the eye clean by washing it every day, gently with tepid water and cotton wool soaked, just to keep out infection (I usually do it a few times a day). Has it developed a film over it? Try not to use anything which would irritate it, don't use tea tree. I have had 2 ewes which had an eye injury, they did lose the eye, but where OK otherwise and went on to lamb and rear lambs for years. The main thing is to keep the eye clean and free from infection. What does your vet say?
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.

verdifish

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • banffshire
Re: Sheep eye Injury
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2016, 08:47:37 pm »
Washing anything with tepid water will not remove infection. It may soothe the irritation but definitely won't reduce infection.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Sheep eye Injury
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2016, 09:18:48 pm »
I'd normally sluice an infected wound several times a day with tepid salty water, but I'm not sure that's kind in the eye...
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

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Sheep eye Injury
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2016, 09:43:20 pm »
The question here really is -is this sheep in pain and what are her chances of recovery? Will she still be able to rear lambs? If not - why not give her a dignified end? I am afraid I am with the vet on this one...

verdifish

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • banffshire
Re: Sheep eye Injury
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2016, 10:41:08 pm »
For once id disagree with a vet. In this case as long as the eye is removed the ewe should make a full recovery. And on a smallholding should be fine as she wont be getting lost in the numbers one would find in a commercial setup.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Sheep eye Injury
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2016, 12:49:01 am »
We had a Shetland ewe, Tressa, the only show champ we've bred, who lost her eye when it got stuck on ice.  I know, total yuck.  Anyway, the eye was removed - by a crow.  Again yuck.  This was just when F&M had been declared, and we were buried under 8' snowdrifts, road closed, no power etc etc and to top it all, husband away.  I had no antiBs in the house (one of the reasons I now always carry two, even if they get wasted), so my neighbour brought up a syringe full and tossed it over the gate as we weren't allowed contact, so she had that at least.  I had a phone connection so phoned vet, who of course was unable to get through the snow, even if he had been allowed to visit.  They suggested covering the eye with a Vaseline dressing, then a pad, then a stretchy bandage, to prevent her bumping it and causing more pain.  I got her into a shelter with food water, hay etc and sat and cuddled her for most of the day.  She was grinding her teeth so she was clearly in pain, but she liked the comfort of me being there.  Eventually, husband returned, snow ploughs came, power went back on and we were able to fetch more supplies from vet, including pain killers.   Eventually the eye enucleated completely and the lids closed over.

The big danger is infection, as this can track back into the brain.  I think the early AntiBs and covering the eye helped there.  Tressa lived on for several years as a one eyed sheep.  Weirdly, she gave birth to a blind lamb the following year, so only one eye between the two of them.

Is your vet confusing you with someone who doesn't care about their sheep?  Let him/her know you don't want her in pain, you don't want the eye to become infected if there's some way of preventing that, and you want your sheep to survive.
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Buttermilk

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Sheep eye Injury
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2016, 08:13:00 am »
Exactly how old is she.  You say old and toothless, maybe the vet thinks that her time has come as she is already in poor condition and pain drops weight off young fit animals quickly.  Eyes are very painful.  There is a lot of difference between giving a young animal a life and prolonging an existence for an old one.

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: Sheep eye Injury
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2016, 08:29:28 am »
As your vet has commented its a waiting game. And this is probably the advice to follow. Putting her down may be premature and if only by reason that the eye is infected I would see that as also premature without exploring the alternatives and weighing up in this case what is right for your ewe. received the advice from one vet  couple of years ago to put down a sheep due to injury.  Second vets opinion was completely different. In the end we took it step by step and kept all options open. happy to say much loved sheep is still here and none the worse for wear. In hindsight  the original vets advice was at best premature and at worst downright wrong.
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Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Sheep eye Injury
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2016, 02:38:55 pm »
Is this one of those times when the quality of life over the quantity should be considered?

steve_pr

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • Carmarthenshire/Pembrokeshire Borders
Re: Sheep eye Injury
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2016, 03:46:53 pm »
As a previous post has said, it depends on how she is generally (apart from the eye).  As a smallholder we tend to spend more on vets bills than makes sense, a commercial farmer will just cull - but that makes sense for them.  We bought in a small flock of Greyface Dartmoors a couple of years ago that had, frankly, been badly cared for. One ewe had an eye infection but we were assured that it "cleared up with antibiotics".  We had our own vet look at it. She knows us and knows that we cull as a last resort.  Her opinion was simple. The infection will never completely clear, you will be treating it with antibiotics every few months and it will be a constant irritation (i.e. it is going to be painful). Or we can remove it completely and she will likely make a full recovery.


We opted for the latter and have never looked back.  She is quite happy in the field with other ewes.  She went to the ram at the end of the summer and she has just given birth (unaided!) to a really nice ewe lamb whom she is a perfect mother to. Very attentive (it's mostly smell after all) and feeding well. In time I suspect the lamb will discover that she has more chance of getting away on one side than the other, but I swear this ewe has another eye in the back of her head as well!


There is no chance of sneaking up on her at all, she is very well aware of where you are at all times and we now make a point of approaching her from her sighted side - just to make life easier for everyone.


Bottom line - A one-eyed sheep can be perfectly productive in the relatively controlled environment of a smallholding, removing the eye eliminates the infection and heals well (GFDs are long wooled around the face so you barely even notice the lack of the eye anyway). She is happy, will eat from your hand and over the next few years will likely repay the cost of her treatment with healthy saleable lambs.


Would a commercial farmer take this route (or a vet used to such farmers), probably not and I fully understand  that decision. Would we do it again - no hesitation, if the animal is otherwise healthy.


SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Sheep eye Injury
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2016, 07:44:54 pm »
I have to say, again, that I get tired of reading how commercial farmers are more likely to cull than treat.  Sigh.

It's as wrong a stereotype as some farmers have of smallholders ;)
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

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: Sheep eye Injury
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2016, 08:20:23 pm »
 2 one eyed sheep here out of 1500,   why wouldn't I treat   ??           the old and toothless would be more of an issue as it would be difficult for her to compete

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Sheep eye Injury
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2016, 11:45:53 pm »
I think it's a generalisation, like 'white van man' which Anke gave me a bollocking for using a wee while ago.  I agree it's inaccurate.  I am also very well aware that there are smallholders out there whose care of their animals is appalling, just as there are large scale farmers who are caring and generous in their treatment of their stock.  It's difficult to know how best to put the idea of non-caring v caring stock raisers, which is why in my post I carefully avoided 'commercial' and put 'someone who doesn't care'  Will that do?  We need a word or expression to explain what we mean which will cause no offence to anyone.  Ideas please.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2016, 11:47:25 pm by Fleecewife »
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Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

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