The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Sheep => Topic started by: SmithIsland on May 22, 2022, 02:21:38 pm

Title: Shetland lamb can't stand or walk
Post by: SmithIsland on May 22, 2022, 02:21:38 pm
Hello, hoping someone can offer knowledge, experience or advice.  I have a four week old Shetland ewe lamb, that was born with weak back legs. She needed help to feed initially (got colostrum) but was up and at it by day 2. She wasn't as robust or bouncy as the other lambs, and by two weeks her legs started to wobble, her knees would buckle and she would fall. She also has a head tilt and a bony growth behind one ear. She then started to go down on her knuckles, then her knees and sort of crawled/scrambled. Now she can't walk at all.  I have had her at the vets, who say it's likely to be a developmental issue, rather than injury or bacterial. They thought the bony growth was 'strange' but could not offer an explanation.  They have given her a B1 injection, metacam and a course of anti-biotics, and since then she has been worse.  She is suckling from mum but not much as she has to crawl underneath and mum isn't the most patient. I have been additional bottle feeding, which she guzzles. She also heartily eats ewe/lamb mix, will eat hay/grass/willow if placed near her head.  Today though she can't get up at all, the effort knocks her on her side and then she flounders and struggles to right herself. I've got her penned with straw banked up all around, but she still ends up a bit stranded, it's distressing to watch.  The vet thought she had a chance, but after the jags she is much worse.  She is peeing and pooping normally, except she can't stand up to do either.  I have 13 other lambs from the same dad, all fit and healthy. Mum had all the right licks, feed, hay, wormer etc and is on heptavac.  The vet has dismissed joint ill, swayback, there's no injuries, maybe suggested a brain swelling. I wondered about a tick bite reaction.  I don't want to give up on her at all, but I don't know what else to do, or even if there is anything else to do!  All I know for sure is, if left on her own she would die, and in her current state she has no quality of life.  Hoping for a miracle I suppose   :sheep:  :fc:  Thanks for reading  :'(
Title: Re: Shetland lamb can't stand or walk
Post by: twizzel on May 24, 2022, 12:13:14 pm
Sounds like the best thing is to put her down to be honest.
Title: Re: Shetland lamb can't stand or walk
Post by: SmithIsland on May 24, 2022, 01:24:24 pm
I know, I've already made the vets appointment. Sometimes just need to hear it confirmed from someone else  :'(
Title: Re: Shetland lamb can't stand or walk
Post by: Fleecewife on May 24, 2022, 01:41:03 pm
We can only do as much as we can for our animals. Once we realise that the best thing is euthanasia then that too is something we can do for our animals, just as important as day to day care. Making the decision is hard but you have made the right one  :hugsheep: :hug:
Title: Re: Shetland lamb can't stand or walk
Post by: twizzel on May 24, 2022, 03:25:17 pm
Itís difficult to make the decision, but itís often the right call if putting an animal down is one of the options youíre contemplating. Sadly a call we have had to make several times this year so far with both our cattle and sheep. Often I feel a sense of relief once the decision is made and the animal has been put down  :tired:
Title: Re: Shetland lamb can't stand or walk
Post by: SmithIsland on May 25, 2022, 01:26:32 am
I am grateful for all of your kind and sensible words.  I know that I've made the right decision, but I've cried bucket loads though!  It's such a shame, I'm such a softy and have tried so hard to help her.  Thanks for hugs  :( :( :(
Title: Re: Shetland lamb can't stand or walk
Post by: Fleecewife on May 25, 2022, 03:16:17 pm
By making the right decision you have helped your lamb. The alternative would have been keeping her dragging on which you just wouldn't do.  It's not a failure but a success - bad things happen in animal husbandry, but it's how you deal with them that shows your care.  We all shed a tear when animals die then we get on with caring for the living ones. It all goes towards learning the full job, not just the good bits  :hug: