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Author Topic: Swelling under eyes and staggering in 3 month lambs  (Read 3281 times)

Notasausage

  • Joined Feb 2013
Swelling under eyes and staggering in 3 month lambs
« on: June 05, 2017, 08:57:27 am »
Am awaiting vet (again) but looking for any suggestions from your experience as this is my first year with sheep.

Last week I had one of my 3 month old pet lambs present with staggering and blindness. It had scour for a few days previous which I put down to a flush of grass. Experienced neighbour treated it for coccidiosis but it quickly declined and had to be pts by the vet. Drenched the others for Nematodirus and gave Hepavac. Next day I have another one with scour. Contacted vet who gave broad spectrum antibiotic injections 1x a day for 3 days. It's had 2 and this morning is presenting the same as the other one. This time I'm going straight to the vet, but while I'm waiting has anyone any suggestions. Prior to the scour it had slight swelling under one eye, this has increased and is under both eyes. Off it's food and not seen it drinking. Though it appears blind there is no cloudiness in the eyes.

They are grazed on pasture that hasn't had sheep on it for over 5 years but has had pigs on it for the last 4. Harrowed and re-seeded last autumn and pigs now in a different area. We also have 16 chickens with access to the same area. They have access to a stable and are being fed supplimentary lamb creep. Weaned about 2 weeks ago.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Swelling under eyes and staggering in 3 month lambs
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2017, 09:51:13 am »
The staggering and blindness could be CCN. We lost a lamb to it last autumn, it presented as lethargy, blindness and subsequently staggering/fitting and death although didn't have any swelling under the eyes. It did scour as well whether or not that was a red herring I don't know. The vet managed to save the 2nd one that went down with it a week later by an IV jab of vitimin B1 and 5 subsequent days of b1 jabs intramuscular although her vision didn't come back. We jabbed all the other lambs in that group and put them back out with a mineral lick containing b1 and they were all ok. Since then my sheep always have mineral licks with vitamin b1 in- you have to check the side of the licks as some don't include it, Mole Valley's range of licks do though so I tend to stick to those aside from using lifeline buckets at lambing (but have a MV blue energy lick out too just in case). Alternatively could be staggers? Do they have mag buckets and what kind of grass are they grazing?

Notasausage

  • Joined Feb 2013
Re: Swelling under eyes and staggering in 3 month lambs
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2017, 12:09:31 pm »
They don't have any mineral lick so will get one of those although will the lamb creep not have the vits etc that they need? The grass sown was for horses so low in clover but they also have access to established grass which is a bit of everything. Just looked up CCN and will suggest it to the vet. Symptoms sound very similar with no mention of scour though which both have had. Thanks

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Swelling under eyes and staggering in 3 month lambs
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2017, 12:46:46 pm »
On pasture previously used by pigs, my first thought was copper toxicity  http://www.nadis.org.uk/bulletins/copper-poisoning-in-sheep.aspx 


Worth considering but it doesn't sound quite like your symptoms.
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fsmnutter

  • Joined Oct 2012
  • Fettercairn, Aberdeenshire
Re: Swelling under eyes and staggering in 3 month lambs
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2017, 01:05:31 pm »
As a vet, I'd agree ccn sounds likely and needs vitamin b1 asap, preferably into the vein.
Other things that could cause scour would be worms or fluke, possibly with swelling such as of the eyes if severe enough that the system has lost protein. Ask your vet if your nematodirus drench is likely to cover other worms as well, or if there is likely resistance in your area.
Other possibilities include clostridial infections (now they've started heptavac, that should prevent further infections if you complete the course) or a poisoning or a number of other things.
Hope your vet gets to you soon, and if you lose any more, I'd recommend a post mortem to see if there's anything else that could prevent further lambs getting sick.

farmers wife

  • Joined Jul 2009
  • SE Wales
Re: Swelling under eyes and staggering in 3 month lambs
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2017, 01:24:40 pm »
I would say some sort of magnesium/mineral deficiency - I would assume the lamb came from a very healthy ewe that was given plenty of minerals when in lamb?


The problems with endlessly saving and pumping small lambs full of drugs is that you bring on a weak sheep if it makes it that far. A poorly thriving lamb will scour & is questionable whether to keep actioning and I bet your vets bill must be enormous. I would say the lambs eye is a side effect of the body being weak.


Once weaned a pet lamb needs to be kept an eye on due to not having the same resistance as lambs at foot.  Did you mineral drench it?  I dont worm or heptavac either. I am not a fan of shoving fluke meds down a poorly lamb either.


If the prognosis of PEM is confirmed it may be too late as the brain damage may have already kicked in. Depends on willing to go for a number of days of injecting.


It doesnt sound good and sadly I would question whether you should euthanise in my experience lambs never recover and if they do its temporary because they dont have that strength and breeding from sheep like this is a def nono.


So sorry that your going through this.  Sheep are fickle creatures.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2017, 01:33:32 pm by farmers wife »

farmers wife

  • Joined Jul 2009
  • SE Wales
Re: Swelling under eyes and staggering in 3 month lambs
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2017, 01:41:02 pm »
Ouch - youve said youve just weaned it at 10 weeks I can see the problem there.  Weaning is 5-6 weeks and then its gone on lush grass.  Grass/hay/straw and optional creep should be available from a week or so old.  I put mine on pasture from 4/5 weeks to get them used to the pasture.


I would think from that its either had sudden staggers/PEM from the sudden change in diet.


Polioencephalomalacia (Cerebrocortical necrosis CCN).Polioencephalomalacia (PEM) is most commonly seen in weaned lambs aged 4 to 8 months but disease does occur in adult sheep. Individual lambs are usually affected approximately two weeks after movement to another pasture or other dietary change. During the early stages of PEM affected sheep are blind and become isolated from the group and may wander aimlessly. There is 'star-gazing' when stationary. The condition deteriorates within 12 to 24 hours to lateral recumbency with seizure activity during handling. Without treatment, death follows within 3 to 5 days in untreated sheep.[/size][/font]

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Swelling under eyes and staggering in 3 month lambs
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2017, 02:40:03 pm »
Polioencaphalomalacia is CCN. You would think that hard feed i.e. creep would have all the right vitamins and minerals a lamb would need but when the vet looked at our feed labels last year none of them had any B1 added to them. If it is CCN then if the lamb has started fitting it's normally not going to live, but if you catch it early enough before it's started fitting you might have a chance. We lost one but treated one and it survived but was blind in at least 1 eye- although it was kept short term inside to fatten and kill, it was a month off killing and the vet was happy for us to keep it in with a friend on hay/creep until it went to the abattoir. It was worth having the vet as not only did it save 1 of the 2 that got CCN but we were able to prevent the others from getting it too.

Sbom

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Staffordshire
Re: Swelling under eyes and staggering in 3 month lambs
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2017, 10:36:13 am »
What did the vet think?

Notasausage

  • Joined Feb 2013
Re: Swelling under eyes and staggering in 3 month lambs
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2017, 09:55:49 pm »
Our vet came out and agreed when I suggested CCN. Vit B1 into vein then into muscle later in day followed by twice daily 3ml into muscle. Also gave others one off dose of B1 into muscle (they've been fine). Started eating and drinking with encouragement the following day and by day 2 was able to move around independently though still obviously without full vision - she can navigate her way in and out of gates/doors but doesn't seem to see things at ground level unless looking down.

Though they were weaned at 10 weeks they had access to grazing from 2 weeks and creep before that. They were good strong x-breed lambs who had colostrum and came from ewes vaccinated prior to lambing. Had already been dosed for nematodirus but done again and now vit drench as well as the B1. Are on Carrs Billington creep which doesn't have B1. Looked at mineral licks which also don't have B1. Am going to look at the Mole Valley one suggested by Twizzel - my goodness sheep are hard work! Think I'll stick with pigs ;D

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Swelling under eyes and staggering in 3 month lambs
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2017, 10:21:28 pm »
Glad you got it sorted! It's a minefield isn't it- I hadn't heard of ccn until last October when I learnt everything about it very quickly ! The mole valley range of licks are really great quality, both mineral licks and feed licks (the energy buckets). Now you know you have a b1 deficiency it's easy to prevent in the future- I too never used mineral licks until our lambs got ccn too.

Marti615

  • Joined Jun 2017
Re: Swelling under eyes and staggering in 3 month lambs
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2017, 10:42:01 pm »
So sorry for your experience with CNN.

Can someone tell me whether Mole Valley Lamb Creep has B1 in it?

Also, which mineral lick do you suggest for lambs?

I had no idea that lamb creep might not include all necessary vitamins!

Thank you!

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Swelling under eyes and staggering in 3 month lambs
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2017, 07:45:59 am »
As far as I know mv creep doesn't. It shouldn't really be a problem unless your grass is lacking in it- we just had problems in 1 specific field last year. A bog standard general purpose mineral lick would be fine for lambs. At the moment mine have a mag bucket and a foot and fertility bucket.

 
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