Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: wether lamb- paranoia or something wrong?  (Read 939 times)


  • Joined Nov 2017
wether lamb- paranoia or something wrong?
« on: November 19, 2019, 02:57:35 pm »
hello again. firstly back story of me is i lost  3 year wether to Urolitholiasis 6 years ago and vowed to only ever rescue females after that. This year my neighbours asked if i would take in an abandoned shore lamb and of course i said yes and of couorse it was a boy. I waited nearly 2 month to get him castrated by the vet (a lucky visit, they wouldnt have come on request) in the hope the older he was the better the chance i woudnt give him UT too.
I know he shouldnt get any feed but it is easier to manage pet sheep with some food and i felt i was not giving him much (although with hindsight he has been leaving the tup mix and eating oats and seaweed meal for preference (he's a ronnie). Also gets lovely meadow hay, chopped dried grass, and veggies (loves kale, carrots apples and grapes. Water is always warm as he shares with the elderly goat and she hates chilled water so kettle of boiling water is added to fresh am and pm. His little lamby mate died of bloat aged 1 month so he has been with me and the goat every since. I have found it impossible to get him to reliably drink from the bucket so because i am afraid of water restriction and UT i have fed him a bottle (500ml) warm water (or sometimes electrolytes) twice a day- which he loves as it is as much a bonding security thing, but for me i feel i can be assured he was hydrated.
my neighbours fed my animals over the weekend as i was away at a craft fayre. yesterday he seemed a bit off colour, his baah had changed- but he readily drank his bottle and a bit of oats and grass and tucked into new hay (i normally change it daily but it had not been replenished since i left), I saw him wee in the afternoon (i am always watching him pee- i know its binkers but it reassures me all is in working order! But then he seemed to be more lethargic and i didnt see him pee again. He didnt want all his evening bottle, so i gave him 2 teasppon ammonium chloride mixed in black treacle by syringe. Of course he hated it (my other wether did too until i think it stripped his tastebuds) but for the next few hours was still eating hay, chewing the cud, but i didnt see him pee. Next morning he was really unhappy- scouring , tooth grinding, didnt want food or water but still came to me for a cuddle and he lay down in the front room, where we stayed all day, I injected metacam and gave him 5ml kaolin and morphine ( i would rather used gaviscon but i ran out). Within a few hours he was more comfortable, eating a bit and even chewed the cud later on, and the poo dried up of course. I started syringing electrolytes as he would not voluntarily drink (although im scared i may be filling a bladder that can not empty).
Since then i had not seem him pee (or poo)so i felt compelled to give him more ammonium chloride (i googled and it was not an overdose amount). This time he really reacted and i thought i had drowned him. We spend the night in the front room, every now and again he'd have a coughing fit, and would get u and down changing which side to sleep on. This morning his breathing seems ok (i had given antibiotic and anti spasmolytic in the night) he is sleeping a lot, and restless (changing positions) he hasnt pooed and as far as i can tell not pee-ed (he has been outside and in the barn of his own accord where i could not see him, hence the not 100% certainty). He has eaten some willow and seaweed but otherwise no food, and ive syringed electrolytes which he doesnt want, but does drink. When my other sheep got sick he would lie on his side with his back legs up and strain like a pregnant ewe. This little lamb is obviously sometimes in discomfort (tooth grinding, moving) but has not been straining, and the last time i saw him pee it was a flow - not dribble and not blood tinged.
So now i dont know which way to go now- do i continue with more ammonium chloride assuming there are stones that need dissolving on the assumption he is not peeing, or is the ammonium chloride the culprit for his discomfort (it being caustic to te digestive tract) and leave it out for 24hrs- which if it is UT will not be a good thing. I cant do both. Any advice? The vets are very much "urm, id see how he goes, he doesnt sound too bad, if he gets worse call us back"- which did not save his little mate :(


  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: wether lamb- paranoia or something wrong?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2019, 08:57:14 pm »
Has he been wormed? Done an FEC?
My goats go off food when they need worming

Apparently another name is waterbelly, not sure if this means you can feel it distended?
If you saw him peeing yesterday, I'm wondering if you were a bit quick off the mark with treatments?
How old is he? Do you know if he had colostrum?
« Last Edit: November 19, 2019, 09:05:29 pm by Penninehillbilly »


  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: wether lamb- paranoia or something wrong?
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2019, 10:08:29 pm »

Does he have access to grazing?  I understand your concern having lost your previous wether but you seem to have given him quite a cocktail of treatments without knowing what is wrong with him. I don't think UT is caused by a lack of water but by feeding concentrates high in phosphate and magnesium.

I would give him access to grass, hay and water, in a bucket that he can take when he needs. I would give him an option of cold water too. Sheep don't tend to drink a lot in one go and shouldn't need warm water. I would stop the ammonium chloride and any other treatment until you know what is the problem. It sounds as though his urine flow is normal. I would stop the tup mix and barley too. I didn't think Ronnies should have sheep mixes because of their copper sensitivity.? Have you discussed copper toxicity with your vet? Has he been wormed or vaccinated? Can you take his temperature?


  • Joined Nov 2017
Re: wether lamb- paranoia or something wrong?
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2019, 07:28:30 pm »
hi thanks guys. so not 30 mins after posting i went to loo and came back to find a puddle on the carpet so i didnt give him any more ammoniium cl yesterday. i know water doesnt cause stones but i was told before it helps to flush the system so prevents the sandy like deposits getting stuck in the kinks in the urethra and stops them building up into blockages. You can prob tell my life was filled with researching this the last time!!
another restless night not pooing but got up in the night and wanted to eat willow bark so that was good, but still teeth grinding and arcching back.
Then this morning much brighter- chewing cud, did a normal poo this afternoon, and pee-ed some more. Not eating hay or grass brilliantly and wouldnt take bottle as he was put off by the bad tasting things before!
But tonight demanded his bottle (whacks me with his front legs and baahs relentlessly), eaten hay and green beans (he will never get concentrates again- ive learnt my lesson this time!!) and is now sitting on my feet chewing the cud. He still arches his back a lot (may just be stomach ache from the chemicals) but always in back of mind is there a stone lurking..? Oh well i knew i would become paranoid!!
Yes he is free to come and go - grass and willow outside, hay and veggies inside. He wants company is the problem- the goat only suffers him, the other rescue sheep dont bother with him. Am mad at myself for letting his mate die. Just be keeping an eye and will try not to mollycoddle him- he is a SHEEP after all i do respect that fact (i am a zoologist, just a bit of a sentimental old one!!) thanks again guys (oh to answer- yes hepavac P+ and flukicide in Sept, may be in need of fluke dose again-  may send sample over to vet as that is not difficult to do, thanks for reminding me)


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