Hind Legs Weak

AronstafFarm

Exploring the pasture
Joined
Jun 9, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
10
Points
23
Location
Central Virginia
we have an otherwise totally normal 6 week old St Croix ewe lamb who, in the last few days, has been wobbly, and yesterday can not use her hind legs much at all. She was not at all a low performer of the year's crop. Front legs seem pretty unaffected. Generally she looks fine, she seems perturbed she can't run around. Eyes are bright, she vocalizes normally. Eyes look pink. She has been rotationally grazed her whole life. No new animals on the place. They have free choice Purina Sheep mineral (copper free) but I also offer kelp, I used to offer sea salt but they never touched it, but I have some...

My working hypotheses were:
1) white muscle disease- gave 3cc Selenium/VitE gel 24hrs ago.
2) copper deficiency- we are in an area with 0.1-0.12mcg/dL soil, one of the lowest in the state/east. I gave 3cc red cell yesterday just because I had it...
3) meningeal worm. This is a stumper- it seems to fit. But she has lived her whole life inside a deerproof perimeter fence. There haven't been any deer in here for two years. I have dexamethasone for injection but have not given any.

Normally my ethic is to let her sink or swim with no additional management but I think this is something I need to learn for the future... I would love input.
 

Baymule

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 22, 2010
Messages
26,182
Reaction score
69,346
Points
853
Location
East Texas
I have no idea. It seems you have covered the bases. I wanted you to know that although I have no advice, you are not alone. Could she have had some sort of injury? Maybe butted or stepped on by another sheep?
 

purplequeenvt

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 1, 2011
Messages
2,034
Reaction score
2,083
Points
333
Location
Rineyville, KY
Meningeal won’t show up that fast in a 6 week old animal. Keep in mind though, it’s not the deer that are the problem, it’s the snails that are the host.

I would consider an injury as the cause instead of WMD or other deficiencies (although I wouldn’t rule them out).

Has she gotten her CD&T shot + booster? Tetanus often first presents as a stiff or unsteady gait.

I’d recommend getting a temperature on her to start with to make sure she’s not fighting an infection. I’d also see about getting her a steroid shot (dexamethasone) to help if there’s any swelling or inflammation.
 

frustratedearthmother

Herd Master
Joined
May 7, 2013
Messages
7,571
Reaction score
12,958
Points
613
I'd go ahead with the dex. It'll definitely help with inflammation if it's an injury and will just generally make her feel better. The vet I used to work with told me to "never let anything die without trying a shot of dex." Something that I've remembered and practiced for years now.

Agree with the advice to take her temp. Antibiotics may be in order. Banamine will help with pain and an elevated temp, if you have some. If you have a good relationship with a vet it might help to get some advice.
 

AronstafFarm

Exploring the pasture
Joined
Jun 9, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
10
Points
23
Location
Central Virginia
Meningeal won’t show up that fast in a 6 week old animal. Keep in mind though, it’s not the deer that are the problem, it’s the snails that are the host. Thats good to know about the ages, very very helpful. We haven't had much trouble with snails but they are definitely here. I doubt there would be a snail from the deer area to the grazing area, there is a forest buffer most of the way around the pasture (I prefer to maintain the fence in the trees for very low weed pressure, but risks limbs or trees on the wires). It is possible.

I would consider an injury as the cause instead of WMD or other deficiencies (although I wouldn’t rule them out). It has been gradual, I would expect that to have been binary. She was a little unsteady for two days and then super weak. She can use her forequarters, its a devil of a time catching her!

Has she gotten her CD&T shot + booster? Tetanus often first presents as a stiff or unsteady gait. No, we vaccinate first round after weaning which is this week. Should be covered by maternal antibodies unless I'm wrong for a while after weaning and moms are vaccinated. I'm worried about vaccinating while its ongoing. Is that safe? Seems like that could be worsening inflammation at this point. I'm open to further advice here for sure...

I’d recommend getting a temperature on her to start with to make sure she’s not fighting an infection. I’d also see about getting her a steroid shot (dexamethasone) to help if there’s any swelling or inflammation. She doesn't feel hot on the ears. I haven't taken a temp formally. I'd expect her to look overall crappy with a serious infection, and from the waist up she is like all the others visually.

I replied inline to make sure I touched on the suggestions. I guess one additional question: how long before the Selenium/VitE stuff would show a benefit? I'm thinking its days... Can/should I redose if it looks promising? Should I dose all the little ones to be safe if its working? They are in the sorting pen tomorrow for shots and tags so maybe it a smart play.
 

AronstafFarm

Exploring the pasture
Joined
Jun 9, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
10
Points
23
Location
Central Virginia
I'd go ahead with the dex. It'll definitely help with inflammation if it's an injury and will just generally make her feel better. The vet I used to work with told me to "never let anything die without trying a shot of dex." Something that I've remembered and practiced for years now.

Agree with the advice to take her temp. Antibiotics may be in order. Banamine will help with pain and an elevated temp, if you have some. If you have a good relationship with a vet it might help to get some advice.
She looks fine, not miserable at all, just frustrated because she tries to move with the rest and keeps falling over. I think I will do the dex, that makes sense to me.

Working hypothesis is injury or WMD to me, since she isn't old enough for meningeal worms. Might give another day for the Selenium/VitE gel to work. Looks like every 30 days redose is on the label but that is prophylactic not therapeutic. Theres 11.5ppm selenium in the sheep mineral and they go at it....

I also did ACV in the water and am giving them some black oil sunflower seeds just to supplement the VitE.
 

purplequeenvt

Herd Master
Joined
Aug 1, 2011
Messages
2,034
Reaction score
2,083
Points
333
Location
Rineyville, KY
I replied inline to make sure I touched on the suggestions. I guess one additional question: how long before the Selenium/VitE stuff would show a benefit? I'm thinking its days... Can/should I redose if it looks promising? Should I dose all the little ones to be safe if its working? They are in the sorting pen tomorrow for shots and tags so maybe it a smart play.

You can re-dose, but you have to be careful because you can overdose them on selenium/E. It won’t hurt the other lambs to get some as well.

I’d take a look at her back feet and see if they seem sore. It could be that she has foot scald (not the same as hoof rot). If her feet are damp and look a bit raw between her toes, it’s scald. Squirt some LA-200 onto the skin and it should clear up quickly.

I’m assuming since she’s a St Croix that you didn’t dock her tail. One thing that came make a lamb her age weak in the back is a dock infection, but that’s not going to be the case if you didn’t dock her.
 

AronstafFarm

Exploring the pasture
Joined
Jun 9, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
10
Points
23
Location
Central Virginia
UPDATE: Temp rectally was 98.6F. We gave 2mg dexamethasone subcutaneously yesterday.

Within an hour after the steroid she was able to stand a little. That's too fast for dexamethasone alone I think. Gave another round of Dyne. We don't have access to Banamine, I'm of an age when you could just buy Butte and antibiotics but honestly we don't have a vet. Its not worth a vet visit to save a sheep, we would put her down instead. I might try crushing a Motrin or something. I'd rather not muddy the waters too much. She looks hydrated.

She is able to walk a little this morning. Still showing no signs of distress just frustrated.

I'm guessing this was WMD. Should I redose the selenium/vitE in a week if we aren't pretty much back?

Also, any opinion as to why we got here (assuming WMD) if she had access to free choice selenium-containing mineral?
You can re-dose, but you have to be careful because you can overdose them on selenium/E. It won’t hurt the other lambs to get some as well.

I’d take a look at her back feet and see if they seem sore. It could be that she has foot scald (not the same as hoof rot). If her feet are damp and look a bit raw between her toes, it’s scald. Squirt some LA-200 onto the skin and it should clear up quickly.

I’m assuming since she’s a St Croix that you didn’t dock her tail. One thing that came make a lamb her age weak in the back is a dock infection, but that’s not going to be the case if you didn’t dock her.
Feet look fine. Tail is intact.
 

AronstafFarm

Exploring the pasture
Joined
Jun 9, 2022
Messages
6
Reaction score
10
Points
23
Location
Central Virginia
Now she can run several steps but then she kind of wipes out. Still limited to the hind legs as near as I can tell.

So she is improving. I'm planning on waiting to see if she declines tomorrow (dexamethasone should be waning) or continues to improve. I'm resisting the urge to keep adding things in. She has had nothing interventional in the last 24 hours.

Thanks to everyone for your input! I'll try to update tomorrow.
 
Top