My new ewe lamb is sick

Ponker

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I had four lambs delivered this July 15th from a well known and respected farm in New York. They were all tested and proven disease free. The ride took 2 days and when they got here they were fine except for some road dirt...

Everyone was quarantined.

After quarantine, the ram lamb went into the pasture with the other boys without a problem. They're getting along fine.

The three little ewe lambs went into the pasture with the other girls. They also adjusted quickly and settled in. Then about three weeks ago, the smallest ewe lamb, Marilyn who is also the youngest but only by a week, became anemic with a solid case of bottle jaw with weeping sun-intolerant eyes. I just about fell over in tears. They were dewormed before travelling and dewormed ten days prior to her bottle jaw. I separated her and Rosa and began with Nutridrench, a shot of iron, and B Complex vitamins. I called the vet and told him I was bringing in four fecal samples. I waited around until each of the new girls pooped and then one of my own ewe lambs as well, for a control sample.

The following day, I dropped off the four separately bagged and labeled fecal samples and waited around for an hour in town and then went back to his office for the result. Below is how the conversation went -

Me: Do you have the results?
Vet Assistant: He said (the veterinarian) they have worms.
Me with eyes like saucers: What worms would that be exactly?
Vet Ass: Let me ask the veterinarian.
She disappears into the bowels of the office only to return a moment later.
Vet Ass: Homunchus or something like that.
Me: Did he say Haemonchus contortus, by any chance?
Vet Ass: THAT'S IT!
Me: Who? I brought in four different samples.
Vet Ass: Let me check.
I wait with steam coming out of my ears and my hands shaking. The whole time thinking with shame of my very good microscope and Vet Reference to Parasites Manual sitting on my work bench unused.
Puffing with exertion the Vet Ass responds: They all do.
A zen-like calmness had settled over me: I want a copy of the counts for all four samples I brought in.
I see an eye-roll and with a heavy sigh the Vet Ass says: Lemme check.
I wait knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt there will be no records forthcoming.
Vet Ass: He said he didn't keep records.
I slap myself (figuratively) for already having paid $12.50 EACH for these fecal tests. A cool fifty gone.
Me: Why do you think I bothered bringing in four separate samples? Do you suppose I could have mixed them all together and gave you ONE sample and only paid $12.50 for this information?
Vet Tech: I suppose you could have.
I feel my blood pressure pounding against my eardrums. Me: What would the Vet have me do?
She down't bother saying, "Lemme check" and just spun on her heel and disappeared. I do a few deep breathing exercises to calm down.
Vet Ass: Worm with Ivermectin.
At this point I have to leave before I leap across the client doctor barrier and wreck the place.

Marilyn recovered from her bottle jaw and I ran my own fecal sample. I found a liver fluke egg. I used the methodology from USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (LNE10-300). It involves the McMaster's Slide. Besides finding the Liver Fluke Eggs, I found Cocci. Not unsurprisingly, barberpole wasn't even on the map. I've been aggressive in treatment since losing two young lambs in July. I had high regard for this Vet having visited my farm twice in the last year but this lackadaisical attitude has cooled my enthusiasm for his practice.

I drenched poor Marilyn with Valbazen and treated her with Sulmet. She wasn't showing any symptoms of Cocci except a little bit of dirty wool on her backside but I'm not a Vet so I doubt myself. But she has a clearly distended belly, losing her wool around her underbelly, and not growing like the others. These symptoms, are associated with advanced liver fluke infestation. God forbid. If Valbazen doesn't have any effect, there is one other medicine that I might be able to try. Unbelievable that in the USA we are absolute AGES behind in approved medicines!

The other Vets in my area are not large animal vets, (my sheep are small but still fall under that category). One Vet told me that he's "a cow man". My search for a competent Vet is ongoing but meanwhile, I have a very sick little lamb. Although, you'd have to tell Marilyn that she's sick. She's heartbreaking with her big balding belly and lovable countenance.

I'm in tears over a Vet that that just doesn't care. I'll do my best for her as long as she's not in any pain.

I've also emailed Pipestone in hopes they can help me.

Maybe some other sheep people can shed some light on Marilyn's condition. Or treatment. Thanks in advance for any help.
 

babsbag

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Sorry you are going through this, I would have been livid, you did very good not to commit any crimes. :hugs

I am not a sheep person but Liver fluke will also respond to Ivermectin PLUS. Maybe switch wormers??? I would also run another fecal since it looks like you are doing your own now.

@SheepGirl
@Sheepshape
@purplequeenvt

Any ideas for her from some of our sheep experts?
 

Goat Whisperer

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How do you know that they are Flukes? I ask this because they are nearly identical to the BP. Although, it does sound like flukes, so I would keep doing what you are doing!

So glad you are running your own fecals! :thumbsup
I can't imagine having goats without a scope. Glad you are also using the McMasters method!

You handled the situation very well, I don't think I could have…
I don't do well with stupid.

I agree with Babs, we have used Ivermectin PLUS to treat liver flukes in a doe we brought in. We had to give it every 10 days if I remember right.

You can mail fecal samples to http://www.midamericaagresearch.net/instructions.php and I believe they are very thorough. I think it's like a 10$ fee. I encourage folks who are new to running fecals to still have them checked by a (good) vet or lab. This will tell you if you missed something (for many newbies it's cocci) or if you are spot on.

Hoping she makes a full recovery!

@norseofcourse @mysunwolf ???? I'm forgetting the other sheep folks :barnie
 

Ponker

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Thanks for the link to MidAmerica. I'd love the doublecheck. I'm beside myself with worry over her and the rest of the flock and if I'm doing the fecals right or if I am missing something. I'll get another sample from her so I can send one in to MidAmerica and do one myself and compare. I'll be the first one to admit I need some help.

Maybe I have resistance to Valbazen. I'll get some Ivermectin Plus on order. Thank you. Just having a soundingboard helps shed some of the myriad of options. I don't know what to do next.
 

Green Acres Farm

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My vet charges $34 for ONE fecal! I asked to watch and they did NOT know what they were doing! (It was the staff, though) I was also told that they reccomend deworming every 6 weeks!!!! :he
 

Ponker

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I've been looking around for Ivomec Plus and only find the cattle injectable. Is that the correct product or is there a specific sheep Ivomec Plus? I've found some older forums posting about giving this subQ for sheep at 1cc/110lbs. Anyone confirm this dosage? And product?

I've not dared to start breeding yet this year either. I'm so pleased with myself for waiting until I got this situation under control. I'll try not to break my arm patting myself on the back but I need every boost of confidence I can get right now. From what I've read, I'll have to treat all the girls who've been exposed to Marilyn. With Valbazen it's a 45 day waiting period for breeding. I'll need to research what the recommended time-frame is for Ivomec Plus. Marilyn won't get bred this year. She needs to concentrate on getting better. I am still planning to breed my other ewes who are all in good shape. I don't mind late spring lambs. If I happen to miss breeding for late spring arrivals, I'll wait and breed for autumn babies. No urgency here. I only want to find out what is going on with Marilyn and get her well.
 

mysunwolf

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I have no idea because we are in the same boat, minus the fact that I do not have a scope and have not yet learned to do fecals. So relying on the vet who just only knows so much about sheep. I'm hoping that you find some answers so we can also figure out why our sheep have struggled so hard this year!
 

Green Acres Farm

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I've been looking around for Ivomec Plus and only find the cattle injectable. Is that the correct product or is there a specific sheep Ivomec Plus? I've found some older forums posting about giving this subQ for sheep at 1cc/110lbs. Anyone confirm this dosage? And product?
In goats you give ivermectin plus orally at the same rate you give ivermectin. I have had it reccomended at a rate of 1cc per 30/pounds. Yes, it is the injectable kind. It is not safe for young goat kids.

1cc per 110 pounds sounds VERY low, but sheep metabolisms may be different than goats.:hu

Where I am, many people have switched to Cydectin as Ivermectin is no longer effective like it was. It does not treat liver flukes as far as I know, just a thought that your parasites are resistant to your dewormer and they really do have Barber Pole.:hu

Hope you get it figured out!
 

Goat Whisperer

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Why isn't Ivermectin plus safe for young goats? I haven't heard that before and haven't had any issues using it in young-ish goats.

We use the cattle stuff. I order the normectin plus from jeffers. It needs to be given at a higher dose then what the bottle says- in goats anyway. I give it orally.

ETA: Almost everything is off-label for goats. Thankfully we have good goat vets that are knowledgeable in that area.
 

Green Acres Farm

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Why isn't Ivermectin plus safe for young goats? I haven't heard that before and haven't had any issues using it in young-ish goats.

We use the cattle stuff. I order the normectin plus from jeffers. It needs to be given at a higher dose then what the bottle says- in goats anyway. I give it orally.
That is just what I was told by another breeder/ dairy owner. She said it shouldn't be given under 6 months.
 

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