Problems with birthing this year

ewellons

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I can't wait for this lambing season to be finished! I have lost 11 lambs and two ewes!! The vet is unsure what is going on and feels it may be the ram that we used this year who has been on our farm but just used him this year. The ewes would go down in the hind quarters and just get gradually weaker. One delivered three dead lambs and then three days later died also. The same with the second ewe. After reading everything I was guessing pregnancy toxemia so with the second ewe I tried the glucose drench, the vitamin B12 and the CMPK but nothing worked for her. I then go out one morning and one of the other ewes delivered a set of twins with out and problem?!? Another ewe who is the oldest in the flock and was not supposed to be bred ended up delivering 4 dead smelly lambs??? She did need help due to two of them being breech. As if that hasn't been enough, I then have another ewe go down same symptoms as the first two. I called the vet again and this time decide just to due a c section. She did have two good size lambs but unfortunately both of those died also. The good news is that the ewe who had the c section is doing good but then I had another ewe deliver triplets, two ram lambs and one ewe lamb. This ewe had no problems with delivery but the runt ram lamb did pass away. Now my problem is that the two remaining lambs just don't seem to be thriving? The ram lamb wont put any weight on his right rear quarter for the past two days and the ewe lamb is starting to do the same thing. My vet is out of town for a couple of days and I have already given them both V-B12....any other suggestions? I have one more ewe to deliver and pray every day that I will be going out to the barn and see her with some healthy lambs!! We have raised sheep for 16 years and have NEVER had problems like this...could it be the ram? I am really second guessing breeding any more sheep!
 

Baymule

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Oh no! I have never had anything like that happen either. I am thinking it must be some type of infection. I thought it might be a mineral deficiency, but you have raised sheep there for 16 years, a mineral deficiency would have shown up before now.

You mention the ram. Did you raise him or buy him? Has he been tested for infectious disease?

Has anything changed? Feed? hay? A lot of rain, a lack of rain?


this link mentions hypocalcaemia, lack of calcium. I keep dolomite lime out for my girls. I get it at Lowes in the garden center.


This link is from the UK, but has a lot of information


Everything I am reading suggests a disease organism. I would get the ewes tested and retain fetal samples for testing. Please follow good hygiene as some of these are transmissible to humans.

Please follow up with this and let us know what is happening.

I thought about Brucellosis.

 

ewellons

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Oh no! I have never had anything like that happen either. I am thinking it must be some type of infection. I thought it might be a mineral deficiency, but you have raised sheep there for 16 years, a mineral deficiency would have shown up before now.

You mention the ram. Did you raise him or buy him? Has he been tested for infectious disease?

Has anything changed? Feed? hay? A lot of rain, a lack of rain?


this link mentions hypocalcaemia, lack of calcium. I keep dolomite lime out for my girls. I get it at Lowes in the garden center.


This link is from the UK, but has a lot of information


Everything I am reading suggests a disease organism. I would get the ewes tested and retain fetal samples for testing. Please follow good hygiene as some of these are transmissible to humans.

Please follow up with this and let us know what is happening.

I thought about Brucellosis.

 

ewellons

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We had alot of rain last spring? The ram we did raise ourselves. We have not brought any new sheep for the past two years. The hay is from our farm and my brother has been feeding it to his cattle and goats without any problems.
 

Baymule

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These articles also mention cats, rodents, wild birds as vectors for spreading disease. You definitely need to have the lambs tested and the ewes too so you can find out what this is. You have had sheep a lot longer than me, I could learn from YOU. I am trying to provide support for you in this trying time and throw out ideas, but I believe only testing will give you the answers you need. Big hugs, you sure need it :hugs
 

ewellons

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Thank you @Baymule . I have read the articles which are very interesting . We do have cats and unfortunately we have a lot of rodents that are around also. I thank you for your support and will be talking with the Vet to get them tested. I love my sheep but this has just been very frustrating year!
 

Ridgetop

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How is your selenium level? Are the ewes getting enough of it? We used to give our does and ewes a booster shot of selenium a couple weeks before they gave birth. If you don't have a lot of selenium in your pasture or hay, you might consider having the vet give the remaining ewes and lambs a shot of that. Lack of selenium causes floppy lamb disease - loss of control of limbs and weakness.

If the lambs were all dying, it could be something wrong with the ram, but being bred to that ram shouldn't be causing the ewes to go down and die. Since you raised the ram yourself rom your own stock, he probably doesn't have any disease that he brought to your farm. Sheep can contract a type of syphilis which might cause problems to the moms and lambs.

Brucellosis is another disease that causes abortion in lambs. Usually they abort sooner than full term though - about midway through their pregnancy - at 3 months maybe. If the ram was not tested for ovine brucellosis, you might consider a blood test. Most states do not require ovine brucellosis testing if the ram is under 12 months old and not coming from out of state.

As far as your hay, if the hay has a problem, your goats should show some symptoms too. Do you get protein, etc. testing done on the hay? Cows can eat hay that would kill a sheep, goat, or horse, so feeding the hay to cows doesn't prove anything one way or another. However, lack of minerals can cause low conception numbers.
 

Beekissed

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I'm so very sorry about your sheep and lambs....its heartbreaking to hear of such things, let alone to have to experience it. :hugs

Here's a list of possible bacterial causes for abortion and death of ewes:


It does sound like something bacterial though I wouldn't see a connection between the ram being the cause. The excess rain may lead to the cause~causing more conditions that pathogens could thrive in~ and I can't believe your vet didn't want to do a PM of the dead sheep, just in case this was a serious disease process that can be spread to other farms/animals or even humans.
 
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