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sheep with on again off again scours. Need ideas.

Discussion in 'Emergencies, Injuries, Diseases, and Cures' started by Spidey, Sep 14, 2018 at 12:14 AM.

  1. Sep 14, 2018 at 12:14 AM
    Spidey

    Spidey Just born

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    Hi everyone! I Need some ideas because I’m at a loss.

    I have a 3 year old St Croix hair sheep. We bought her a year ago. She’s always been on the thin side and has had on and off scours this entire time. She seldom has perfect berries- it usually goes from "logs" to chocolate pudding. I usually treat with several doses of kaolin pectin and then she’ll go back to normal for a week or 2. She was pregnant at the time of purchase and she had a very heathy single ewe lamb in February (who is now larger than her). A month ago we gave her 2 different classes of wormers (at the same time) and then repeated the treatment 2 weeks later. Her scours cleared up and things were looking up, but now she’s scouring again just 2 weeks after the last dose. She was de-wormed 2 times previously, with similar results. Its not uncommon for her to fluctuate between scours and logs so perhaps the de-wormers had nothing to do with it. We strip graze and they are put on fresh “strips” every 5 days, and are on a new pasture that has never seen livestock before. They are 100% pasture fed, have free choice minerals, salt and clean water daily. In January she tested negative for Johnes (fecal PCR). This entire time, my 6 year old ewe and my 3 ewe lambs have not needed de-worming and are in great condition. I periodically check eyelids, and my scouring ewe always has the darkest.

    I’m at a loss. She’s not thriving and I don’t know if there is anything I’m missing. Has anyone had a difficult sheep like this? I have not sent in a fecal sample yet, so if I do anything else, that should probably be next. I'm starting to give up on her- I don't think it would be fair to have her bred this fall.
     
  2. Sep 14, 2018 at 3:34 AM
    Sheepshape

    Sheepshape True BYH Addict

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    She may have resistant worms. A faecal sample taken to the vet will tell you if she has a worm problem. If she does, the vet will be able to advise which 'non-standard' wormer to use. This seems to be the most likely.

    Has she any other abnormal signs....lumps, bumps etc.

    Chronic coccidiosis can cause this (though rare and can be shown on a faecal sample).

    I have a couple of ewes who always have loose bowels without any other symptoms etc. and who are otherwise well. At the end of the day it may be down to their dietary choices.
     
  3. Sep 14, 2018 at 1:11 PM
    Spidey

    Spidey Just born

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    Thanks for the input! No lumps or bumps, and everything else seems normal. One thing I forgot about, is she does chew a little different than the others, like if I feed them cut up apples, the apples often fall back out of her mouth. I've read that dental issues could cause scours, but its very strange that the scours seem to get better with de-worming (only to return 2 weeks later).

    I will send a fecal sample to our state lab on Monday. My husband wants to cull and focus on keeping a healthy, easy herd, but I want to know why so we can learn from this.

    Here is a picture that I took this morning. The sheep in question is on the left, and her 7 month lamb is on the right.

    She's had pudding poo's for about a week. I usually react sooner, but I wanted to see if she could go back to "logs" on her own. It doesn't appear so, so this morning I gave her probiotics and a vitamin drench, and in a couple of hours I'll give her kaolin pectin.

    Thank you very much for your reply :)

    sheep.jpg
     
  4. Sep 14, 2018 at 2:04 PM
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    Wait for the fecal to come back. One last effort I would make is a round of PenG 2x day for a week. She may have a bacterial infection in the gut and this could very well solve the issue altogether.
    Years ago we brought a goat in and she was from a tested herd, we retested all fine. Ran fecals regularly and no parasite issues however this doe had ploppy poos at the slightest difference in diet. I mean 1/4 cup more food and that could change her poo... too much grass hay or alfalfa or whatever. She was healthy yet always was on the thiner side.
    Again, no parasites. It became kind of a joke yet it was annoying.
    One year we were feeding chaffhaye to some of the goats- we had a bad batch. 4 goats got deathly ill. All went on penng 2x as per our vet. I hated giving shots 2x a day ... 2 goats did not make it but two did. This particular doe took a long time o recuperate BUT after that she never had the issue again. We suspect she had a low lying type infection previously.
    It has now been several years and no issues.
    On an odd note- this goat has always (since we have had her) eats funny. Had several vets look at her and we were going to have an endoscopy done but vet really felt like it wasn't worth doing.
    She still eats strangely but is fine otherwise.

    Just a thought.
     
  5. Sep 14, 2018 at 4:50 PM
    Spidey

    Spidey Just born

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    thats very interesting! For the longest time I was blaming diet changes on the scours. They went from grass hay to alfalfa to fresh pasture to dried up pasture and now they have dried pasture plus local grass hay to supplement. Stress seems sets her off too. Basically looking at her wrong causes her poo's to thin ;) At times I would see mucous in the scours, but not this time. This sheep was bottle fed (by previous owner), so I've often wondered if she didn't have enough good colostrum at birth and her gut is not as strong. I'll send a fecal on Monday and I'll also try to send a fecal of my overfat 6 year old ewe who hasn't been chemically dewormed in over a year. It will be interesting to compare. I will consider the PenG too. Thank you very much for your input and your experience!
     
  6. Sep 14, 2018 at 5:59 PM
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    I didn't realize you were new to the site. Welcome to BYH! :frow

    When you did the Johnes you did PCR... have you considered the fecal.
    Very well could be the colostrum issue.

    I like your idea of learning what you can first. Yes she may need to be culled but at least you will know.
    There are some really good sheep people here.
     
  7. Sep 14, 2018 at 6:10 PM
    Spidey

    Spidey Just born

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    The Johnes test was a fecal test- I believe it was called Fecal PCR, but I might be wrong. We purchased her in October 2017 and I did the test in January of 2018. I read that the fecal Johnes test could catch the disease earlier than the blood test. I really hope it wasn't a false negative. This has been going on for a full year (if not more).

    Thank you for the welcome! We're fairly new to raising sheep and I really appreciate any input or advice. I've had goats in the past (and currently have 2). I love my goats, but sheep are much better behaved!
     
  8. Sep 14, 2018 at 7:31 PM
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    Then you have the wrong goats! :plbb

    It really sounds like you are covering all the major bases.
    Do you know if she had coccidia as a lamb? If she had permanent damage it could be causing some of this.

    Also, just another thought. I mention this because a friend went through this... is there a weed or plant that she may be eating that is causing this? A friend had goats that would get the trots but it was every 3 weeks. Fecals clean, annually tested... it was cyclical. I suggested she call the Ext services and see if it was something on the land and then if not have a high level fecal analysis to see what possible parasite could have the 3 week stage that might cause an issue. She had the extension service come out and they saw two weeds that could cause disruption. Wouldn't kill the goats but could cause the type issues she was having. The agent told her that she couldn't see the goats eating the plants though because they had so much other stuff to eat that goats would generally only eat it if they were starving. Considering the goats had full hay feeders, grain, and more pasture than they could handle it would not make sense for them to eat it.
    Agent left and later that day (or the next) my friend called and said... yeah, I'm watching my well fed goats eat the nasty weeds. :rolleyes:Next day trots! So they were eating the plan down and in 3 weeks it was grown back up. Hence the cyclical trots.

    There are times where there may be something wrong internally, stuff that you just can't see and the animal "looks" normal. Sometimes you simply have a FTT. (Failure to thrive)
    Those animals are best in the freezer.
     
  9. Sep 15, 2018 at 12:38 AM
    Spidey

    Spidey Just born

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    Its possible that she's eating a toxic plant in the pasture. Its a 4 acre pasture that was logged 3 years ago, and when we bought the property last year, we decided to seed the cleared land, fence it in and put the sheep on it. The tree stumps are still there, but the sheep like standing on them :D Its a weedy mess, overgrown with thistle, oxeye daisy, blackberry and some other random things. Every time I set up a new strip to graze, I look for poisonous plants, but that doesn't mean I find them all. This weekend we're going to start seeding behind the sheep, so I will refresh myself on toxic plant identification and look very closely as I walk the pasture.

    That is interesting that coccidia could leave lasting damage. I have no idea if she had coccidia, but if she did, it would explain a lot.

    Thank you again for your input and time- its really nice having new things to consider. I will be sure to update when I receive the fecal results!
     
    Southern by choice likes this.