Unexplained intestinal cysts - Have you ever seen this before? (graphic picture)

Childwanderer

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My yearling ewe had been spilling cud/leaving puddles of green drool, and had a sore on the corner of her mouth where the cud was leaking out. The shearers said it was most likely caused by an abscessed tooth. I took her to the vet, who looked at her and said that while she was missing a tooth, there was no abscess and the most likely cause was Orf. He said that he could prescribe isolation, steroids, and antibiotics to help her fight it while protecting the herd, but we agreed that simply butchering a little early (she was earmarked to go in September, being the slowest-growing of the lamb crop) would be appropriate.

I butchered her, but while the rest of the carcass looked fine, there were many small, firm cysts on the outer surface of her lower intestine, from just near the anus to about a foot and a half from it. (See photo for example.)

I don't see how Orf could cause either the cud-spilling or the intestinal cysts, but I can see how constantly spilling rumen contents could make the corner of her mouth raw and inflamed. I also doubt the Orf diagnosis on the grounds that her condition, though it seemed to get better and then worse again, was not self-limiting over the course of a few months and neither her herdmates (including nursing lambs, older ewes, peers, and a ram) nor her human caretakers have shown any signs of infection. I will look for a picture of her mouth and post it if I can.

Orf wouldn't condemn a carcass for household consumption, but mystery digestive disease might. Any ideas what was going on with this sheep? I made sure to dispose of the entrails where my dog couldn't access them. I kept the sample of intestine in question, but unfortunately I put it in the freezer before I realized doing so would make the sample useless to the A&M necropsy people.
 

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Childwanderer

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She was neither exceptionally fat nor underweight, and she was not anemic. Her behavior was normal except that I caught her licking the dirt around a rusty fence-post once, which may account for a rusty brown tinge to the cud stain on her jaw.
 

farmerjan

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Have never seen this in person... but it is possible that the cysts were part of the cycle of the tapeworm(?)... hydatid cysts.. or something to that effect... You would have to read up on it more... I googled it and it shows up... I was looking for cysts in sheep intestines...

Basically, except for the liver and heart and blood related organs... I see no problem with eating the meat as long as it is cooked.

I see no reason not to eat the meat. Fully cooked will kill tapeworm... that is why they say never to eat raw or undercooked pork... they are a host in the cycle too....
Been many years since I studied up on diseases in a more intense way... I couldn't even pull up orf disease in my head at first since we always just called it sore mouth.
 

Childwanderer

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Have never seen this in person... but it is possible that the cysts were part of the cycle of the tapeworm(?)... hydatid cysts.. or something to that effect... You would have to read up on it more... I googled it and it shows up... I was looking for cysts in sheep intestines...

Basically, except for the liver and heart and blood related organs... I see no problem with eating the meat as long as it is cooked.

I see no reason not to eat the meat. Fully cooked will kill tapeworm... that is why they say never to eat raw or undercooked pork... they are a host in the cycle too....
Been many years since I studied up on diseases in a more intense way... I couldn't even pull up orf disease in my head at first since we always just called it sore mouth.
That is my thought, but it looked so far outside my own experience I wanted to see if anyone could second me. Thank you!
 

Childwanderer

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I agree only info I can find is tapeworms or Giardiasis. I would make sure you freeze all the meat for 10-14 days(frozen solid) before eating any of it. That should make if safe to eat if it is tapeworms from info on Mr. googlepants.
Can you share the link for any info you found on Giardiasis?
 

Childwanderer

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I think I need to order fecal tests on my flock. I recently noticed some diarrhea, and I know the sheep drink from the ponds as well as from their trough. :rolleyes::he Giardia is starting to make sense...
 

misfitmorgan

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Can you share the link for any info you found on Giardiasis?
Unfortunately the first link is mercks and is mostly about dogs/cats and their roll in spreading the parasite
https://www.merckvetmanual.com/digestive-system/giardiasis-giardia/overview-of-giardiasis

This link is more directly about livestock but good to look at both.
https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/57074

Would definitely get a fecal test done, it could be any parasite or cocci causing diarrhea.
 

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