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  Don Bailey, D.V.M. Vet Check  

    If you’re puzzled about a sheep health problem, write immediately to Dr. Bailey at the above address. He thoughtfully responds by mail to your sheep questions, and some of his answers get published in sheep! to help readers with similar problems.

    Please do not ask Dr. Bailey to practice medicine over the telephone. If you have an immediate problem, call your local veterinarian.

    Always remember to check with Dr. Bailey for a second opinion. Questions sent via E-mail to sheepmagazine@citynet.net will be forwarded to Dr. Bailey.

CDT Vaccines Seem Ineffective

We’ve had a handful of bottle lambs over the seven years that we’ve had sheep. We take great care with them, but we’ve noticed that when we do lose them, it always seems to happen as a result of clostridium, after they’ve received their first CDT shot, but before they’ve received their second. Can you tell us why that would be? Thanks for any insights you can offer.

Barb Wiedenbeck

I would like to know at what age you vaccinate the lambs.

Young lambs are immune competent or able to build their own antibodies at around eight to nine days of age.

Before that the antibodies from the ewe’s first milk might interfere with the vaccine response.

My advice would be to vaccinate the bottle lamb at 10 days of age and then repeat every two weeks for a total of three vaccinations.

There is an anti-serum product you could give with the first vaccination that would give protection right away but could interfere with the toxoid C and D immunity.

The feeding of Aureomycin crumbles should prevent enterotoxemia too. I also would use the C and D without the Tetanus.

Hopefully the lamb’s first milk was from ewes vaccinated with the 8-way.

Johne’s Disease In Sheep

My husband and I have a purebred herd of dairy cattle and are currently the only certified and accredited Johne’s-free herd in North Carolina.

All of the vets here are telling me my sheep—or any sheep—are carriers of this disease. But when I ask sheep breeders about testing their animals for me to purchase, they don’t have any clue about what I am talking about.

If the sheep are carriers, why don’t we shepherds know more or hear more about this issue?

Susan W. Proctor
North Carolina

You are right, Johne’s Disease does occur in sheep and also in deer and goats and, as you know, cattle.

In sheep it is similar to cattle.

Symptoms are: Unthriftiness, chronic diarrhea, and eventually death. With sheep the diarrhea is not watery like cattle, but soft and not formed.

The acid fast bacterium that causes this disease is transmitted from contaminated ground.

In sheep I think it is commonly overlooked with thin ewes going to slaughter and no one follows through to see why they are thin.

Fecal culture is diagnostic.

My last trip to New Zealand I was told that Johne’s is fairly common in sheep there.

Nasal Discharge In Newly Brought-In Ewes

I have bought some Dorper sheep from West Texas this summer. They are very nice, good-looking sheep, but they keep having a nasal discharge.

I have put them with my other Dorper sheep and they are the only ones that have this problem.

What is the cause and what can I do to fix it?

Wilson Kruithoff

It is always recommended to keep newly purchased animals separate until you are satisfied that there is no contagious disease present.

The runny nose could be due to dust or maybe head grubs.

However, with all of the new sheep showing symptoms, I think they have the parainfluenza type 3 virus that is so common in sheep.

This virus leads the way for the Pasteurella bacterium that results in pneumonia.

I don’t want to alarm you, but you should separate the new sheep until the nasal discharge stops. Any sheep from that group that stops eating or grazing should have its temperature taken and be treated with antibiotics if the temperature is up.

Sheep Unable To Gain Balance

I have a small flock of 26 Border Leicester ewes. One has a peculiar problem: Sometimes she can’t get up.

She gets all stretched out, on her side, and can’t regain her balance. If I lift her head, on the level, she seems to have no trouble.

Apparently, if she lies down with her head up and level she doesn’t have a problem.

She sometimes goes for several days, and then all of a sudden is down again.

I talked to the local vet who thought it might be some type of infection.

I tried LA200 but it hasn’t helped.

Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. She’s been a good mother, presently about five years old.

Don Rensenbrim

Your description of your sick ewe would suggest an inner-ear problem.

It is not an infection and is not helped by antibiotics. It is caused by the dislodgment of tiny crystals that are normally present in the balance organ of the inner ear.

When these crystals become dislodged, dizziness occurs. The condition is usually self-limiting and gradually gets better with time.

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