Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Good Morning

We had another awful scare with Marcel yesterday. I can't help but worry that he's a ticking time bomb and when I saw him in distress again, I feared the worst. I immediately gave him some banamine (anti-inflammatory/pain killer) to try and make him comfortable and hoped he'd once again be able to pass the crystal or stone.

**Updated to add that we are also giving SMZs and penicillin because very seldom do you have stones without battling bacteria as well.

He dripped urine for awhile, strained a couple times and then after about 2 hours I saw him pee a stream. The standoff was over. Marcel would probably rather I didn't share such personal details, but if it might help someone else, I'm going to put it out there. I watched him until dark, saw him pee a couple more times and finally headed to the house.



This morning he was out grazing with the rest of the early risers. Whew.



I call it the cottontail check. He has a white tail like a rabbit :-).



And once again the farm seems peaceful and happy.

The lab is not finding anything helpful. The soil and forage samples...don't get me started. I sent over a 2 gallon bucket and "it wasn't enough to test" and they want me to send samples to a lab in Ithaca, NY. Seriously? We have a big ag school here, why? I've had better results dealing with the folks at Purdue. Sigh.

In the meantime, these are the things we've changed here. Sort of a shotgun approach, so hard to say if it's helping and if so what part is helping...

1. Per a sheep nutritionist, all the boys are getting a dose of ammonium chloride every day for a week and then twice a week from here on out. Except Marcel, who's gotten it every day for almost a month and will probably continue every day forever. Normally AC is added into the feed source, but everyone here is way too fat to be eating that much grain. Besides, grain can actually cause the stones, so to me not worth the risk.

Here's my "recipe": 1 teaspoon ammonium chloride (looks like salt and you buy it at the feed store) mixed in 8 ccs of applesauce. At that concentration it will flow through a 12 cc syringe squirted into their mouths. I mix enough for everyone at that ratio and then draw out 10 ccs of mix for each sheep. Please keep in mind that I made this up and may be completely a bad method or the math could be off... Check with your vet. Remember, cookin' ain't my strong suit.

2. While normally you don't feed white salt alongside your sheep mineral mix that has salt included in it, we are wondering if, due to the super hot summer, they've needed more salt and to get that salt, they were over-consuming the mineral mix. They now have a plain white salt block next to their minerals and they are eating both.

Besides, the thinking is if they eat more salt, it should make them more thirsty so they drink more so they pee more. My whole life has become based around how much everyone is peeing and I'm sure everyone would be happy if the peepee stalking could stop. I know I would be, but I'm not sure I'll ever relax again.

3. We had changed from one sheep mineral to another company's sheep mineral. We've changed back to the old brand. Again, not sure if that has anything to do with it, but changing back at least makes me feel better. The lab looked at both labels and didn't see anything wrong.

I realize that part of our problem is we are keeping a lot of pet boys. The odds are stacked against us. The hard facts are boys usually end up on someone's table well before problems show up :-/. However, we'd gone almost 10 years without a problem and now to have so many...that's the mystery.

19 comments:

Misfit in Paradise said...

I used to live near Ithaca. Cornell is a great vet school, maybe they will find the elusive cause of all the problems.

Tombstone Livestock said...

How old were the "boys" when they were neutered? I know one vet suggests waiting until they are 6 months old so their plumbing is more developed.

thecrazysheeplady said...

We stopped banding as babies years ago for that reason and have the vet come out and castrate when they are older. Marcel even got used for breeding out at Dianne's before he was cut. Maybe why he has - so far - been able to pass them.

Michelle said...

I agree; the hot weather/salt-mineral intake/brand change scenario sounds suspect. That, and your last paragraph. For what it's worth, we have also seen years of smooth sailing interspersed with concentrated crises – in both horses and sheep. Just seems to be the way the odds shake out.

Shirley said...

This too shall pass... hopefully without any more crises. You are being vigilant and doing the best you can.

Debbie said...

Thanks for posting your "recipe" for the crystal preventative. I have a group of wethers in my flock just for working dogs, and they are all roly-poly. I've been concerned about crystals because I can't stop the husband from graining them. I will be checking the math and get my vet's go-ahead for doing the same for them.

This year's ram lambs are candidates for the wether pool, and they're still intact. Some time in October (6 mo old) we're going to be castrating them.

I'll share my favorite sheep recipe too. We wormed with COWP this year because of the horrendous parasite problem we have. We used between 2 and 4g of COWP in small capsules, tucked either in a syringe (with the end cut out) of ProBios gel or peanut butter. Both were so well received that we had to mark the faces of the recipients with crayon while they were eating their medicine, because they all innocently would proclaim that they hadn't yet had their share! :) I learned to only put as much goo as needed, and hang on to the syringe really well as they would literally try to steal it and run off with it.

At any rate, I think we have the parasite thing under control, now for preventing crystal issues.

Hugs to Marcel from his Katahdin cousins in WV.

Debbie and crew

flowerweaver said...

Could something have changed in the 'Nilla Wafer recipe??

Alice said...

Looks like you are examining any clues for this mysterious illness that seems to attack the younger males in your flock.
I have no advice, only prayers for strength and discernment as you make your way though this dilemma.

Alice said...

Looks like you are examining any clues for this mysterious illness that seems to attack the younger males in your flock.
I have no advice, only prayers for strength and discernment as you make your way though this dilemma.

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

I admire you for keeping your sheep as "pets" instead of dinner! They're still giving back with their wool and mowing your fields :-}}. I do hope that you have found what the problem is and it's all behind you!

Sheepmom said...

You are doing all that an excellent shepherd can do - be vigilant, be willing to consider all possibilities, test everything, seek professional assistance and treat as best you can. A year with extreme weather really stresses animals in ways that you don't readily see until some time has passed. I'm so sorry you have had losses, but it's not because you were lax or negligent - changing conditions bring strange reactions sometimes. Hopefully you will get real answers, or at least not have further losses (but answers would be great - then you know which thing you did worked!).

Hang in there.

Sheepmom said...

PS. Your pictures this morning are lovely!

Christine said...

Interesting, very interesting.

Terry said...

I know nothing about sheep except...they're pretty. So this may not apply.

We live in the arid West, and our equine vet says we shouldn't use a mineral block. There are so many minerals in our soil, and he doesn't want them getting too much. We have the white salt blocks in our stalls, and we put a small amount of salt and lite salt in their feed, but the red blocks are a no-no for us.

gowestferalwoman said...

:( Im so sorry to hear about Sherman and Blizzard ((((hugs to crazy sheep lady and sheepies!)))) :(


IMO Sounds like something is going on with the feed - whether it be the forage, the blocks, or even the water source - something from the outside is working on their insides making those stones. I always wonder about our water here as its highly mineralized - enough to where they recommend people with high blood pressure not to drink it due to the high sodium levels...anyhow but hey, I know for equines that some pee blockages can be due to super high protein levels - do sheep have the same issues with high protein feeds such as alfalfa etc? will be keeping you in our thoughts and best wishes!!!

Far Side of Fifty said...

It sounds like you have done your research and that you are headed in the right direction. My 2 cents worth may not count..I wonder what a normal PH is for a sheep?? From experience I had to change my PH by drinking lemonade so that I will not produce Kidney Stones..it also works for my daughter. We are stone makers..so people are and some people are not. The solution besides lemonade is lots of water..lots of water...to flush out your system and get rid of anything whilst it is small.
I bet your situation w3as worsened by the heat, the drought..grass had less moisture in it.. the sheep needed what water they took in and did not pee it out..and got stones..at least the stone makers did. Just my 2 cents worth. Keep good feed and mineral records from year to year with the weather data too..and I hope Marcel keeps improving:)

Mary said...

I'm glad Marcel improved, and was able to graze with his flock mates. I love his tail. How sweet. Makes him special. Of course, all sheep are wonderful in their own ways. Have you ever seen him leap like a bunny? :) It sounds like you take excellent care of your animals, and i'm sure they love you for it.

Tiggeriffic said...

Passing a kidney stone has got to be painful~! Sorry Marcel..
Hope you get things fiqured out soon.
Love the pictures they looked so cool~!
Have a great day ~ ta ta for now from Iowa:)

Ed said...

Glad to hear Marcel is doing better and the foggy morning shots are great..:-)

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