Sheep 5in1 advice and metabolic disorders

4 months ago

 

The days are getting longer, warmer and with a few lambs on the ground already, soon lambing will be in full swing!

 

By now a single dose of 5in1 should have been administrated (2-4 weeks pre-lambing) to your ewes to help protect them and their lambs against clostridial diseases which can be fatal.


Lambs from vaccinated ewes will need their first dose of 5in1 before 6 weeks old and then a second dose 4 weeks later. A booster is then followed annually.

If your lambs are from unvaccinated ewes, they will need Lamb Vaccine at tailing to protect them from Tetanus. They still require two vaccinations of the 5in1 to be protected.

 

Metabolic disorders

Pre/post lambing is when we start to see a few metabolic disorders occur. They often occur when the nutritional needs of the ewe are not adequately met during pregnancy and early lactation.


Below is a breakdown of the 3 main metabolic disorders that can occur:

 

Sleepy Sickness (Ketosis – low energy)
Occurs due to high energy requirements of the ewe and commonly affects those carrying twins or triplets, overweight, underweight or older ewes. Her body begins to absorb body fat for energy and in doing this, toxic ketones are produced as a by-product.

Signs you will see may include:

-          Aimless, staggery walking

-          Not eating, grinding teeth

-          Apparent blindness, twitchy eyes and ears

-          Sweet, sickly smell to breath and milk

-          Separating herself from herd, looking dull

-          Eventually going down

 

First Aid: Provide her with shelter and warmth until you can seek medication from vet. Warmth helps metabolise drugs, speed up recovery and having her close will make it easier for you can monitor her.

 

Milk Fever (Hypocalcaemia – low calcium)
Is a deficiency in calcium caused by sudden change in feed, stress from a sudden weather event or yarding and can occur before and after lambing.

Signs you will see may include:

-          They will be weak and wobbly on their feet, may be lying down with head turned to the side.

-          Glassy eyes

 

These ewes need glucose, calcium and magnesium immediately as their condition can decline rapidly.

First Aid: Provide her with shelter and warmth until you can seek medication from vet. Warmth helps metabolise drugs, speed up recovery and having her close will make it easier for you can monitor her.

 

Grass Staggers (Hypomagnesemia – low magnesium) 
This is due to low magnesium levels accompanied with low calcium levels. Normally due to low magnesium levels in lush spring grass or mineral imbalances in feed.

Signs you will see may include:

-          The ewe will appear nervous/ excitable and have a spastic gait

-          Twitchy facial muscles

-          Sitting on her knees

-          Unable to get up, the back is arched with legs paddling or stiff

First Aid: Move her away from potential hazards (falling, becoming tangled).

If you have any questions or suspect your animal has one of these disorders you can contact the clinic on 03 489 5540 for further assistance.