Sheep down!

Calvin was favoring his right hind leg. Where to go for help?

August 31, 2008

A few days ago, in the midst of a routine check (water and alfalfa pellets; and getting rid of the manure pellets), I was horrified to see Baby Calvin, our beloved ram lamb and second in command to General Firefly, was hobbling on three legs. I went into triage mode: A fractured leg? A sprain? A gash? An abscess in the hoof?

John and I corralled Calvin and took a look. No swelling. No fracture. A tiny abrasion at the top of his hoof. Nothing that a bit of hydrogen peroxide wouldn’t fix.

Time to check in with my sheep compatriots at the Yahoo HFSheep group

Sharing sheep thoughts is a good thing, and here are some we got in response to our questions (I am so appreciative of this listserv):

  • Is he still limping? I think I’d keep an eye on that. Such a small injury shouldn’t cause him that much distress. Maybe he ran into something and that caused the abrasion as well as a good deal of body soreness?
  • I’m leaning towards him having it caught in something, if the wound is so small, yet he’s still limping. When Norman decided to hang upside down from the back fence by his back leg, I thought at first he’d either snapped it or at the very least dislocated his hip, given the awful position it was in. I somehow found the strength to lift him to untangle him from the fence (at nearly 3/4 my entire body weight!)… After a few mins he could put his leg down, but was limping badly. I got him inside and checked him over and could only find a small wound about 1 x 2″, but was more just a wire burn as opposed to a gash… He limped badly for a few days. Then over the next fortnight he improved, to the point where the limping stopped completely… I’d say his limping was due to overworked muscles, like when you go to the gym for the first time…  Is (Calvin) weightbearing on it? If so, I’d give it another week or so and if he’s still limping maybe get it x-rayed, but it sounds similar to what Norman did and if that’s the case, he should be fine.
  • I understand being nervous about the limping. When we first got our mama ewes, maybe a month or so before they were due one got a limp and I thought she was going to go down, and she would be done for! She got over it in about 3 days. I just had another one get gimpy, probably because she hurt herself running away from me and the ointment (she had a rash on her belly). I think she took about 3 days to get over it too. Our ewes have been fighting a lot due to hormones, I assume. Maybe the lamb got in the middle of a bashing contest.
  • Have you checked his temperature? I have had two cases of infections causing a limp and when antibiotic was given in both cases the limp went away as well. Just a thought!

Tonight, Baby Calvin is walking on all four legs and chewing his cud. He’s a good boy and we look forward to seeing him strut his stuff in breeding season. As to the limp: I’m very sure that the Texas soil got to him: big fissures with crevices that might have caught up his leg and pulled a muscle. Happens to the best of us.  And thank you, Hobby Farms discussion list. It’s nice to be surrounded by friends.

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About Sun and Wind Farm

We create colorful hand dyed wool for rug hooking and wool applique.
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