Thursday, March 27, 2014

Eye Diseases in Lambs


Pinkeye in lambs is caused by chlamydia and mycoplasma bacteria.
Pinkeye is contagious and infected lambs should be removed from the flock until they have recovered.
The infection may last a few days to several weeks.
Moderate to severe infections require antibiotics. Mild infections may clear up by themselves. The first sign of pinkeye infection is the reddening and swelling of the lining of the eye. There will be a discharge with tearing and matted eyes.The eyes will be sensitive to light and will tear up. The lamb may close its eyes when exposed to sunlight.The lamb suffers pain when infected with pinkeye. The eye may cloud over and develop a painful ulcer. The severe infections will cause the eyes to rupture and lead to blindness.
It cannot be transferred from lambs to humans. It is transmitted by flies, dust and other nasty things that are living in your lambing shed.
The best prevention of pinkeye is good clean husbandry of your stock.

General Eye Infection

The lamb may suffer a bacterial eye infection due to an irritant. If a foreign objects such as dust, stone or seed get lodged in the lambs eye it can lead to a bacterial infection. A discharge from the eye will be a sign of infection. Topical antibiotics may be required to clear the infection.


This is when the lambs eyelid is turned in.
This problem is found in all breeds of sheep male and female.
Its most commonly found in the lower eyelid.
The  cornea may be  damaged which can lead to blindness.
This condition needs to be treated as soon as possible.
The lamb suffers pain with this condition.
The turned in eyelids lashes will irritate the eye causing ulcerations.
It is a congenital disease that  is thought to be inherited but this fact has not been proven.
First sign of the problem  is a weepy eye. The cornea may be cloudy
Topical antibiotics should be used to avoid infections.
A lamb with this problem should not be selected for breeding.

Treatment of Entropian

Treatment involves the injecting of 1ml of slowly absorbed antibiotic under the skin of the lower lid with a thin tipped needle.

Saline can be injected into the bottom eyelid to create a bubble. A small amount of saline is used. This method streches out the eyelid.

In very mild cases manual eversion may work. Eyelids should be dried and a fold of skin close to the eyelid margin should be pressed briefly and firmly between the finger and thumb.This eversion should be repeated several times a day. A topical lubricant should be applied to protect the cornea. You are basicly rolling the eyelid out.

The younger the lamb the more successful these types of treatments are. As the younger lambs lids are softer and more pliable.

In more advanced cases the surgical removal of an elliptical piece of skin with suturing will be required.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Main Health Problems Suffered By Lambs

This is caused due to a bacterial infection. It may be treated with antibiotic's.

Bacterial Meningitis
Lambs may get this at 2 to 4 weeks of age. Inadequate intake of colostrum makes the lamb more susceptible to this infection. The lamb will hold his head rigidly downward when infected.

Common cause of death in young lambs. Lambs cannot regulate their temperature during the first day and a half of life. Lambs need to be in a clean draft free environment protected by their mother.

Copper Deficiency 
The lamb will have difficulty walking and standing.

Enterotoxemia Type C
It is a bacteria found in the soil. You need to vaccinate the ewe against this before lambing. Infection arrives when there is  a change in feeding. It causes bleeding in the small intestine of young lambs.

Enterotoxemia Type D
The ewe needs to be vaccinated against this before lambing. Overfeeding of the lamb causes the bacteria that are already present in the lambs gut to suddenly proliferate causing a deadly infection. Lambs one month and older are prone to this disease.

Border Disease Also known as fuzzy lamb syndrome.
This effects new born lambs. Its caused by a virus. They tremble uncontrollably and have a fuzzy coat. There is no treatment.

This is  due to an iodine deficiency in the ewe's diet. The lambs thyroid gland swells. The lambs neck will appear larger or it will have a lump on its neck. Lambs born with goiter will be weak, have trouble feeding and will have no wool.

E.Coli Scours
Affects new lambs when the shed is unsanitary. Keep the lambs living area clean. Treatment involves antibiotics and hydration of the lamb. Also known as watery mouth as the sick lambs will salivate excessively and have cold mouths.

Scours Also known as diarrhea
May be due to an infection, stress, overfeeding or a change in diet. Death due to dehydration is a risk with scours. Ensure that your lamb is kept hydrated.Give the lamb liquids with electrolytes.

Spider Syndrome
Causes lambs to have malformed bones.

White Muscle Disease 
This is due to the ewe or lamb lacking in vitamin e or selenium at times both. It is treated by injecting the lamb or ewe with vitamin e or selenium or both. It is  best to prevent this disease by ensuring that the ewe and lamb have a diet rich in vitamin e and selenium. The lamb may suffer from an arched back tucked in flank and stiff hind legs.

The infected lamb will have laboured breathing and a fever. Good farming practices should prevent this. Lambs usually suffer pneumonia due to inadequate housing or being exposed bad weather conditions. A build up of ammonia in the shed along with dust increases the lambs risk of pneumonia.

Foot Scald
A bacterial infection that causes lameness in lambs. Long wet pastures are more prone to foot scald. Antibiotic spray or foot baths can be used to treat the infection.
Scabby Mouth
A contagious  viral infection but there are vaccines. Painful scabs form around the lambs mouth.

This can be fatal for the lamb but treatable if caught on time. Its caused by the overfeeding of grain to young lambs. Acid builds up in the gut and bloodstream. Some signs of it are high fever and  diarrhea. Drenching the lamb with water and baking soda is a common treatment.

Sadly this is a fatal disease with no known cure. Effects the lambs central nervous system.

Internal Parasites
Hygienic farming practices will prevent this potentially fatal infection of internal practices. When infected with parasites the lamb will suffer from diarrhea and depression. Their digestive system will be damaged.Treatment involves hydration and access to a heat lamp or warm kitchen fire.

Joint or Navel Ill
This disease is preventable by dipping or spraying the lambs navel with iodine. When infected the lambs navel may be red and swollen. They will have hot, painful joints and suffer from a fever. Penicillin is a known treatment.