Friday, March 30, 2012

bloody sheep

I came home bloody sheep. You can't know how unsettling that sight is. Sal's face was half covered, as if he was william wallace himself, in bright red blood. So was Maude, so were others. My heart felt like my lungs were squeezing it, stopping everything from working. I ran to the flock, panicked, and Sal walked right up to me and calmly nudged my pockets for treats. He was acting like an extra on a monster movie set, in costume, but in reality totally placid. My heart rate slowly returned to normal. He was covered in blood, but it wasn't his.

I scanned the flock and saw a Blackface ewe with more blood than the others. I got closer and saw the skin below her horn (but not the horn itself) had a wide gash in it. It looked like it got the bad side of another sheep's horn, or got slashed by a fence wire...who knows... I have no idea what happened and I never will. I did know it didn't look pleasant. So I went into farm-EMT mode and set up a comfy spot for her in the solitary confinement pen. I wanted her where she couldn't hurt herself any more or get into and more scuffles with the other sheep over grain, minerals or hay. I also wanted her where the vet could easily treat her.

If you think catching a bleeding sheep is easy, then you haven't tried it lately. And that is all I'll say about that.

She's doing better now, and the blood is off the other sheep. The vet said the wound was too old for stitches, but she should heal herself long as it gets proper cleansing, anti-toxin, and to be extra safe some antibiotics to fight infection. I think she'll pull through with one badass scar, but it sure was scary. It is getting easier though, dealing with this side of farming. It is 90% timing and 10% luck.

Has anyone experience with these open wounds on your livestock? Does nature heal well, or did you need to step in with butterfly clips and Neosporin?

29 Comments:

Blogger Dawn said...

Not sure if you can use this on sheep but i have had great results with a product called Banixx on my horses. It is a clear spray with no odor so you feel like you are just spraying water on their wound but it really works (anti-bacterial, anti-fungal.) It was developed here in NC but I assume you can get it all over. It won all kinds of awards when released so it has helped a lot of animals. That and another product called Wonder Dust (great for preventing proud flesh) are my go-tos for any wound on any animal I have be they cat, dog, goat, horse, or even chicken. Good luck!

March 30, 2012 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger Mindy said...

Not an open wound per se but I came home to one of my pigs with a very gnarly abscess once. I knew at the time that you can lance an abscess to drain it but in the hot summer heat and moisture I was afraid it would get infected if I did. A woman at my local grainery directed me to blue cote (for smaller mammals - but they also make red cote - large livestock) which protects open wounds from infection, like neosporine but blue. It was definitely a daunting task to catch the pig, lance the wound and spray the disinfectant but it worked out and the pig went about her merry way, abscess free. I definitely enjoyed a stiff drink afterwards and that's not half as scary as a bloody sheep.

March 30, 2012 at 10:05 PM  
Blogger itchy feet said...

We have had good luck using raw honey to heal wounds on sheep. I had a ewe with a horrible wound, caused by a dog. We cleaned it every day as used raw honey on it and it healed well.

March 30, 2012 at 10:19 PM  
Blogger Meagan said...

I don't have sheep, but have routinely treated wounded ducks and chickens around here. Nature does not take care of herself... soap and water does, as well as Neosporin or blue cote. I also use an anti-fly ointment, but that's not a worry during these colder seasons. Good luck!

March 30, 2012 at 10:40 PM  
Blogger Rosie said...

A beautiful roam filly was playing with a gate hook used on the pipe sliding latches in the cattle sorting pens she pulled back and hooked herself on the lip. By the time we found her we had to re open it and use metal staples to close it. Poor thing has a fat lip.

March 30, 2012 at 11:25 PM  
Blogger E said...

We were handed a lamb with a deep puncture wound with maggots.

Cut fleece around wound, antibiotics, flushed twice a day with the hose. Wound powder, maybe I don't remember. After 2 weeks he was well on his way to recovery. He never seemed much bothered by any of it.

March 31, 2012 at 12:30 AM  
Blogger Jasmine said...

Jenna my dear, only you would compare a sheep named sal who holds dulcimers on his back to a fairly obscure Scottish war hero.

The raw honey idea sounds good.
No livestock experience, yet(!) but my cat had a half dollar sized HOLE in his skin, muscle wasn't touched, but this bizarre cleanish round ish hole in his pelt... I used calendula compresses and neosporin to great effect.

March 31, 2012 at 1:17 AM  
Blogger MB said...

any kind of wound ointment should help - basic antibacterial. Also I recommend "swat" to put around the wound to keep flys away (I got with the pink stuff to see it easier).

March 31, 2012 at 2:19 AM  
Blogger April said...

Not livestock problems but.... I woke up one morning with the living room covered in blood.

First thing I though was WHERE IS THE CAT!

The Boots the cat was fine. Cricket the dog had been chewing up the bushes and got a splinter stuck in his stomach and he spent the night throwing up to remove it. It took hours to get it all cleaned up.

Cricket was fine too no permanent damage from the splinter

March 31, 2012 at 5:44 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

raw honey?!?!

I have SWAT and will look into Blue Cote today, thank you all!

March 31, 2012 at 7:26 AM  
Blogger Kelpie and Collie said...

Keep it clean and if it is very deep she should get penicillin. Try and look around the fence for the problem - look for wool caught in it- sheep always leave a wool calling card where they tangle with fence.

March 31, 2012 at 7:38 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

I have no large livestock here, either, but yes... raw honey is amazing for humans and animals alike. I even wash my face with it, daily. I don't like to use a lot of medications on my animals and many essential oils (which I use for us humans) can possibly harm cats and dogs, so raw honey it is... anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, etc.

March 31, 2012 at 7:40 AM  
Blogger Marci said...

We found a spray called Wound Heal. A friend told us about it. It works great.

March 31, 2012 at 7:42 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

It depends on the wound. Our Nubians' ears are pretty susceptible to injury (being long and pendulous as they are). Ear tears we generally clean and treat with iodine and a wound spray and they heal just fine on their own (even bad ones). Unfortunately these are the worst kind of wounds to deal with because their ears are really sensitive - they hurt, and the goats get really bent out of shape when we need to handle them. We also had a goat that got a huge hole torn in her flank - NO idea how. Skin hanging, insides exposed, the whole nine yards. It was really bad, and yet she stood around, cool as a cucumber like nothing had happened. We dressed it with an absorbent pad and wrapped an ace bandage all the way around her middle to hold it in place and took her to the vet, where they knocked her out and stitched her up. She was completely fine! Oh, we also had a goat with an abscess. After much consideration and research, we opted to not do anything (reading that lancing them can be risky business and that they usually go away on their own). It didn't seem to bother her and eventually went away. We won't ever neglect our animals, but we do lean toward the "less is more" side when it comes to intervention.

March 31, 2012 at 8:05 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Veterinarian here...

Raw honey does tend to work well but you must be very careful that it does not get into her eyes. Blue-Kote was more helpful as an insect repellent than anything else in my hands - if the flies are out where you are I would use it instead of honey. If you can't be comfortable with exactly where the wound is that the honey won't drip down into her eyes when you're away I would instead gently wash the wound with warm water and a mild soap twice a day. If the area starts to get warm and puffy call your vet back out for a pen injection. Have your sheep been vaccinated for tetanus?

March 31, 2012 at 8:13 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

My horse ripped open his leg 2 weeks ago kicking in a wall. Cut it right to the bone. I gave him antibiotics and bute for 7 days. I also spray the wound with Vetricyn (vetricyn.com-an antibiotic spray). It works great for all animals! Keeping it clean and letting it heal is always a challenge to avoid infection but so far so good.

March 31, 2012 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger Beth of the Rocks said...

Honey has antibiotic properties. And if you're ever in a jam (wait for the pun), the ancient Egyptians used to put moldy bread on humans when they were hurt to speed healing of injuries. You all know what comes from moldy bread.

And a big thanks to your readers who have commented here, I'll be noting the products you use so I can get them myself when I have livestock.

March 31, 2012 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

thank you all!

Yes, they have been vaccinated, but that was 10 months ago - my vet said to always keep anti-toxin and pro pen around just in case.

she seems better this morning. The wound closed on its own, which is comforting. SHe seems annoyed to be penned.

I'll look for the thing that caused the snag, but it was on her face, so there wasn't the tell-tale wool in the cut. But I will look harder! Jasper is in that big pasture now so he'll enjoy an afternoon walk with me to look for wool on fence!

March 31, 2012 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Meredith said...

Our dog had a pretty bad cut on his paw last year, and after a few rounds of staples that he ripped out, I talked to my brother and he recommended EMT gel (there's a spray, too). It smells horrible and as far as I know has no antibiotic properties, but it contains collagen and encourages wounds to heal more quickly from inside. It worked wonders and actually left him without a scar. Maybe better to use later when infection is less of a concern.

March 31, 2012 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Blue Coat is GREAT to use. Plus, the other animals won't notice the blood.

Best of luck!!

March 31, 2012 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger City Sister said...

I once had a chicken pecked so badly that I could see her skull and spine down to wing level...She's now the top bird...all she needed was time and blue kote.

March 31, 2012 at 11:05 AM  
Blogger becky said...

when the roo would tear up the backs of your hens up to bad we would put bag balm on it helps keeps the flies away

March 31, 2012 at 12:12 PM  
Blogger Kristy said...

I had an angora (goat) doeling with an injured ear Christmas Eve. (I'm guessing someone bit it.) Even though I tried to keep it clean it still got infected pretty bad (too much going on with the holidays). Along with antibiotics and all, each time I cleaned it I put a paste in the wounds made of sugar and iodine. It helps draw out the infection.

March 31, 2012 at 8:20 PM  
Blogger Tiffrz-N-Kidz said...

I have done both but with something deep, the vet had to do a drain and it was gross. The last two lacerations here were a dog and a turkey. The dog had a chunk torn out of her side and the vet just clipped the flap and put her on antibiotics and gave me a salve. The hole was about the size of a silver dollar on her hip, at just grew back together. Now, the turkey did not rate a trip to the vet, (haters can just hate me, but it's a turkey) and she was ripped open across her back like something took hold of her tail and tried to tear her butt off. I sprayed the 18 inch long 3 inch wide tear with wound kote and prayed. About 2 weeks later she was still alive and the wound was only about 8 inches long so I zapped it with the purple stuff again and sent up another prayer to the universe and she's still tromping around.

March 31, 2012 at 10:48 PM  
Blogger Tiffrz-N-Kidz said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 31, 2012 at 10:49 PM  
Blogger Pihl Pastures said...

So weird! On the exact same day I came out to a very bloody ram! When he was a baby he had been disbudded, but they had since grown back a little. I think he must have gotten one of the horns caught no the fence and freaked out because he ripped the whole horn off right down tot he skull. Blood running down his face.....very scary. Used cornstarch to stop the bleeding and WoundKote for antiseptic/antibiotic measures. He was still sore, but looked great by the next morning. I have to say, I still freak out and get overly paranoid whenever anything happens to one of my sheep.

April 1, 2012 at 7:54 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

"Manuka Honey" is the kind most recommended for wound care by alternative practitioners. I buy it at Whole Foods (it's pricey, not something to put in your tea)although some say any Raw (non-processed)Honey will work. I wouldn't use it on an animal, since there are vet meds that will work. The Manuka Honey is often used to treat MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) a staph bacteria that does not respond to most antibiotics.

April 2, 2012 at 9:06 AM  
Blogger finnsheep said...

A big thing would be to keep insects out of the wound with a pyrethrin spray or even a few drops of ivermectin wormer.

April 2, 2012 at 10:45 AM  
Blogger Ann W. said...

I volunteer at a farm and the people there use a spray on sheep wounds that is purple. It seems to work very well. A lamb had an ear chewed off--it was sprayed with the purple stuff and it healed fine. It may be Blue-Kote. It seals the wound.

April 2, 2012 at 1:54 PM  

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