Thursday, March 15, 2012

the vet just left...

My neighbor Shelly (farm veterinarian of immeasurable compassion) just left. We had spent the past hour out in the rain, tending to a Cotswold ewe I discovered cast on her back after my evening jog. She was fine when I headed down the mountain, but when I returned to my driveway, panting and chest heaving from the mile run uphill, I saw a pile of wool and four hooves in the air by the lower gate.

Not good.

I thought she was just stuck, so I went to her and tried to turn her upright. She just shook a bit and leaned back over. Something was wrong, but she wasn't dying. She seemed to be in great pain and I saw her swollen belly and thought it was bloat. I called the vet then, and Shelly came up the road in her vet truck in moments.

In the rain we checked her pulse, eyes, temperature and I held her while Shelly felt for broken bones. She said nothing was broken, nothing was bloated. She had okay color under her eyelids (white eyelids are signs of ketosis) and she seemed t want to eat at the hay she was presented. Shelly thought it might be tetanus or a hard blow from another sheep that sent her flailing and bruised, cast her over and shook her up. She was given anti-toxin and antibiotics (just in case) and together we carried her up to a private sheep shed on the hill. Our feet digging into the mud (me still in my running shoes!) and set her on her own dry bed of hay.

It was dark. We sat with her in the lantern light and talked in the little sheep shed. The cotswold was looking for food, alert enough to want to eat and chewing on her hay bed. My gut tells me she will be okay. She was nothing like the sick sheep I put down, or the lamb with pneumonia from the early summer. She seemed okay, just hurt or drunk. Like as if we caught her the day after a party where she twisted her ankle but was still wicked hungry.

She wasn't due until May if she was pregnant, and so Ketosis was nearly ruled out by Shelly. She thought it was a systemic kind of tetanus, or possibly a really bad blow from another sheep that knocked the wind out of her and left her ragged. Whatever it is, I will be checking on her through the night. If she doesn't make it, she'll be tested for rabies and buried out where the ones who left before her went.I am soaked. I am tired. I am proud I did all I could.

Wish this little girl luck. Wish this shepherd good luck, too.

I am heading up the hill with a bucket of honey water right now.

photo by 468photography.com

33 Comments:

Blogger Matt_Middleton said...

Good luck to you and her :)

March 15, 2012 at 8:23 PM  
Blogger pawsfurme said...

Was it Maude??? I thought you only had Sal, Maude and Joseph?

March 15, 2012 at 8:24 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

there are 14 sheep here. Sal, Maude, Joseph, 5 Scottish Blackface Ewes, a blackface ram, a blackface wether, and four cotswold ewes.

March 15, 2012 at 8:40 PM  
OpenID jessieimproved said...

Sending good thoughts your way. I had to mercy kill a wounded rat in my driveway today and thought that was emotional. I really have no idea.

March 15, 2012 at 8:42 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Been one of those days where it happens fast! I'll pray for her.

March 15, 2012 at 8:49 PM  
Blogger Catharine said...

Sending healing thoughts your way. Godspeed sheep and shepherd!

March 15, 2012 at 9:08 PM  
Blogger Flartus said...

Good shepherd, good vet...good luck.

March 15, 2012 at 9:12 PM  
Blogger J.D. said...

Wishing ewe and you a peaceful night and a joyful sweet hay-filled dawn.

March 15, 2012 at 9:38 PM  
Blogger J.D. said...

Wishing ewe and you a peaceful night and a joyful sweet hay-filled dawn.

March 15, 2012 at 9:38 PM  
Blogger Debi said...

Sending healing energy her way...Hope she makes a full and speedy recovery!

March 15, 2012 at 9:47 PM  
Blogger DarcC said...

Healing energy for ewe and you!

March 15, 2012 at 10:24 PM  
Blogger Cait said...

All the best through the night, Jenna. We haven't had that before with our sheep (although we're only 1.5 years into shepherding) but you are certainly taking good care of her. Hoping for the best for the two of you, we're thinking of you!

March 15, 2012 at 10:33 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Jenna, I will be saying some prayers for the ewe and you tonight. I hope she will be ok. I'm glad you found her when you did. Those sheep seem to get into alot of trouble and need us more than they think. Hoping for a good night for you both.

March 15, 2012 at 10:46 PM  
Blogger Nerissa said...

I hope she is up and about tomorrow am. Its so luck that you have a vet living so closely to you.

I wanted to share that tonight I had my first rabbit dinner. It was delish, breaded and baked with honey mustard sauce. Me and the sweetie loved it and ate the whole bun but after the meal were a little in awe that this was the same bunny we had celebrated being born in a snow storm. Very exciting night for us.

I wanted to thank you for making it seem possible and altogether sane at the same time. I wouldn't know the joys of rabbit flesh cared for and loved by my own hands if it weren't for your blog.

March 15, 2012 at 11:22 PM  
Blogger Trekout2 said...

Good luck ewe I hope you make it

March 15, 2012 at 11:50 PM  
Blogger Weez said...

Gosh, I hate it when something happens to our own. And yeah Jenna , you should be proud for doing everything you could. Not every one would have. Warm and healing thoughts to you and the sheep way.

March 16, 2012 at 2:13 AM  
Blogger Bovey Belle said...

I hope she pulls through. Wanting to eat is at least a positive sign.

March 16, 2012 at 4:36 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

She's still alive this morning, but it doesn't look good. I'm heading back up there with a syringe or two and hoping another dose of meds helps.

March 16, 2012 at 5:57 AM  
Blogger seagoddess said...

It's morning now and I hope that the ewe made it thru the night okay and that you did,too

March 16, 2012 at 7:16 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

it doesn't look good. i'm running to try some glycerin in her, and the vet will be here at 9

March 16, 2012 at 8:17 AM  
Blogger kwdiving said...

What a rough way to start the day. Our thoughts are with you and the ewe. Hang in there.

March 16, 2012 at 8:20 AM  
OpenID meatbagz said...

sending good vibes to both of you....

March 16, 2012 at 8:21 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

Jenna - hope the ewe is well.

Unrelated - I am catching up on blogs in my lunchtime, and what do I see, but one of my blog-ladies (as I think of the collective in my mind) is reading a book written by... yourself.
Take a peek at the 1st photo - Made from Scratch goes to the British seaside :) (I'm sure you've seen it all over the place, but I hope you still get a kick out of it).
http://acheerfullivingadventure.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/skiving-at-the-seaside/

March 16, 2012 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

Has the flock been vaccinated against tetanus? Good luck with the ewe.

March 16, 2012 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Tina - Our Rustic Roots said...

Best of luck!

March 16, 2012 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Montero said...

Jenna - Had something similar with a year old ewe. The vet never could put a name to it.

It took a lot of nursing but with a whacking great dose of antibiotics, b-vit injections, and syringing soluvits into her to keep her hydrated, she pulled through. It took two weeks in a stable, and a lot of time, but worth it IMHO if she's valuable breeding stock (my sick ewe recovered and produced two healthy ewe lambs this year)

Good luck.

March 16, 2012 at 12:02 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

If she's pregnant, could it be hypocalcemia?

March 16, 2012 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

My sheep have been vaccinated for tetanus, i was told these sheep I acquired were just vaccinated when I bought them, so they may be due.


She is getting anti-toxin for tetanus, and 30ml of Prop Pen G a day (vets orders).

She was eating grain with her head up earlier. I am hopeful.

such a crazy morning....will post about it all later if I'm still standing at the end... 50 meat birds, rearing horses, sick sheep, bunnies, brooder prep...

ACK!

March 16, 2012 at 12:32 PM  
Blogger Tiffrz-N-Kidz said...

Some mornings are like this, huh? Hang in there, lady. It'll all work out. :-)

March 16, 2012 at 12:45 PM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

Well at least it happened on your day off. I generally don't trust the vaccination status on new animals, so I go ahead and vaccinate anyways. If it is tetanus, hopefully the antitoxin will take care of it. Did your vet run a fecal? May be helpful to see if there's anything in there, since not all parasites cause anemia.

March 16, 2012 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger Noël McNeil said...

So sorry to hear about your sheep! Sick animals are always trying...they can't literally tell you what's wrong. You are doing your best and that's is all you can do. Easier said than done, I know. Keep us updated and hopefully she'll be up on her feet in no time!

March 16, 2012 at 2:50 PM  
Blogger damnyankee said...

Well, like my husband says, "if its not one thing its 62." Good luck with her Jenna...

March 16, 2012 at 3:37 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

SO far so good. She is eating, drinking, but still can't get up. But she is sitting up, her head up, eyes bright.

She's gotten plenty of vet attention, drugs, feed, care and a special dry place to heal. Up to the powers that be, now.

March 16, 2012 at 7:25 PM  

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