the vet just left...
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