URGENT! dying lamb in our loungeroom!

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URGENT! dying lamb in our loungeroom!

Querencia's picture
Joined: 21/10/2017

Hello! Desperately seeking some advice on one of our dorper lambs, who is rapidly declining...

Lamb is 6weeks old, single birth with no complications, mother doing well. No troubles at all until about 3 days ago when the lamb began scouring. Has been on mixed native pasture, with afternoon feeds of Lucerne. Yesterday was marking day, so We bought him in and after marking, gave him 1 ml of abermectin before returning him to the lamb yard. 

Today he is extremely unwell. We found him in the yard this morning, after a rainy night, shaking uncontrollably, not feeding, lethargic and...silent. (Eeeep!) 

We bought him inside, assuming he had been chilled through the night and gave him a dose of vitamin C to help his little immune system out, and attempted to give him a tiny supplementary feed, (MAYBE 5ml) which he bareley accepted...after an hour or so inside, out of the wind, his shaking had almost completely stopped and we returned him to his mother. He did not suckle when we returned him.

After checking on him again this afternoon, he was back to uncontrolled shaking, more lethargic than before. We bought him back up to the house for another warm up and since then he has gotten much worse. While earlier today, he was agitated being inside and was keen to hop off my husbands lap as we examined him, this afternoon, he actually fell asleep as he was held. He's now totally unable to stand on his front legs and  seems to have...given up? 

We have checked him all over for any lesions (none), his temp seems to be OK, his colouration in gums and eyes is fine, he seems able to swallow, breathing is shallow and fast and we can't stop him shaking. He is also unable to lift and support his head....


Any advice on what may be happening and what we can do to help would be ENORMOUSLY appreciated! 


cowbloke's picture
Joined: 14/10/2017

Hate to say it, but putting him down quickly is probably the answer.


Farming is like that, and you're probably best off putting your efforts into your strong and healthy lambs.

admin's picture
Joined: 28/02/2011


Welcome to the forum, i would have to agree with Cowbloke. I have seen many lambs get into this condition and the best thing is to humanley put them down, it is difficult to do but it is worse to see them suffer for a number of days.



Querencia's picture
Joined: 21/10/2017

Hello, and thank you both for responding. The little guy died within an hour of posting my question. Had I have known how serious it was, I would have definitely put the poor little bugger out of his misery. (Hindsight and all that!) We are still super keen to figure out the cause of the illness/death. We have 20 or so lambs on the ground who are all in top condition and in our (fairly limited) experience, we haven't seen such a rapid decline and death before, without more obvious symptoms. Any suggestions as to the possible cause would be very helpful at this point? Thanks guys!

ray77's picture
Joined: 07/11/2017

We have had a few lambs that have had similar issues. We have found that they had an infection. Most have survived after recieving a week on antibiotics. Hope that helps.


barb's picture
Joined: 23/11/2011

Hi so sorry, the lamb died. It sounds to me as if it was an infection of some sort or else perhaps it had been hit by something and may have had internal bleeding. The other thought that came to mind, was had it been drenched for tape worm and round worm since birth? Inernal parasite infection could cause this, although if the gums and conjunctiva were still pink, then it would rule out round worm infection, probably infection or internal injury would be a possible cause. It might be a good idea, if next time, you were to have a vet. examine the lamb, as it may be a contagious condition, which may spread to the rest of the stock.I would also suggest having a faecal egg count (worm egg count) done on the rest of the stock. He may have had a parasite called cocidea which will cause scoring, especially in young sheep and goats. I do them for producers, but you may be too far away from me, to able to do it. Although, samples can be posted to me. If you are interested let me know and I will tell you how to go about it and the cost, as it will be arranged through Farm Style.

Regards Barb Vincent

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