All Things Sheep!

So what questions would like to ask the farmer?

Great starting questions. So here are some answers to your initial questions.

What other questions do you have for our farmer?

No problems with crows on farm. What disease where you thinking of @SophCarman?

Ok here is a summary of the history so far:

– Ewes not wormed since Autum
– Ewes appear clinically well
– No problem like this before
– No Toxoplasma vaccine used on farm
– Heptovac P given 4 weeks before first lamb due

– Welsh Hill Flock
– Outdoor lambing
– No mineral testing performed on grazing

– Weak and dying lambs being born (no correlation to singles, twins, triplets)
– No obvious congenital deformites
– Colostrum protocol for 'weak' lambs = 100mls via stomach tube
– Navels sprayed once with iodine at birth
– Birth weights are lower than last year

Ok quick wrap up of history:

Still missing some major history questions, but we need to move on as time is ticking by.

Points missed:
– How many sheep on farm?
– How many lambs affected?
– weak/dying lambs since start of lambing or more recently?
– When was the scanning done – what stage of gestation?
– Was this done before new ewes introduced?
– When were the new ewes introduced?
– Seen any abortions/ ewes not bagging up and may have lost lambs?
– Any treatments given to the lambs? Spectum scourhalt for example?
– You wouldn’t normally have to ask but the weather could have been a contributing factor in this re; hypothermia and FPT

Ok so what are your top differentials?

The lamb pictured below is what you are presented with. Is there anything you'd like to check the lambs for if you examine them? Anything else you'd want to look at?

Great work. So going back to our DDx… what are we thinking now?

Causes of Neonatal Lamb Death: E.coli, Clostridia, Hypothermia, septic peritonitis, starvation, iodine deficiency, Swayback, Anything that leads to FPT.

N.b. Most of the lambs did die due to E.coli due to FPT due to having border dz virus and not suckling properly – we did discuss it but TP may have been useful – as even if don’t know the disease you know how it needs to be treated if you want more lambs to survive

Causes of Abortion which can present as weak lambs: EAE, Toxoplasmosis, BDV, Schmallenberg, (Bluetongue – not in UK currently)

Clinical exam of lamb:

Also worth checking these whilst doing the clinical exam:
– Do ewes have milk?
– Cleansing?
– Neuro exam on lambs….

Try and narrow down your differentials list. What tests would you like to do? Think of the pounds…

For what… be specific…

Just to clarify, these lambs are only 1 week old. No time for cocci/nematodirus to affect lamb (still on ewes milk and too cold for Nematodirus).

Extra info: Nematodirus battus usually affects lambs from ~6 weeks (once they start to nibble grass). It usually affects lambs acutely (before any eggs in faeces as PPP) so FWEC is pointless.

So, we have ruled out EAE (enzootic abortion in ewes) and Toxoplasmosis. Copper and Selenium levels were normal in the ewes. Bacterial culture was negative. Anyone want to test any of the other DDx on our list?

So, we have our diagnosis of Borders Disease Virus (BDV). The farmer wants to know what he should do with the ewes…

Great stuff.
N.b. If the farmer wanted the lambs to survive we could have advised that all received some colostrum when born – admit not feasible perhaps in outdoor welsh hill flock, but bringing them in may have helped. Could potentially argue prophylactic abs….

Slight side note worth remembering…

Yes – PCR on serum/Foetal tissue (e.g. Spleen)