Disorders Associated with Management Practices of Sheep

Marie S. Bulgin, DVM, MBA, DACVM, University of Idaho
(Previously published in Merck Manual: Veterinary Manual: January, 2015)

(Image Source: Colin Trengove, University of Adelaide)

Management practices, particularly feeding practices, can be the primary determinant of cases or outbreaks of infectious or metabolic disease in all flocks of sheep.

Pregnancy toxemia
Pregnancy toxemia may be seen in late-pregnant ewes bearing multiple fetuses subjected to a falling plane of nutrition, specifically energy. It is associated with simple starvation, ewes too fat in early pregnancy, ewes too fat in late pregnancy and that voluntarily reduce feed intake, poor quality feed, and ewes subjected to stress in late-pregnancy (eg, trailing or transport, or severe environmental changes). Ewes rarely survive after showing signs of pregnancy toxemia, even with excellent veterinary care, and it is difficult to stop losses even after interceding with adequate feed.

Hypocalcemia is seen in pregnant ewes or ewes in early lactation subjected to a period of temporary starvation or to feeds particularly low in calcium, especially ewes with multiple fetuses, as a result of decreased feed intake in late pregnancy. It is also seen in

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Pregnancy Toxemia (Ketosis) in Ewes and Does

Steve LeValley, Colorado State University Extension Sheep Specialist
Previously published online with Colorado State University Extension: August, 2010)

Quick Facts…

  • Pregnancy toxemia in sheep and goats is also known as pregnancy disease, lambing sickness, and twin-lamb/kid disease.
  • The principal cause of pregnancy toxemia is low blood sugar (glucose).
  • Onset of the disease is often triggered by one of several types of stress including nutritional or inclement weather.
  • The disease is most prevalent in ewes and does carrying two or more lambs or kids. The disease also affects ewes and does that are extremely fat or excessively thin.
  • The best preventive measure is increased feeding of high energy concentrates and grains during the last month of pregnancy.

Occurrence and Causes
Pregnancy toxemia in sheep and goats has also been called Continue reading

Holiday Plant Toxicity

Dr. Leonard Perry, Horticulture Professor, University of Vermont
(Previously published by the University of Vermont Department of Plant and Soil Science: Winter Holiday News Article)

(Image Source: George Weigel)

Although this article directs most of its attention towards the ill effects of these plants on ourselves, fellow house guests, and pets; these toxic plants may find their way to your pasture field once the holiday season has passed. Be aware of your shared fence lines and how you or your neighbors are disposing of your holiday plants this year. And remember, just because other wildlife species can and will consume some of these plants doesn’t mean that they are suitable for your livestock counterparts. Winter is a critical time period as many small ruminant producers are gearing up for lambing and kidding this winter and spring. The last thing that we want to do is lose a pregnancy as a result of disposing some of these plants.

Several of our favorite holiday plants should be kept from children, pets and livestock, yet often they pose no serious danger in small amounts.  There are many other and more toxic substances to children in homes to be mindful of, especially cosmetics, cleaning products, and personal care products.

The poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), the most popular flowering potted plant for indoors, has gotten a bum rap for a number of years. It’s been falsely accused of being poisonous, yet no deaths from this plant have ever been recorded. In fact, research studies at The Ohio State University have proven

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Neonatal Lamb Management: Intraperitoneal Injection of Dextrose (Glucose)

Adapted from ‘What You Need to Know About Lambing’ presentation by Dr. Ileana Wenger.
Article, Text, and Tables provided by: Alberta Lamb Producers Factsheet
For additional information: Consult with your local veterinarian and/or additional neonatal management resources provided by Alberta Lamb Producers.

(Image Source : Farm Advisory Service)

Most lamb deaths that occur shortly after birth are due to starvation and/or hypothermia (low body temperature). These losses are most often preventable, and lambs can be saved if problems are identified and treated quickly.

Why is timing important?

  • Newborn lambs rely on reserves of brown fat as an energy source until they ingest colostrum. Ideally, lambs will nurse and receive colostrum within two hours of birth. If feeding is delayed, even by a few hours, fat stores will be depleted. Unless the lamb nurses, or receives another source of energy, it will become unconscious and die.
  • Long-term survival also depends on receiving colostrum soon after birth, as the ability to absorb antibodies in colostrum quickly decreases. Milk or milk replacer will prevent starvation but will not protect against infections.
  • The sooner an ‘at risk’ lamb is identified, the easier the treatment and the greater the chance of saving the lamb.

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The New Tick on the Block in Ohio – Gulf Coast Tick

Dr. Tim McDermott, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Franklin County

(Image Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

Right now, you are probably getting tired of hearing from me about new tick species and the diseases and potential allergies they vector to producers, livestock, and companion animals in Ohio that we have to worry about. I wrote an article for All About Grazing back in June of 2019 warning about the mammalian muscle allergy that can make you allergic to red meat from a Lone Star tick bite. My colleague Erika Lyon submitted an All About Grazing article introducing you to the Asian Longhorned Tick in January of 2019 and I submitted an article as a follow up to the Asian Longhorned tick in Ohio in July of 2020. Now we have a confirmed case of that invasive Continue reading

Sheep and Goat Vaccine and Health Management Schedule

Marcy Ward, Extension Livestock Specialist, New Mexico State University
Shad Cox, Superintendent – Corona Range and Livestock Research Center, New Mexico State University
John Wenzel, Extension Veterinarian, New Mexico State University
(Previously published with New Mexico State University: Guide B-127: Sheep and Goat Vaccine and Health Management Schedule)

Most livestock vaccine and health management protocols revolve around the animal’s stage of production. For sheep and goats, it is recommended to vaccinate prior to lambing, weaning, and breeding. The purpose of this publication is to offer a guide in establishing a health management schedule. Every operation is unique, and it is therefore imperative that producers consult with their veterinarian before establishing a specific vaccination and health protocol.

Table 1 provides information on vaccine timing, recommended and optional vaccines, and covered diseases. Continue reading

Lice: What They Are and How to Control Them?

Wes Watson, Professor and Extension Specialist (Livestock & Poultry), Entomology & Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University
JM Luginbuhl, Professor Emeritus, Crop & Soil Sciences, North Carolina State University
(Previously published online: NC State Extension, October 1, 2015)

(Image Source: African blue louse: Rabinder Kumar and Jack Lloyd, University of Wyoming)

Lice are a common group of ectoparasitic insects of goats. Generally goat lice are host specific and only attack goats and their close relatives, such as sheep. There are five species of goat louse that fall into two categories based on feeding habits. The sucking lice feed by piercing the skin with tiny needle like mouthparts to take blood directly from the capillaries. The chewing lice (also known as biting lice) have large robust mouthparts designed to scrape and abrade the skin and hair. Chewing lice consume tiny bits of skin, skin secretions and hair for food. The feeding habits and activity of these insects result in discomfort and irritation to the animal. Infested animals often cause structural damage to farm facilities by rubbing and scratching on fences and posts resulting in hair loss, skin damage, wounds and secondary infections. Parasites cause animals to have an unthrifty appearance, poor feed conversion, and reduced weight gains and milk production. Continue reading

The Threat of Asian Longhorned Tick Continues

Dr. Tim McDermott, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Franklin County
(Previously published in Farm and Dairy: July 23, 2020)

(Image Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Previously highlighted on the OSU Sheep Team last week, my colleague Erika Lyon wrote a great article that discussed the invasive Asian Longhorned Tick. I want to give an update on where that tick is now, where its new host range is located, and what potential disease problems to look out for.

Major concern:
The Asian longhorned tick is native to East Asia as well as Australia and New Zealand. It had not previously been found in the United States prior to its discovery on a farm in New Jersey in the fall of 2017. This tick is a major concern as it reproduces via parthenogenesis, which means thatthe female does not need a male in order to reproduce, she can start laying eggs, which are genetic clones, that can overwhelm the host in very large numbers.

It has been found on

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Start Checking Your Livestock for the Asian Longhorned Tick

Erika Lyon, OSU Extension Educator ANR, Jefferson and Harrison Counties
(Previously published in Farm and Dairy: January 24, 2019)

(Image Source: Farm and Dairy)

You may have heard about a new(ish) tick to the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control recently published a news release on the spread of the Asian longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis), which is now found in eight states: Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, and Arkansas, and it is right next door to Ohio.

Researchers suspect this tick has been in New Jersey since 2013 even though it was first confirmed on sheep in the U.S. over a year ago. Much about this tick is unknown — it is the first new tick found in the U.S. in roughly 80 years. Unfortunately, since this tick has yet to be studied in its new environments, much is unknown about its ability to transmit disease and how well these populations are able to survive the winter.

What we do know is Continue reading