We are currently lambing out a small winter lambing group(110 ewes) here in Ontario, Canada. Yesterday , I had a ewe go down with polio (CCN is what my vet called it) I was asking him if he had a cure for listeria. After our discussion he asked me if she was showing clinical signs of listeria, she was not circling or spinning, she was acting like she was blind, holding her head backwards, and later was down and wobbly. My son thought she was dead and moved her lambs to the bottle feeding pen. I was told by my vet to give her 1.5 cc of thiamine ever six hours for the first day. Then give her a daily dose for the next few days. She was back standing with in one hour of her first dose, eating balage by the second dose. WOW, we finally did something right
. Just last week I had lost a ewe with similar signs, this is why I was concerned with listeria. 2 cases in one week.
So my question is, I now know what to cure the sheep with. But I am more of a person that wants to know what is the cause. We are feeding the ewes prior to lambing the same grass balage, that they will recieve after lambing. Feed test: 14.5% protien, 60% TDN, 110% relative feed value. Also they are getting 1 lbs mixed grain (65% barley/ 35%oats) prior to lambing and in the claiming pens. Once moved into larger group pen, have been switching them onto 2lbs corn. (This is where I think the problem is coming from) From what I can find out about POLIO in sheep , the rumen gets unbalanced and produced Thiaminases and causes the ewe to shows symptons similar to what I descibed before.
I will be leaving the fresh pen of ewes on mixed grain longer after moving then out of the claiming pens. Hopefully this helps the problem and stops the problem. Transitioning the ewes will be where I concentrate to help the problem. A friend of mine had told me that he has had this happen when he switches to different pastures sometimes.