Udder sloughing

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Udder sloughing

Postby lisainnh » Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:33 pm

I had a 4 year old ewe with month old twins come up with mastitis...she was quite bad by the time I noticed...my first ewe with mastitis...had the vet out, gave her fluids and antibiotics and she's acting normal now. It looks like she's sloughing off that side of her udder...is there anything I should be doing or watching out for? I sprayed her with some Bluecoat, anything else?
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Re: Udder sloughing

Postby Bill Fosher » Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:10 am

Flies love that stuff, and if she goes septic she's all done.
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Re: Udder sloughing

Postby Kingsqtrs » Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:22 am

I'm dealing with the same thing, 1st time with mastitis, month old lambs. First day stripped blood/clear serum combination from hard warm udder, started on PenG/Benzathine, Banamine, added a shot of Dexamethasone and a two day dose of Today. Followed with the PenG every other day. Fighting flies with Swat (wound fly repellent), then went with a vasoline mixed with a concentrated fly control. At this point, it's straight blood from the udder and some sloughing. Ewe has lost weight, but is eating small amounts of 3rd cutting alfalfa, so still some appetite and drinking. Lambs were pulled from ewe when mastitis noticed. They're in a pen next to her and are on the 3rd cutting alfalfa (dairy quality which they have been on since birth), drinking small amounts of water, and appear fat, fed and doing fine. But, I too, am wondering what else I could/should be doing.....for the lambs and the ewe.

It's day 5 since treatment was started. Would the lambs need a higher energy feed...grain? A vet was consulted for the drugs, but only after I had already started the PenG/Ben so he suggested I continue with the same drug rather than switch.

Thanks,
Barb
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Re: Udder sloughing

Postby Phil Crome » Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:03 am

Barb,

I would get some more groceries in front of the lambs. Grain is a dirty word in these here parts of the internet, but I'll be the heretic that speaks it. Some folks start lambs on creep by feeding a little straight soybean meal, seems to smell good and get them interested. Your lambs are already eating hay, so it should be pretty simple to get them going on some higher-energy stuff, even if it's just lamb feed from the feed store. There are those that would say that if they're doing fine on hay alone, leave them be. I've never had hay good enough to keep a month-old lamb alive on its own, but western hay is good stuff. I would vaccinate them for overeating right now and start the grain slow- nothing worse than saving a lamb from starvation only to kill it with overeating.

Barb and Lisa,

If your ewes are sloughing their udders, that's actually a decent sign, hopefully indicating they've walled off that side and the poison in it. Do not skimp on antibiotics and fly care during this time. If you're sure it's sloughing and dead, I have seen (and done) the teat cut off with a sharp knife to facilitate drainage. Again, do not skimp on antibiotics, pain relief, and fly care. Catron IV is the voodoo fly medicine around here, and I can't recommend it more highly.

Good luck, and remember if you've had sheep you've had a ewe with bluebag.

Phil Crome
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Re: Udder sloughing

Postby gail » Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:18 pm

I am in general agreement with Phil -

Heavy on antibiotics - I would be giving penG twice a day rather than every other day

Catron or other comparable fly spray - nothing worse than a sloughing udder with maggots too

I would not wean month old lambs onto hay alone - I would put on milk replacer if possible and/or grain as well. Actually, I typically leave the lambs on a ewe with mastitis unless she is extremely sick - they can usually milk out the other side of the udder so I don't have to worry about milk replacer.

Keep the bedding clean and try to keep other sheep away from any contaminated areas.

Good luck with your ewes and lambs,
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Re: Udder sloughing

Postby lisainnh » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:16 pm

I've been feeding a concentrated sheep and lamb pellet to the lambs and they are let out on grass all day with hay in the dry lot at night. They seem to be doing fine, just not growing as fast as the other lambs, they have plenty of meat on them and I think they'll be fine. I didn't have a choice on pulling them off the ewe...she was just too sick, we had her in a small pen with just enough room to lay down and had her hooked to an IV with fluids for a little over 24 hours...plus antibiotics. She normally has a huge udder so didn't notice she was sick until she quit eating. Luckily she's feeling fine now...eating and walking normally. She's definitely going to lose most of her udder though...and maybe some skin from her belly (she had a HUGE edema on her belly) I just want to make sure I do all I can to keep her from getting infected, etc. while she sloughs her udder. I wasn't able to pick up any Catron IV but did pick up some screw worm spray made by Durvet. Thanks!
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Re: Udder sloughing

Postby Sunmill » Sat Jun 30, 2012 3:47 pm

When it's as bad as described, what is the purpose of keeping her alive?
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Re: Udder sloughing

Postby lisainnh » Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:58 pm

She's more of a pet...If I depended on the sheep to make a living I wouldn't be able to justify it...
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Re: Udder sloughing

Postby Sunmill » Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:28 pm

Fair enough :)

I was pretty proud of myself for keeping one going last year with just raw garlic and colloidal silver. After 4 weeks half her udder was off and looking like it would heal over and she was doing extremely well otherwise, but unfortunately she went septic and was gone within 4hrs.
It was a lot of effort and certainly changed my perspective on any future cases.
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Re: Udder sloughing

Postby Phil Crome » Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:56 am

Treating an animal with gangrene mastitis with garlic and colloidal silver and having it live for four weeks is a testament to a sheep's will to live, not the efficacy of treatment.

Phil
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Re: Udder sloughing

Postby Sunmill » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:40 pm

There is a difference between a sheep struggling to live, and one who is otherwise perfectly normal aside from her udder sloughing off. Mind you I will readily admit that the only other time I've dealt with gangrene mastitis was with dairy cows who were pumped full of drugs and expired within a couple days.
So perhaps it's normal for a sheep to live for so long without it going systemic?
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Re: Udder sloughing

Postby Phil Crome » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:22 pm

Hi,

Since garlic and colloidal silver have about the same efficacy as wishing really, really hard that an animal will get better, I'm still going to have to go with the animal's general toughness. If she died four weeks after the onset of gangrenous mastitis, I think I'd be looking for another cause of death.

Phil

Edited to remove my miscapitalized last name
Phil Crome

UA Local 23 Journeyman and part-time shepherd
Elizabeth, IL

"Have you had a fecal test done?": probably my epitaph.
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Re: Udder sloughing

Postby Sunmill » Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:03 pm

At least with the large amount of garlic in her, I didn't have to worry about the coyotes messing around and digging her up.
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Re: Udder sloughing

Postby Bill Fosher » Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:28 am

Dairy cattle die like it's their job with certain kids of mastitis. I have never seen any other animal go downhill as fast. Fine and eating and milking great at the evening milking, off feed and chunky in the morning and dead within 24 hours.

Even though gangrene is a serious condition, it is an immune response. The body has walled off the infection. It's a total hail mary pass in that it can be fatal in and of itself. The fact that an animal has enough reserves to mount this most desperate of immune responses probably accounts for the difference between sheep and dairy cows, which are generally teetering on the edge of metabolic ruin in the first place.
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Re: Udder sloughing

Postby Kingsqtrs » Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:59 am

Lisa,

How long from the time you started treatment on this ewe to when the sloughing began, then to when you determined she would lose most of her udder?


Phil & Gail,

From the very helpful replies, I'm going with the addition of grain for the lambs. The CD-T was on the to do list, but thanks for the reminder. I pulled the lambs for a couple of reasons, but mostly because I didn't completely know how I needed to deal with the contamination/length of treatment issue. Since they'll be the only lambs on grain, it might have been easier to leave them on her if that was an option.

I switched to Excenel for a daily antibiotic over Nuflor, for the shorter withdrawal period which ultimately may not matter. The ewe is feeling significantly better. The udder is softer and cooler but don't know what to expect from here. I clean it, apply triple antibiotic cream and the Catron IV twice a day. I had the Catron on hand, but hadn't felt it was doing what I thought it should in previous applications which is why I started with my other “go-to” fly treatments. Needless to say, the ewe is more than a bit sick of me!

Thanks,
Barb
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