Saturday night I was out with my girls in town when I get a call from my neighbor that I had a sick sheep. I came home right away to find Blaze stumbling and dizzy. I first started approaching like bloat since they broke into the grain a few days before but when I looked at her side there wasn’t a bulge in her left where her rumen was.
I called an emergency vet who helped me over the phone. When I was able to get my thermometer to work her temp was 105.5. I started her immediately on a very high dose of antibiotics: penicillin 3-4 times a day and oxytetracycline once a day. She was bad off that night and I slept in the barn on the floor with her, laying next to her so she felt a body. She seemed to respond positively to the physical contact.
The next day she was unable to stand, groaning, drooling profusely. Temp was starting to come down. Again, she liked having physical contact and I spent much of the day with her head on my lap
My friend came over and baby sat Blaze for a bit and set her up with a pillow using a barn blanket. Smart and improved her comfort greatly.
What happened? How did she get so sick? I think when she got out she was one of the sheep who ate out of mouldy bucket in the corner and developed listeriosis which then resulted in encephalitis.
Monday I saw my heavy drug schedule was helping but not doing enough and two more sheep were starting to “off” I called several large animal vets and they were all slammed -lots of large animal emergencies thanks to the weird weather. I got a vet out in the afternoon. We dosed Polly and Mooney with a big gun antibiotic and they are back to being sheep.
Blaze however is permanently damaged. She’s blind and the likelihood she will regain vision after this is very low. She’s having a hard time standing and when she does she needs help. After the vet Blaze started improving
Lifting her head, signaling she wanted something (usually water but having a hard time drinking). She started trying to stand but fell alot at first. Her feet were wobbly and twisting below her….but she’s a fighter and didn’t give up. We walked together getting stronger through the day. A few times she was able to stand on her own without my support.
Together we took a walk
With my support to catch her before she fell
All the way from the barn to grass
She spent the evening sitting in the sun.
The likelihood of Blaze surviving listeriosis was incredibly low, so it’s amazing she came this far. She’s a fighter and has fire in her belly, thus her name. She survived hypothermia as a new born, came to me for help when her first lambing was breech.. she’s tough. And she helped me make this place happen by being my happy bottle baby when I was out of a bad engagement and I came back to to live on the farm alone that was meant to happen with my partner. She kept me going.
So I’m not giving up on her if she doesn’t give up on herself. One she gives up ill euthanize her,. But she’s doesn’t I will make her life as good as it can be. She’s improving and trying hard to stand and walk, trying hard to be a sheep again. But her motor skills are pretty bad right now, still not eating but very thirsty.
Today is day 4 of this adventure. I can only hope when I go out to the barn we will be feeling better today.
Thank God I had antibiotics on hand. She would have died that night if i hadn’t been able to act fast. No, I’m NOT organic. I’m here to give my animals the best lives I can.