Last March I sold four sheep, a ram and three ewes, to a person I knew. They waited a year for me to get the lambs born, weaned and ready to sell them their starter flock. When the lambs were born, I informed them I would have sheep to sell them. They asked a lot of questions, I was glad to answer. They had helped me by feeding my sheep for a week when I was on vacation. After caring for my sheep, they wanted some of their own, from my flock.
Two weeks ago, they called asking me which veterinarian I used to treat my sheep. I told them, then asked what the problem was. They told me one of the ewes had a prolapse. I said I would be by later that day to take a look.
I had only treated vaginal prolapse one time in my flock, and the ewe was very old and carrying twins. By their description I was not sure which type of prolapse the ewe was exhibiting. They were worried that the ewe would be injured or have a serious infection if they waited for a prolapse harness to arrive through delivery. None of our livestock supply stores sell a prolapse harness.
Upon arrival, and looking at the lambs that had grown into some beautiful sheep, I saw the problem. A big ewe with vaginal prolapse. She was very heavy with lambs. I told them this ewe is very pregnant with twins and close to delivery. The ewe had a really full udder, and was very loose in the hips and pelvic area. There was a vaginal prolapse, but it was only on the outside when the ewe laid down. But I had a solution. Item needed was some hay twine. They looked at me like I was joking. Then I explained to them what I was going to do.
I had seen a veterinarian use a piece of twin on a pregnant goat with vaginal prolapse a couple weeks before delivery of triplets. I also had seen a video on youtube using the same technique. Before putting this harness in place, I gently cleaned the exposed tissue with water and then with olive oil to keep soars from forming due to the dryness created from cleaning. I also put on gloves and checked to see if she was dilated, no cervix was closed. I had used this technique on my very old ewe and it worked. I built the harness from the hay twine just like the veterinarian did.
Today I received the happy news. A text message with a picture of a ewe and twins. My friend’s ewe had delivered a healthy set of twins. They were large twins. My friend was so happy I had helped them with their ewe, but also thrilled they had purchased their sheep from me.
I had made a point to sell them some ewes that I would have kept. The ram was not related to the ewes and out of one of my best commercial ewes. I still have the mother and twin sister to their ewe who just had twins. I work hard in the breeding of my sheep to raise good genetics. The very old ewe who had a vaginal prolapse and twins, I sold both the ewe and lambs at auction. I do not think this prolapse was genetic, just a little overweight ewe carrying large twins.
I am very careful in the selection of sheep I sell to individuals. The reason is I want them to come back to purchase more sheep. Eventually they will need a different ram. I want them to come to me for the next ram. I enjoy helping other sheep farmers succeed. I am very careful in offering advice or treating someone else’s sheep. If I did not have the relationship and trust as friends, as I do with those I helped, I would not assist, but refer them to a veterinarian.
I am not a licensed veterinarian, and do not present myself as an animal doctor. I do treat my own animals, even sew up wounds. I worked as a veterinarian technician for several years and was taught how to sew up wounds and wound care. But there is so much I do not know, and therefore I take my animals to the veterinarian when I do not have the knowledge or tools to treat the animal. Know your own abilities when it comes to treating your animals. If I had thought I was not able to help the animal, I would not have done anything to help. When I went to look at my friend’s ewe, I also had a plan on how to get the ewe to a veterinarian that day.
Do not rely on others to show or tell you their methods, as some do not work.
Sometimes it not about the accolades and degrees, experience counts for everything. Well done with the ewe.
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