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Questions & Answers

Recently, we have had quite a few questions from producers and would like to share some of them.

Question:
We have some ewes that had their lambs weaned off 5 days ago. Had all feed taken away with little water for day 1 - 2 then on days 3 - 4 all feed & water were taken away? Normally our ewes dry up within this time; however, these ewes still have udders like milk cows. What needs to be done in order to dry them up so no damage to bag? They are going back into herd. We've never had an issue with drying up bags.

Answer: 
No need to restrict water intake, can't water starve a ruminant anyway.
Feed medium to poor quality hay free choice, and no grain. Monitor for hind leg lameness that indicates mastitis. Allow to dry up on own. Don't strip out. Eventually, udders will resolve.

Question:
You recommend spiking high levels of chlortetracycline in the wake of abortion outbreaks, but the VFD legal limit for ewes our size is only 80 mg./hd./day. Is there any safe or legal way to go higher than that - and if not, is there any real value in feeding aureomycin at the lower levels? Thanks much.

Answer: 
Your veterinarian can issue you a VFD for off-label use for control, prevention and treatment of abortion at adequate levels to be effective. USDA Module 29 for veterinary accreditation has been helpful in out lining the correct procedure.
80 mg is inadequate, options I use are 800mg for 5 days pulsed every two weeks, 2 gram AS700 1# to 5 head for 5 days pulsed every two weeks or 300mg per head per day. If there has not been a lab diagnosis I prefer 2 gram AS 700.

Question: 
I used BAR VAC CDT for years and switched to Vision CDT with SPUR after the recommendation of Dr. Kennedy in his book. When I vaccinate behind the front leg I get an abscess. When I vaccinate on the inside of the back leg they limp. I use a new needle and the vaccine is refrigerated. I have used 2 different bottles with 2 different expiration dates. I even had my vet vaccinate 6 the other day and the same results. Can you explain this by any chance?

Answer: 
If you keep the vaccine subq and out of sensitive areas should be less problem. The Vision products are much less irritating than the BarVac products. Adding 5cc of Penicillin to a bottle of vaccine will help because maybe picking up bacterial contamination from the skin in the process. Stay out of axillary space and if using flank area be sure you are always subq. Occasionally I will have a slightly lame one from flank site

Question: 
Hello, I am writing a speech about the sheep veterinarian career. I was wanting to know if you were taught everything you know about sheep by yourself, or did you learn some of the information in vet school? Also, do you think there is a decrease in the number of vets who specialize in sheep? Are there a lot of sheep in your area? If so is that because of your being in the area or are you in that area because of the number

Answer: 
Learned in practice and by having my own sheep. Veterinary Education was necessary for the background to make a decision.

There is a shortage of veterinarians that are knowledgeable on common sheep and goat problems. The small number of minor species clients they serve in their immediate practice area is not necessarily an economic unit for them. This is becoming a problem for other species in remote rural areas. Veterinarians try hard to serve but there is no free lunch.
I was fortunate when I graduated in 1960 the Pipestone Practice I joined was very diversified. We served all species and thousands of lambs were fed in the county. Later on, the Pipestone Lamb and Wool Program was developed by Dwight Holloway at the Vocational School. The numbers of lambs being fed were decreasing and larger ewe flocks replaced part of that industry.

For me, I always had a likely for sheep and goats so everything sort of fell in place. Dwight got me started in Suffolks with purchase from Olsen Bros. in Utah. Since then, I have been involved in other breeds on a national level, Rambouillet, Dorpers and now Katahdins. Katahdins will be my final breed. They have yet to be widely accepted in our area, they will be. High lambing rate combined with no need to shear is a strong advantage.

In the twilight of my career, I find satisfaction helping sheep and goat producers. My services are funded by sales and further government restrictions on drugs we can sell is an increasing problem. We do have several unique products that are designed to make the sheep and goat business more profitable for you and us.

I would suggest those seeking answers to their questions and more information join the Shepherd's Club to further expand their knowledge of their business. 

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