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Dan C., DVM
Dan C., DVM, Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1172
Experience:  Equine Practitioner. Owner of Mobile Equine/Large Animal Practice for 16 years.
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Male Babydoll sheep (age unknown as he is a rescue) losing

Customer Question

Male Babydoll sheep (age unknown as he is a rescue) losing weight over the last few weeks, now has thick green mucous from his nose and little interest in food. Walking ok but definitely lethargic. Sorry, I know that's very little to go on. Checked his mouth and doesn't seem to be anything wrong re: mouth and teeth.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the sheep. What is the sheep's name and age?
Customer: Cardigan, age unknown, he's a rescue
JA: How old is Cardigan?
Customer: no idea
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Cardigan?
Customer: not really, other than drastic weight loss and now green thick nasal discharge and lethargy
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Also, has only been on hay, in enclosure, no access to poisonous plants or anything like that. Other sheep and goats he is housed with exhibit no sx.
Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 2 months ago.

Good Afternoon:

I’m sorry to hear about Cardigan’s current condition. It’s frustrating to see our animals not doing well, however I’m hoping I can help you get him back on to a healthy way!

I have a few quick questions to ask you, so that I might get a better idea as to what Cardigan’s problem may be.

1): How long have you had Cardigan, and what kind of shape was he in when you first gave him a new home?

2): Is he in with any other animals, and if so, what type?

3): What does his environment consist of (pen, open pasture, etc.)?

4): What is his current diet?

5): When was he last de-wormed?

Thanks in advance for your response, and I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

-Dan C., DVM.

Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 2 months ago.

P.S.: I just saw the addition to your post, so you can ignore questions 2-4!

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
We have had Cardigan for 5 years and he has always been big-overweight, robust and the head honcho of the herd. He was last de-wormed in May when he was shorn and actually his problem seemed to begin after his deworming. He had never had problems with it previously. His appetite seems to come and go though in the past about two months he has not been eating nearly as vigorously as he had. The poor guy is really starting to look sucked out and he has always been very round. His nose has been runny on and off but today I noticed a thick green mucous from it.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
He is enclosed in a pen and barn with two other sheep and two goats. As I stated, we unfortunately have no idea of his age as he is a rescue.
Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 2 months ago.

Thanks for getting back to me. Apologies for the delay in my response, I was called out for an emergency.

You stated that Cardigan’s condition seemed to start following de-worming, which suggests to me that when he was de-wormed, he most likely had a large worm load. When worms are killed by de-worming, they release toxins that can cause an animal to become somewhat ill, and at times, if the worm load is large enough, can actually cause a partial obstruction within the intestinal tract. Also, if Cardigan was not de-wormed again after the initial deworming, it’s most likely that the remaining worm eggs hatched (as de-wormers do not kill the eggs, only the worms), creating yet another heavy worm burden. It is highly recommended to de-worm ten to fourteen days after the initial de-worming to kill the worms that have hatched from the remaining eggs, before they can become adults, or otherwise you’re back where you started!

It is most likely that Cardigan’s problem is still parasite related, based on the history you have provided, as well as all of the symptoms that you have described. I would strongly recommend that you consider having a fecal analysis performed on Cardigan ASAP. If you don’t have access to a Large Animal Veterinarian, most Small Animal Clinics can perform fecal analyses for sheep/goats as well. It is best to obtain a fresh sample when dropping it off for analysis.

We are also seeing a large amount of worm resistance to many of the common de-wormers that used to work well, so there is a good possibility that the de-wormer that was used on Cardigan may have had little effect. This is why having a fecal analysis performed is extremely important. In my practice, I see too many animals become ill and/or die due to worms, so it is definitely not something to take lightly.

Again, please consider having him checked for worms (and there are more than one type that could be affecting him) as soon as you are able. It is much less expensive and easily remedied, than to treat him if he begins to worsen.

Thanks again for getting back to me, and please let me know if you have any further questions.

Please stay in touch (you can use this same thread) and let me know what you find with Cardigan.

Best of luck!

Dan C., DVM.

Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 2 months ago.

P.S.: Also, just to add, worms can also have a direct effect on the immune system, which would explain why you are seeing the snotty nose, etc. As the body’s immune system is working overtime to due worms, it is weakened and not as able to protect against what would otherwise be a common upper respiratory infection, etc.

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