How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. Taus Your Own Question

Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 440
Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
74956788
Type Your Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. Taus is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a 4-5 year old ewe that stagers badly and has done so

Resolved Question:

I have a 4-5 year old ewe that stagers badly and has done so for about 3 months. She initially appeared sick about 3-4 weeks after delivering twins, she was separated from the other sheep and placed on hay only and was given two doses of antibiotics 1 wk apart. She has not improved at all in that she is unable walk 2 steps without tripping, falls when lambs nurse but is still powerful when restrained for shots/evaluation. Lambs have been weened. Also last year I had another ewe with similar presentation but without any intervention and she died leaving her lambs to be bottle fed. This was again a few weeks after birthing. I did feed the ewes (I only have 2) rolled corn with hay for a few weeks before and after birthing in addition to the pasture. Any Ideas of treatment for my stumbling ewe?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Taus replied 1 year ago.
Hi there,
I'm sorry to hear that your sheep are having trouble. What you are describing is quite the mystery. The signs you describe are typical of problems in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that coordinates movement-- this is why she is strong even though she staggers and stumbles.

Usually in cases like these, where the signs have been going on for a while and more than one animal is affected, I suspect a toxin or a nutritional deficiency. Fungal organisms that grow in some pastures and on some hay, such as perennial ryegrass staggers and ergotism, can show these kinds of signs. I'd recommend having your hay tested. There is no specific treatment for these problems, though-- just getting rid of the bad feed and seeing how they do.

Copper deficiency can also cause signs like this, although it's usually in younger lambs. If you don't already, add a mineral block designed for sheep (not goats) to your pasture. We usually think of sheep getting sick from copper toxicity, but sometimes deficiency can be a problem too.

There are a few hereditary neurologic problems in sheep that can show up later in life. There are no treatments for them, however, so you should be aware that they may be a possibility.

I think if the problem was going to be treatable with antibiotics or dewormers, your sheep would have either recovered or passed away by now. It is possible too that your sheep may have experienced injury to her brain from pregnancy toxemia or other acute illness when she first became sick, and having survived, she is left with neurologic deficits.

If adding a mineral block designed for sheep and testing your hay/pasture yields no results, I do not know of a specific treatment that is likely to improve her signs. If she does not survive, I would recommend a necropsy by a veterinarian to determine the cause of her illness definitively. This could help you protect your flock in the future.
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 440
Experience: Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
Dr. Taus and 5 other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George Boca Raton, FL
< Last | Next >
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George Boca Raton, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    2630
    UC Davis graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    2630
    UC Davis graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/1I/1ISUDVM/2011-3-1_22028_Honeymoon2005075294928803490646858.64x64.jpg Dr. Bruce's Avatar

    Dr. Bruce

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1656
    12 years of small animal veterinary medicine
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1451
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PC/pcbobber/photo.64x64.JPG Dr. Bob's Avatar

    Dr. Bob

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1306
    35 years in practice
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/doggfone1/2009-07-16_133633_vet_pic.jpg Dr. Scott's Avatar

    Dr. Scott

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    865
    12 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet experience in medicine and surgery.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/AN/andrewDVM/2012-4-27_12585_iStock000011751407XSmall.64x64.jpg Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1889
    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
  • /img/icons/shirt.jpg Dr. Jenn's Avatar

    Dr. Jenn

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1225
    Practicing small animal medicine since 2004 , also involved in working with animal rescue groups.