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Equine Vet
Equine Vet, Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 206
Experience:  I work with several species including horses, cows, goats, sheep, pigs and camelids.
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I have a lamb that has been rejected by its mother, She had

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I have a lamb that has been rejected by its mother, She had a bit of collostrum. I have been feeding her with a bottle and all has been fine until this afternoon; day 4, she seemed down and eventually didnt want to get up and drink, now a couple of hours later her stomach has swollen a lot. she has also been producing a lot of saliva. Please help me what is the problem and what can I do?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Equine Vet replied 8 years ago.
I know this is getting to you late, but I just came online. I am concerned based on your description that your lamb may have something called "watery mouth disease" in laymen's terms. The disease generally occurs in the first few days of life and manifests itself as you are describing; the lamb becomes depressed, the abomasum (the "true" stomach) becomes distended so that the lamb looks bloated or well-fed, and there is frequently profuse drooling. The disease is more common in lambs that have not ingested enough colostrum and so have a reduced immunity to infection. The causative bacteria is usually a coli-type (from manure), and the lamb ingests it, the bacteria moves into the bloodstream infecting the body and moving into the gut where it leads to gas production and the bloating. This disease can become rapidly fatal once the lamb appears bloated, so I hope it is not too late for your girl. The treatment is not always curative, but involves injectable and oral antibiotics, possibly in conjunction with electrolyte administration, stomach tubing of fluids and glucose, enemas, etc. to get things moving and relieve the gas distention. The important thing is to have your vet come and examine the lamb as soon as possible. Often by the time the disease is recognized, the prognosis is poor and the animals are humanely euthanized, so time is of the essence (I am so sorry I was not able to see your post earlier). The prevention is to ensure that newborn lambs receive an adequate amount of colostrum within the first 12 hours of life and keeping the living area as clean as possible.

I don't think that you have caused this problem by bathing her. I suspect that she was ill-fated from the beginning after being rejected by the ewe and getting a late start. Bicarbonate will probably not help in this situation. I am attaching a link to the online Merck Veterinary Manual with a detailed description of the disease, it will explain things in more detail:

Please give your vet a ring as soon as you can and see if you can have someone out to examine your lamb and get you the proper medications. I am sorry that this has happened to you as you have obviously put a lot of effort into your lamb and I hope she pulls through. Let me know if I can clarify anything or be of further assistance.
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