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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20548
Experience:  As a veterinarian, I have been educated to treat all animals, big and small.
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I have a female sheep, yesterday morning caught her face on

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I have a female sheep, yesterday morning caught her face on something and tore the skin and into the muscle. The wound starts an inch below the eye to right before the nose. Large wound about four inches long and about an inch wide. Inside on wound is dry and leathery, muscle has a "beef Jerky" look to it. She is EDUD normal, no CSVD, no Rx meds used, have not started any meds as of yet, we have her pinned up to keep safe and separate from others. We have Screwworm aerosol, Wound-Kote, FurAll, penicillin, and some Sulmet tablets 2.5 g left over from a goat wound. Again have not started anything yet just observing. The left side of the face is very swollen, but the wound is not oozing. There does seem to be a slight smell, but it is hard to determine if it is the wound or the sheep. Please give advice.

Thank you for your question.

Has she been vaccinated with CD & T toxoid?

Do you see any saliva or feed material coming out of the wound (has the wound punctured the oral cavity?)?

Is she able to chew her feed?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dr. Todd

She is eating, drinking, has not punctured the oral cavity, there is little debris in the wound, no saliva. No to the vaccinations. You can not see into the mouth, no bone exposure, just a little muscle.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Other.
There was no answer, Dr Todd just asked me more questions.
Thank you for your question.

It appears that there was delay in your response to Dr. Todd and I am afraid he is currently offline. Still his questions were quite important and valid ones. He did ask about vaccination since we do get concerned about Tetanus (Clostridia tetani) when we have wounds in our livestock. Therefore, if she hasn't been vaccinated, you might consider vaccinating now (its less the ideal because her immune system will be distracted by the wound but better to have a degree of protection then being vulnerable to what is often a fatal bacterium.)

Otherwise, the approach to the wound does depend quite a bit on its depth and alignment. If it is open and gaping, has hanging skin, or pieces of the skin missing, the ability to heal will be compromised and we may struggle to get full healing of the wound. Ideally, in situations like these, we will debride the dried/dead 'beef jerky' muscle along with the necrotic skin edges, and suture the wound closed so the edges are in line and can heal properly.

That said, a lot of wounds will granulate in and heal (sheep are not fussed about scar tissue). So, as long as we don't have perforation through to the oral cavity (since that would be a major avenue of bacterial influx) and it isn't a gaping/tissue shredded wound, then we can try to manage it medically. Do note that this route can take longer and there will be the risk of infection and flies to fight against as well. As well, if the skin isn't staying in apposition (if it is moving/pulling apart when she is eating then this will be a negative prognostic indicator for the body to be able to heal this wound closed).

Now the first step is keeping that wound clean. To do this, you can use an antiseptic like chlorohexidine and flush with water. You do want to probe the wound to make sure there is no sign of maggots (otherwise that is where your Screwworm spray will come in handy). This should be repeated daily (clean/use a healing promoting antibacterial spray like "Cut Heal"/ Vetericyn/Wound Kote and then follow with the screwworm spray to keep any flies from landing and laying eggs into the wound. Depending on the exact positioning of the wound, you could cover it with a light breathable gauze bandage (that will need to be changed daily) but I do suspect this location will make this difficult.

Now, especially if there is an odor (though we'd want to anyway because of the risk of bacterial infection festering in this dirty wound), you want to have this sheep on an antibiotic at this stage. You can use the Penicillin but I would say to have a peek at the data sheet for a dose since you haven't noted what strength/preparation it is (though if it is Pen G 300,000 IU/ml then you will want to give 1ml per 100 lb of body weight once daily into the muscle).

Furthermore, you noted that the wound is very swollen. Infection is a concern, but so is trauma induced swelling. Therefore, do monitor her for discomfort (especially relative to her eating) and consider a NSAID for pain relief (you might need to speak to your vet about obtaining this one. Avoid aspirin use since it can have blood thinning effects and therefore not ideal when animals have wounds.).

Overall, wounds can be a challenge to manage, especially because they can appear in such a wide range of possible presentations. So, if this wound is gaping, then surgical assistance might be advisable but if the sound is aligned then you can try medical management to support healing, take down swelling, and keep infection away while the body heals itself.

I hope this information is helpful.
Please do let me know if you have any further questions.
If you have no further questions, feedback is greatly appreciated.

All the best,

Dr. B.


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Dr. B., Veterinarian
Satisfied Customers: 20548
Experience: As a veterinarian, I have been educated to treat all animals, big and small.
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