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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20877
Experience:  As a veterinarian, I have been educated to treat all animals, big and small.
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I have a 4 month old lamb that has fly strike around her

Customer Question

Hi! I have a 4 month old lamb that has fly strike around her bottom. She has lost her appetite and is breathing hard, has a runny nose, and is not energetic. We examined her and she has maggots around her tail and bottom. What can we do to help her? Our local vet does not take farm animals. Thank you so much!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

When did her signs start? Did she has respiratory signs prior to the fly strike?

What color is the nasal discharge?

Are her gums pink or pale/white?

Can you take a breathing rate for me (just count her breaths for 10 seconds + multiply that by 6)?

Any fever or scours/diarrhea?

Any wounds around the rectum/tail?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We noticed her signs yesterday but she was a little less energetic for two days.
No problems with breathing before strike.
Nasal discharge is clear.
Her gums are a little pale She's a black sheep so it's a little hard to tell.
breathing rate is 60
don't know if she has a fever but she does have diarrhea.
She does have a wound on her tail and around her rectum with a handful of maggots.Would clipping her wool and rinsing her off in tea tree oil and water bath help?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

To start, while it is a secondary issue (since it is often scours, wounds + lethargy that open the door to fly strike), we will need to first address this fly strike. To do so, we need to clip the wool, flush the wound with a mild antiseptic (ie dilute chlorohexidine, betadine, salt water, etc), clean off any feces present, and remove all maggots and fly eggs (white or yellow seed looking items on the wool) from this area. Do note that the eggs are as important to remove as the maggots since they will be the next wave attacking her if we don't. Afterwards, we'd want to use a fly repellant spray and then an antibiotic spray to prevent infection of this wound. This should be available from your farm supply store (as will be some other items I will touch on here).

Once we have the fly strike under control, we can focus on everything else for Peppercorn. Now I do have a lot to type but will pause to send this, so you know where to start while I type the rest.

Speak to you again shortly,

Dr. B.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hi again,

Further to the strike itself, we do need to focus on her other signs. Now her breathing rate is elevated and we'd be wary of an opportunistic respiratory infection potentially capitalizing on her compromised state. That said, since this didn't start until after the fly strike we cannot rule out at least some of this elevation and lack of energy being related to pain from the fly strike +/- related to metabolic acidosis due to the scours. In any case, we need to keep a close eye on this at this point.

Otherwise, we do need to address the scours for her as well (especially since it is the focus of the fly's targeting her. In regards ***** ***** this, I would suggest starting some broad spectrum care. To do so, we'd want to start her on Kaolin/Kaopectate. This is an anti-diarrheal that is OTC at most pharmacies (as a liquid) or farm supply stores (usually as a powder that you mix into water). This will help slow her loose feces and reduce her risk of further strike. Otherwise, we would want to also consider a broad spectrum antibiotic (ie Penicillin) to cover against bacterial causes for her scours. We may need to think about worming and fecal testing, but these would be our starting points here at this point.

Otherwise, I would just quickly note that we'd need to keep cleaning and topically treating (the Penicillin will help too) the wound to protect it from further strike or infection and facilitate healing.

Finally, we need to address her hydration since fluid losses from scours is often what makes them feel poorly. Now hopefully she is drinking, but if she isn't doing so well or has signs of dehydration (sticky gums, sunken eyes, or skin tenting), then we may need to start drenching electrolytes (ie Lectaid, Resorb, Pedialyte). In regards, ***** ***** much she will need at a time,this is going to be weight dependent. For example, for every 10 lb (5 kg) of body weight, she will need ¼ to ½ litres of fluid a day as normal maintenance fluid intake. Obviously, she will need more if there is scours associated, but this is a good start point. And she will need this divided up over 3+ feedings, so as not to over fill her stomach. If you haven't stomach tubed a lamb before, you can find some good guidelines ( LINK) or you can pop over HERE to see a video on how to pass esophageal feed a calf (these are not lamb specific links but it’s the same principal). You can usually find these feeders at your local feed store and they are quite useful to have on hand for cases like this.

Overall, while the fly strike is the urgent issue we need to address first, it is likely a side effect of a bigger issue. Therefore, we'd want to remove all maggots/eggs and treat the wound, but also start broad spectrum care to address her diarrhea and maintain her hydration. If we can do that, we'd hope to see her increased breathing rate settle either due to the discomfort of the strike passing or along with the treatment for the diarrhea. Of course, if she isn't settling, then we'd need to contact a vet further afield for her. Hopefully, that won't be the case, but if you did need to you can check for other vets near you (and it is worth speaking to equine vets too if your area is short on farm vets) at

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need as this is how I am credited for assisting you today.Thank you! : )

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi!We just cut back peppercorns fleece on the back side and removed thousands of maggots...they were doing a number on her tail and it is very infected. We wash her with water and salt and checked to see if there's any other just seems to be on her tail and back end. We have to go to the feed store to get some antibiotic spray...but i think we will need to go to a vet since her tail is in such bad shape. any other suggestions in the mean time?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hi again,

If it is severely damaged, then we may need to her be seen as injectable pain relief +/- amputation of the damaged tail may be indicated. Otherwise, did you see my second reply above in regards ***** ***** other treatments for the scours (Penicillin, Kaolin, etc)? Those steps and the supportive care I outlined should be started as well.

Dr. B.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about Peppercorn. How is everything going?
Dr. B.

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