** I am not a veterinarian** But I still know a thing or two...
*I've underlined and bolded the symptoms in my ewe, and halfway down there is a list of the treatments that I used. With the vital treatments in red.
Story time: 1/25/2016
So while I was having a blast, enjoying my first week at UMass Amherst, my ewe Bluebelle (currently a yearling, will be 2 this spring 2016) went and got sick.
My sister messaged me on Friday saying "SHEEP EMERGENCY CALL ME". I called her, and we chatted about how BB is doing. She tells me, that she is shaking, stiff-legged, and keeps falling. Also that she is drooling and tilting her head. My thoughts immediately go to listeriosis. I ask if she has been off feed, how her stool is, if she has miscarried. It turns out that BB has been acting normal up until today; when Liv went out to feed and found her leaning up against the fence. Liv immediately separated her, and gave her nutridrench, yogurt and water... I instruct her to call our vet, and have her come over asap.
I travel home the next day, and take a look at my babe. She is just as described, shaky, stiff, and easily started. The paralysis in her face was very mild, and she could still walk (stumble). She could even eat a bit of hay. Our vet had given her penicillin and banamine (to treat her for the worst case scenario listeriosis), She was not positive of what exactly was effecting BB. Her symptoms were common for many bad illnesses.
Later that day I learned that in the morning, BB had had a seizure, she fell to the ground on her side and shook. After hearing this, my thoughts immediately jumped away from listeriosis and instead to a mineral deficiency. Specifically hypocalcemia, which I remembered causes seizures in the death strokes... But we were treating her for listeriosis, so maybe it was just the medicine working to kill the bacteria in her brain?
After a night of fitful sleep, I went out at noon to re-evaluate. Liv and I dosed her with 3ml penicillin, and 1ml banamine (both IM); we also drenched her with nutri-drench, yogurt, and water... A minute after the complete drenching +shots, I noticed BB shaking her head (essentially a mild seizure), her lips , ears, and eyes flapped and twitched. While she braced herself against the wall. She recovered and I finished feeding the rest of the animals. When I came back into the barn a few minutes later, I heard a splash, when I looked into the stall BB was full on seizing on the ground, with legs fully stretched and flailing. I went in and held her head, and talked her through it. She proceeded to have another full-on, and another semi- seizure in a span of 10 minutes... As I was helping her through the seizures, I knew this wasn't listeriosis. It was something much different, maybe the banamine was to blame? (shot of banamine, then 5 mins later, intense seizures? Can't be a coincidence)
So I left her in a recumbent position (legs underneath her), and went inside to research. At first I was looking to see if banamine causes seizures in sheep (it has never before in my animals, but I just wanted to make sure). Turns out that it does when accidentally given in an artery. I am sure I did not hit an artery, so I kept looking. I knew a symptom of BB's was seizures, so I researched hypocalcemia [which I suspected earlier], not it. But somewhere on that deep dive, I came across hypomagnesaemia, low magnesium [grass tetany]. And BOOM, that was it. Grass tetany causes a stiff gait, tremors, excessive peeing, and near death - flailing seizures..
I went back out to the barn to call our vet, whilst keeping an eye on BB in fear she may be already dead. She was not, but she was on the ground and seizing again... I called our vet and told her my new diagnosis. She said to give her CMPK and/or Epsom salts (magnesium oxide). Our CMPK drench was expired, but we had fresh epsom salts! It is recommended to give this IV, or Sub-Q for rapid treatment; but we only had oral. So I gave her 2oz of the expired CMPK D3 drench orally. Later on I mixed her a drench of 10g epsom salts, water, and molasses. We gave this to her at 5pm.
For her continued care, she will receive 5g epsom salts per feeding (2x a day), nutri-drench, yogurt, and propylene glycol (to prevent toxemia).
There is not great documentation if this kind of treatment works long term, and sheep often relapse. But as of now (approximately 62 hrs since first signs of tremors), she has no facial tremors, and her legs are beginning to be less stiff. If she makes it, I predict she will have moderate to severe brain damage, but hopefully she will not be in pain.
What caused grass tetany in the middle of winter?
Friday (noon) 0hrs: 40-80ml nutri-drench, h20
3hr: 20ml yogurt, 20ml nutri-drench, h20, 3ml penicillin, 1ml banamine
6hr: 20ml yogurt, 40ml nutri-drench, 20ml h20
9hr: 20ml yogurt, 40ml nutri-drench, 20ml h20, 1ml banamine
18hrs: 20ml yogurt, 20ml nutri-drench, 20ml h20
21hrs: 20ml yogurt, 20ml nutri-drench, 20ml h20
(noon) 24hrs: 20ml yogurt, 20ml nutri-drench, 20ml h20
3pm 27hrs: 20ml yogurt, 20ml nutri-drench, 20ml h20
6pm 30hrs: 20ml yogurt, 20ml nutri-drench, 20ml h20, 3 ml penicillin
9pm 33hrs: 20ml nutri-drench, 20ml h20
(stopped yogurt, she was eating hay)
42hrs: 20ml nutri-drench, 20ml h20
45hrs: 20ml nutri-drench, 20ml h20
(Noon) 48 hrs: 20ml nutri-drench, 20ml h20 , 3 ml penicillin, 1ml banamine
49hrs: 2oz CMPK D3 drench
53hrs: 10g epsom salt solution, 20ml nutri-drench, 20ml h20
57hr: 80ml propaline glycol
*10grams a day of epsom salts is the max recommend for sheep. So continuing on I gave her 5g dissolved in water, twice a day*
noon: 20ml nutri-drench, 20ml h20
Update: (I got distracted and forgot I hadn't posted this, so it's now Oct 27 2016) lol
Thanks for reading, and sorry again for taking so long to post!
Until next time,