Sheep1The brown sheep that had the swollen head last week is better this week, but she’s still not quite right. Her eyes seem sunken, with the bones above protruding like frog-eyes; and there is some yellow matter in the eye corners. Her lips are- how should I describe it?- sort of hardened, slightly crusty and thickened. And the hair on her face looks like a sick animal’s too: you know how it can get a little patchy and just not slicked back and organized like a healthy animal’s hair looks? It’s subtle, but she just doesn’t look right.

She’s also standing a bit hunched, like she doesn’t feel good. She responds and moves a little slow, like you do when you have the flu and you just want to sit very still and weather the storm. I’ve seen her graze, so I’m hopeful that she’s eating enough to sustain herself through whatever this is. I think her overall hair coat is different from normal too, at least for her. Last year, she had a short, smooth jacket of hair. This year, it’s bristle-ey and broom textured. I have other sheep with that texture of hair, but I think it’s atypical for this ewe. Yesterday, she was still carrying a slight fever, at 104.5 degrees.

Mouth This seems beyond an insect sting, at a week later, so now I’m back leaning towards bluetongue (with no inner mouth symptoms). But I also revisited the symptoms of soremouth, and it can cause facial edema too , as well as flu-like symptoms. So maybe she picked up a late case of it, well after it ran its course in all the lambs? (And if is soremouth, great, look at me with my ungloved fingers in her mouth!). Not much else is linked to that ridiculous puffy head symptom as far as I can find.

I’m grasping at straws for how to support her. I gave her more Benadryl to combat the runny eyes and slight nasal discharge, but I’m not sure that’s the most helpful drug I could give her, since the inflammatory response is mostly settled down now. I think maybe today I’ll switch to Nutri-Drench to help make sure she’s supercharged with vitamins to combat illness. And I’ll be ready with antibiotics if her fever worsens, and Banamine if she seems like she’s in a lot of discomfort. I was vexed to find references on the web to people having good luck treating bluetongue homeopathically, but they don’t say what they used!

I guess I’ll just have to let her ride it out.