Bathing the Lamb
Yesterday I bathed a lamb. That was a first... I've given dogs, children and even cats a bath before but never a lamb.
Let me introduce you to our lamb. His name is Bingo, he is 2 1/2 weeks old and he has White Muscle Disease. The Maryland Cooperative Extension office defines White muscle disease (WMD) as a degenerative muscle disease found in all large animals. It is caused by a deficiency of selenium and/or vitamin E. (You can read the entire article HERE for good information on what it is and it's treatment)
Bingo is a bum lamb or bottle lamb because he was too weak and unable to stand and nurse. The family who gave him to us had not heard of WMD and had not treated him. Honestly I had not heard of it either, but luckily I have my mom around to tell me what to do ;)
They were coming over to visit and she brought an injection of Selenium/Vit E (BoSe). So we dosed him 4 days ago with that. And nothing really happened. He's happy and alert, but still not standing.
So yesterday I decided I needed to be a little more aggressive with my therapy. Or in other words I needed to do something or I would go crazy staring at this little lamb and waiting for him to get better. I've been praying for him and for wisdom in treating him and here's what I came up with.
Bingo Gets a Bath
I decided to bathe him, partially because I was afraid he would get urine scald (and everybody was complaining about the smell he was causing in our bathroom) and because I thought it might help him move more if he was more buoyant. I threw him in the tub and scrubbed him clean and then filled the tub with water. Enough for him to float a little but not so much that I couldn't control him. (He tends to cough and sneeze when you hold him up and that causes him to dip his head down and I didn't want to add aspiration pneumonia to his list of issues.).
He really liked his bath. I think... Lambs aren't very good communicators. But he seemed relaxed and comfortable. After he was done I dried him well and really massaged his legs and then put him under the heat lamp. Then I proceeded to rig up a sling for him.
Bingo Gets a Sling
I figured the sling would keep him from getting messy when he went to the bathroom. And it would allow him to get up off his sternum and hopefully let him use his legs more as he gets stronger.
I made the sling with holes for his legs so it would support fully under his chest and underbelly while not getting soiled. I adjusted it so his chest and belly are just barely off the ground. I make sure to check the sling often to make sure it isn't hindering his circulation. Bingo seemed a lot more comfortable and bright in the sling.
Bingo Gets Probiotics
I added some probiotics to his milk replacer/goat's milk as well. Just to say I was doing something. It can't hurt... Not sure if it's actually doing anything though.
How is Bingo Today?
Now for today's update.
He is able to get up onto his back legs! Yay Bingo! His brain has been telling his body to stand and it's finally responding! I'm so excited for our little lamb. I'm going to keep him in the sling and continue the probiotics. I will monitor his progress and may possibly give him Vit E oral supplements. I read that the BoSe injection may not have therapeutic Vit E levels but you can't give too much because the Selenium can be toxic if overdosed. But I can give 500mg of Vit E as a first dose and then 100 mg every other day after that until he starts improving.
|It's a little hard to tell but he got up on his back legs all by himself!|
Have you ever had a lamb with White Muscle Disease? Or how about a good story to tell about a successful treatment of a pet or livestock? I'd love to hear others experiences!
Stay tuned for more Bingo updates.