Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Shepherdess Notes: Fly Strike

I have a ewe lamb that has had a rough time of it the last couple of weeks.

I knew something was off because of her droppings. They were not pellets like they should be, but loose. That can happen when the pasture was really lush, but I knew that was not the issue here.

We isolated her in a pen to treat her. Usually when they have poopy bottoms, I treat for parasites.

After a couple of days, her droppings were looking more normal, she was eating, drinking and all seemed to be well.

Fast forward a few days... she seemed to be regressing. She wasn't that interested in eating, she was lying down more than usual and we also noticed some of her wool was falling out around her backside. I wasn't sure what could be wrong.

Mike and I were outside working and I commented how bad the flies were this year, worse than I can ever remember. Just as I said it, I thought of the ewe lamb. Could it be fly strike? I was hoping I was wrong. I wasn't!

What is Fly Strike?

In simple terms, flies lay eggs on the sheep, eggs hatch into maggots and the maggots eat the flesh of the sheep.

The conditions were perfect-Warm humid weather, and a poopy bottom.

First thing I did was clip all of the wool around her backside, so I could see what I was dealing with.
Once I did that I could see the maggots. As you can probably imagine, it is disgusting! ( But you do what you have to do, when faced with these situations.

Next, I took a hose and washed off what I could.

A trip to the farm store was necessary. Fly strike is not something we have had to deal with very often. This was my third time, in 18 years. They had what I needed, Screw Worm Aerosol.

After applying the spray, the remainder of the maggots were killed, and the flies that were swarming around her backside disappeared.

To be on the safe side, I gave her a shot of penicillin to help fight off any infection.

Days have passed, and she looks like she is going to pull through. Thankfully, we caught it early.

I continue to apply the spray, once a day to prevent re infestation,

I did not take pictures of the process, If you are interested in what it looks like you can google it.
My focus, was to get through it as quickly as possible.

DISCLAIMER: I am a shepherdess, not a veterinarian.These are my opinions and this post does not constitute treatment or veterinary advice.

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  1. It's a good thing you caught it and knew what to do, Sandra. I'm glad to hear she is doing better. Not something you ever want to see or have to deal with, but this year has been very different with all of the rain. Our goats had lice for the first time ever and the barber pole worms have been terrible. One of the does had scours that wouldn't quit even after being wormed twice, so we had to get something different from the vet. Tomorrow I'm going to learn how to administer copper boluses when the vet comes here, it's supposed to really help. A big learning year for us. Hope all continues to improve there.


    1. Yes, some years are tougher than others! We worry about barer pole worms with this type of weather.
      We started using copper boluses on the goats a couple of years ago. Being raised with sheep they do not get it in the free choice minerals we put out.
      Good luck with everything!!!

    2. Good post....observation of livestock is so important. As well as a strong stomach with injury. Good luck with your ewes recovery!

    3. Fiona, I have toughened up since raising livestock. You definitely develop a strong stomach.

  2. That does sound quite gross. Maggots are not my fav thing. But as animal owners, we do what we have to. I have treated some pretty gross horse injuries before. You just get through it and try not to think too much.

  3. Thanks for posting this! I may need it someday! Ewwwwww though!

    1. I hope you never do! I am grateful we have not had to deal with it much here.

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  5. Hope she pulls through ok.
    When I was young I wanted to be a vet. Changed my mind after a couple years of being a clinic assistant during summers in college. Too hard, too yucky, too much pain to face every day. 5 years later and we start farming and here I am vetting our animals. {smile} Life is funny that way. I would never have imagined what I've found myself doing, but you do what's necessary when your animals need something.

    1. My daughter worked at a vets office as part of a program through our local career center. She decided pretty quickly that she didn't want to be a vet after all.

  6. People think I a weird because I look at poo.... all kinds of it LOL But it is a sure fire, quick way to tell if an animal is off. Thanks for sharing on the (mis)Adventures Mondays Blog Hop. I can't wait to see what you share this week!

  7. Glad you caught it early. I have only dealt with sheep a few times and mostly to train herding dogs.

    Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop.


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