Many of you who follow this blog know that Caseous Lymphadenitis has been an issue in the flock in the past. After an aggressive eradication campaign, the whole flock tested negative in March. However, my last CormoX ewe, Meadowlark, developed a very large and very concerning abscess on her cheek last week. Even though she tested negative for CL three times, I know that false negatives are not impossible and I didn’t feel I could risk having her cyst bursting, spreading illness around.
We separated Lark from the flock, but realized that we couldn’t just have her in the barn all alone. We had been on the fence about keeping Dalek after she had a premature single, failed to come into milk, and showed no signs of regaining any weight. We decided that it would be okay to let her go at this time also. So we transported both sheep back to the barn for a day. We had an on-farm slaughterer come and the deed was swift and stressless for both sheep. We got our answer about Dalek- massive lung damage from a bout with pneumonia. We had noticed her wheezing a bit, but our previous vet hadn’t heard anything in the lungs then. I assume that she had pneumonia at some point earlier in her life and was treated, but had sustained serious damage. If we hadn’t intervened, she would have died a slow and agonizing death.
I feel sad to lose such good ewes. Both were devoted mothers and herd leaders. I am so frustrated that this disease issue continues to worry the flock. I am committed to eliminating it, though, for the long-term wellbeing of the sheep in my care. I have to assume that any disease that packs the lymph nodes with nasty puss has to be painful as well as economically damaging. I will really miss them both.
The rest of the flock seems very happy out on pasture. The grass is rich and the ewes are gaining a bit of weight to counter the pounds they’ve milked off in the last few months. We also have our first new lamb in a while! Sheppenwolf had a single ram lamb this morning.