sad day for the sheep : LUSENET : Country Families : One Thread

Well, if you will remember, I am keeping two pregnant Ewes for my friend. Today around 11 a.m. I noticed the younger of the two pawing the ground and showing some discomfort. She continued this until 3 p.m. and then she delivered the head and one leg of a little lamb. I reached in to assist her, and found that the other leg was twisted around the lambs back and blocking his arrival, so I untangled it and the mom pushed him out quickly. When he was out, he wasn't breathing, so I gave him a puff or two and got him to breathing on his own (anyone else give their animals mouth to mouth??)I then noticed that blood was PUMPING out of his umbilical cord, only there wasn't any umbilical cord there! There was just pumping blood from a hole where the umbilical cord should have been. I clamped it off tightly with my fingers, but it still kept coming. At this time a friend of mine arrived and she clamped it while I ran for the phone and called the vet. I have a wonderful large animal vet here in Flagstaff and he doesn't hesitant to tell me stuff on the phone; not one time did he say, "well if you can bring him up here....". He told me to get the stronger iodine (7%) and dose the area and using a pair of pliers pinch the cord area thus collapsing the artery. Well, by golly it worked!! The little guy lost lots of blood and was very weak, so I carried it in the house and stomach tubed him (this was after trying to milk the ewe....she out weighs me by about 250 lbs....and it was 20 degrees with a blowing wind today and my fingers were frozen). Gave him colostrum, a bo-se shot, and a shot of penicillin. He doesn't look well. The area keeps breaking open and bleeding. If he makes it through the night, I will carry him to the vet in the morning for stitching. While talking to the vet on the phone, he asked if the ewe was still laboring with another lamb. I told him I believed she was. He said not to wait to long before checking, as most likely the cord broke because it was wound around the body of another lamb in the womb. So, after caring for the first little guy as well as I could, I went out to check the ewe. Sure enough, there was another little guy in there; dead. He was folded nearly in two, and it took me quite some time to straighten him out to deliver him. Sure enough, there was cords wrapped around him. What an adventure for my first lambings. I have given the ewe penicillin and probios. My heart aches for her. The other ewe looks eminent herself. I pray it is not tonight, as my husband is out of town and it is -3 already. In His Grace, Sissy

-- Sissy Barth (, February 01, 2002


Sissy, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Let us know how it goes. Take care. Terran

-- Terran in VT (, February 01, 2002.

Oh Sissy, sounds like a long night, and not a good one. I rmmebr when our horse was sick and finally died, it was just awful sitting in the barn hoping and praying. I hope the little guy makes it.

-- Melissa in SE Ohio (, February 01, 2002.

Sissy, sounds like you did a wonderful job! I hope the little one makes it but if it doesn't, it certainly won't be your fault. You should have been a vet!!!

-- Barb in Ky. (, February 01, 2002.

Thankyou everyone. The little lamb made it through the night. I truly didn't think he would. I ended up closing the torn spot myself, and he hasn't bled anymore since late last night. I have been tube feeding him with the colostrum mixed with goats milk, 6 ozs every 5 hours. He is weak, but his "baaa" is very strong. Seems to be resting well. The other ewe hasn't done anything...yet. : ) Any ideas on how to help him since he lost so much blood? The only thing I can think of is Red Cell. Sissy

-- Sissy Barth (, February 01, 2002.

Peronally, I think it was a"good day" for the little guy because you kept your head and really suceeded in taking care of him..give yourself a hug girl! I know zero about livestock, but in any mammal, the loss of significant blood can be overcome nicely by an IV fluid treatment. The loss of blood volume causes less oxygen to the tissues, fluid replacement increases serum volume, hence halps a great deal to act as a filler if you will until blood is made up by the body. Fluids and warmth go a very long way...Have you ever done an IV? It is not difficult at all, so perhaps your vet will start it for you and then you can follow up at home? Depending on the size of the little one, I cannot imagine large amlunts of IV saline would be needed....Please keep us updated. Oh yeah, one more thing..a simple Kelly clamp can be had often at livestock suppliy stores or even yard sales in a rural area..they are made for clamping just about anything and have a nice self-locking handle so you can clamp and not have to hold the thing anymore while you are stitching...they are used for anything born with an umbilical cord..God bless.

-- lesley (, February 01, 2002.

Well, the little guy died. Lesly, after I read your post....I remembered that I had IV bags and saline in my supplies!! Oh how sad! I haven't had to use them in sooo long that I totally forgot they were there. So, as an after thought to this whole episode, I can look back and see where I did all that I could do, except remember what was in my supplies. So, I am going through and making of list of what I have on hand, and what I am lacking. Is that clamp called a Kelly clamp? Is that what I ask for in the store? And, does anyone know the details about sewing up the inner lining of the body? Thankyou, Sissy

-- Sissy Barth (, February 01, 2002.

Sissy, answered your post and then hit the wrong button! Arghhhh. Who knows if IV fluids would have helped this one..but it is a good thing to remember for next time..Kelly clamp it is..maybe your vet can get one cheaper for you..a "snap" is the same thing but smaller and hard to handle with blood on it...again, I only know laot about people, not livestock..with people, suturing the inner tissues is done with dissolving suture material most often because catcut tends to cause irritation and cysts, etc...they also have a habit of travelling after a few the time the sutures have dissolved, the area is healed..think of inner tissue like biting your heals much faster than the outer layer of skin. BTW, the only time you have to suture an inner layer of tissue is when the laceration goes very deep, below the heavy layer of fat and involves muscle...the layers of skin involved in a deep laceration can all be held together by superficial suturing..the inner tissues heal by " secondary intention"..just being in close proximity to one another does it.I have done a great deal of suturing, even on newborn infants...remember, in most cases of belly wounds. you can usually push or pull the muscle layer out of the muscle is torn, it's a whole new ballgame..I hope this "people" knowledge helps a little. I am sure the goat and sheep folks would know much more..maybe if you posted another topic so they wouldn't miss it? God bless.

-- lesley (, February 02, 2002.

thanks for the info. I guess I could have sewn him up, because it didn't go through the muscle. What about the bad bleeding though? would that have stopped upon stitching? I love medicine and wish I had finished college. In His Grace, Sissy

-- Sissy Barth (, February 04, 2002.

I doubt very much from your description of the event that this animal could have been saved by anyone. The umbilical cord in mammals has three blood vessels in it, and when all three are torn the blood loss is extremely fast and large quantities. Since there was no "stump' to lock onto, I think it likely that the bleeding you saw from the surface of the abdomen was, in all likelihood, just half of what was truly going on internally. In a case of a plain abdominal laceration, yes, the bleeding will stop with pressure and suturing unless a significant blood vessel has also been damaged. Those three vessels in the umbilical cord area are composed of both arteries and a vein (or is it one artery and two veins? LOL) any rate, the point is that at least one of the arteries were severed and unless you are a trained person in emergency veterinary medicine, you would not be familiar with the anatomy of the vessels needed to go "hunting" for them in order to tie them off. Unfortunately, in human medicine, I have seen several people die within 5 minutes of rupturing an abdominal artery..cannot imagine how this would be any different in the animal world since blood volume is blood volume. So, even if you had the expertise, you would have had only 5 minutes or so to identify the location of the ruptured artery and then tie it off. I have to tell you that with all of my years of experience I wouldn't have been able to do that in a human since I am not a vascular surgeon by any means. Big difference between simple suturing and arterial repairs! Again, God bless you for trying so hard to save those could have just thrown up your hands and done nothing.

-- lesley (, February 04, 2002.

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