Henry Stewart.

The shepherd's manual. A practical treatise on the sheep online

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The patient being unable to move without great pain, should be
kept in a pen with a clean floor free from straw or chaff, or any-
thing that would irritate the foot or convey infection elsewhere.

A method recommended by the Hon. H. S. Kandall, who has
successfully treated many of his own flock in this manner, is to
procure a large tub or trough in which three sheep can stand at
one tune, and to pour into this tub a hot saturated solution of blue
vitriol (sulphate of copper), until it is four niches deep. The
sheep having had their feet washed, and all loose horn pared off,
are placed in the tub on their feet and held there by an assistant.
The first sheep is kept in the foot-bath until the fourth is ready to
go in, when it is taken out ; when the fifth goes in, the second is
turned out. Thus each sheep remains in the bath about ten min-
utes, giving time for the solution to penetrate every part of the
diseased hoof. After the bath, the sheep are kept in a dry grass
field. One application of this remedy served in every case, to
make a complete cure. This troublesome disease is rarely known
in this country upon dry pasture, and generally yields at once to a
simple paring of the feet and shortening of the overgrown toes, a
cleansing from all filth or irritating matter, and a dressing with an
astringent ointment such as the first above mentioned.

Common Foot-rot or Gravel, is not contagious, and being the re-
sult of accidental circumstances, is cured by their removal, together
with simple auxiliary treatment. It consists of an inflammation
of the internal parts of the foot, the formation of matter, its escape
at the top of the hoof, the separation of the horn or crust from
the diseased parts, and as a matter of course, extreme lameness.
It is caused by an excessive wear of the crust of the hoof upon
stony, gravely pastures, or by excessive growth of the crust or
toe, in low moist meadows. In either case, foreign matter enters
between the crust and the sole, and pressing upon the sensitive


parts beneath, causes inflammation, which not being at once rem-
edied, increases with the above results. The means of prevention
are obvious.

The treatment consists in removing the offending matter with
great care and tenderness by means of the knife or a small probe,
as a knitting needle or wire, cleansing the foot, and washing it in
astringent and antiseptic solutions, such as the following :

Chloride of Zinc 1 ounce.

Water 1 quart.

sulphate of copper or sugar of lead may be substituted for the
chloride of zinc. In very bad cases the treatment for malignant
foot-rot should be adopted. Removal from wet pastures is neces-
sary to a cure, and for some tune afterwards, or the trouble will
quickly recur.

Epizootic aphtha (foot-and-mouth disease), is highly contagious,
and will rapidly spread through a flock. It affects the feet as well
as the lips and tongue. The treatment has been already described
in this chapter.

Inflammation of tJie Interdigital Canal. This is of frequent
occurrence when sheep are driven upon sandy or dusty roads, are
pastured on sandy lands, or are permitted to lie in muddy yards.
Offending matter enters the canal and causes inflammation, which
spreads to the interior of the foot, and results hi swelling and great
tenderness. Removal of the irritating matter by means of a small
probe or the trimmed end of a feather dipped hi oil, and bathing
the foot in warm water and vinegar, are generally sufficient to re-
move the trouble. When sheep become lame, and the foot is
found hot, with no sign of outward cause, this may be at once

Canker of ihe foot is a very obstinate disease. It consists of in-
flammation of the sole of the foot, which gives way to a growth
of spongy sprouts instead of the natural hoof, and a discharge of
white curdy matter which has a most offensive odor. It is a simi-
lar disease to thrush or canker of the frog in horses. The most
frequent causes are folding the sheep in yards or sheds, where the
dung is allowed to collect in a mass which ferments and heats, and
from neglected cases of common foot-rot or inflammation of the
interdigital canal.

The treatment consists of the removal of all the separated hoof
at the first and every future dressing, along with any that may
appear sound, but has dead offensive matter beneath it. The foot
should then be washed in a solution of one dram of chloride of


zinc in a pint of water, and a pledget of tow or lint dipped in a
mixture of one part of common (not fuming) nitric acid with
three parts of water, should be applied to the whole of the cank-
ered surface. This should be repeated frequently, until a cure is


The number of lambs raised in proportion to those that are
dropped is far less than it ought to be. Probably ten per cent of
the lambs annually dropped, are lost through negligence or want
of simple methods of protection. Many are lost through neglect
of the condition of the ewes. The lambing season is one that calls
for great patience on the part of the shepherd, rather than for
great skill. A well disciplined flock, well provided with shelter
and quiet retreats for the ewes, will raise a larger proportion of
lambs than a neglected one. Dogs about a flock at lambing time
are an unmitigated nuisance, and cause many losses. When the
lambs begin to drop it is not difficult to discover those ewes that
will come in, in twenty-four hours. The parts become red and
swollen, and the udder swells and fills^ It is at this period that
the ewes need close watching, both to discover anything that may
go wrong, and to render assistance when it is needed. If the ewes
have been carefully tended, there is rarelv any difficulty encoun-
tered that may not be overcome by simple measures, yet amongst
the most carefully tended flocks there will be some occasional
cases which will call for the treatment herein described as ap-
plicable to the disorders mentioned.

There is rarely any necessity for manual assistance to the ewes
at lambing time. Sometimes in cases of protracted labor it will
be necessary for the shepherd to ascertain if the lamb is in proper
position, with the fore feet and head first ; if it is, the ewe may be
left alone with safetv. If the position is unnatural, help should
be given by an experienced shepherd. If no aid can be obtained,
it is dangerous for an inexperienced person to assist, lest he may
be too hasty and rough in his help. If the lamb is presented in
such a manner that it cannot be expelled, it should be gently
forced back again by some person with a small hand, the hand
being smeared with sweet-oil. It should then be gently brought
into such a position that the feet shall be presented first, with the
head lying upon them, and not doubled back. If the hind parts
are presented, the feet should be gently brought up after the lamb

has been pushed back. If the placenta or after-birth has not
come away in due season, it may be gently pulled by the hand,
when it will be generally expelled in a short time. If the ewe is
weak, a little warm gruel, sweetened and flavored with ginger,
may be fed with a spoon or given with a horn. It is the poor, lean,
badly kept ewes which, suffer most in lambing ; those in good condi-
tion, or even fat, rarely experience any difficulty.

Parturient Fever rarely attacks our native sheep, but imported
sheep are sometimes subject to it. It generally occurs within a
few days of lambing. The first symptoms are refusal of food,
twitching of the hind legs and ears, dullness and stupidity; the
head is carried down, the eyes are half closed, and a dark colored
discharge flows from the vagina. If the lamb is now dropped it
is dead, but the ewe, if kept quiet and well nursed, will generally
recover in two or three days. But if the lamb is not then expelled,
the symptoms grow worse, the ewe suffers from fever, and moans
with pain, and the discharge is very offensive. The lamb, if ex-
pelled at this stage, is in a high state of putrefaction, and the ewe
falls into a condition of collapse, from which she rarely recovers.
If the lamb is not expelled, the ewe dies.

The treatment should consist of the removal of the ewe from
the flock to a quiet pen, on the first appearance of sickness. She
should -be well cared for, and fed with warm gruel of linseed or
oat-meal. As soon as the dark colored discharge occurs, the lamb
is almost certainly dead, and beginning to decompose, and its re-
moval is necessary. The vagina should be washed with warm
water, and the finger, smeared with the extract of belladonna,
should be introduced into the passage every three hours until it is
sufficiently dilated to allow of the expulsion of the lamb. Two
tablespoonfuls of the following medicine should be given twice a
day, viz :

Calomel ' 8 grains.

Extract of Hyoscyamus 1 dram.

Linseed Tea Va pint.

At the same time a quarter of a pint of the following should be
given alternately with the above :

Epsom Salts 8 ounces.

Nitrate of Potash Va "

Carbonate of Soda 2 "

Water 1 pint.

The above mixtures should be shaken up before giving them.


After the bowels have been operated upon, these mixtures are
omitted, and the following given :

Nitrate of Potash Va ounce.

Carbonate of Soda 1 .

Camphor 1 dram.

Gum Water ". 8 ounces.

An eighth of a pint to be given twice a day. The ewe should be
fed chiefly upon thin oat-meal gruel and milk, or infusion of lin-
seed. After the lamb has been expelled, the uterus should be in-
jected with warm milk and water, or if there is a very offensive
discharge, one dram of chloride of lime dissolved hi a pint of
warm water, should be injected instead of the milk and water.

Abortion. This disease is not frequent amongst sheep, and
when it occurs can almost always be traced to the excessive use of
roots in cold weather, when the ewe is heavy with lamb. It has
also been known to occur in consequence of, or after, the heavy
dressing of turnip or mangel land with superphosphate, the crop
having been fed to the ewes, but this is probably in consequence
of the greater succulence of the roots so grown, rather than the
direct action of the phosphate. The distension of the stomach
with cold, watery food, so greatly reduces the temperature of the
abdominal viscera as to destroy the life of the foetus, which is pre-
maturely expelled, with all the disagreeable consequences to the
ewe described in the preceding paragraph. Chasing by dogs is a
very frequent cause.

The treatment is preventive and alleviative. Caution in feeding
roots to in-lamb ewes in any but small quantities, or in avoiding
fright, excessive exertion, and worrying, will prevent its occur-
rence. When it has happened, the following may be given with
some nourishing liquid food, viz :

Epsom Salts i/ a ounce.

Laudanum 1 dram.

Powdered Camphor ." i/ a "

The latter two only may be repeated the second day.

Garget. This disease consists of inflammation of the udder or
milk glands. It rarely occurs, except in those ewes which have
lost their young and are not supplied with foster lambs, or when
the teats are not opened readily by the new-born lamb ; or at
weaning time. If the ewe is in good condition, and has a large
flow of milk, which is not drawn off, the udder becomes gorged,
inflamed, and finally festers and suppurates. In this way some
ewes may lose part or the whole of the udder, and their useful-
ness as breeders be destroyed. It is also occasioned by allowing


a nursing ewe to lie in the wet and cold in the pasture or the
yards. In the summer time, when lambs are taken from the ewes
and sent to market, a ewe may become gargeted, and if neglected,
may become a victim to myriads of maggots which will breed in the
festering udder. Ewes are thus lost occasionally. It is obvious that
prevention will be most effective. When garget has occurred, the
Treatment is to give a purgative and diuretic to reduce the flow
of milk and any fever that may exist. This may be the following :

Epsom Salts 2 ounces.

Nitrate of Potash. 2 drams.

Ginger 1 "

to be given in water, and repeated in twenty-four hours. The
udder should be bathed in warm water, and a solution of carbon-
ate of soda be injected into the teats by a small metal syringe, and
afterwards milked out. The disease may result in the permanent
injury of the udder, or the closing of one or both of the teats, in
which case the ewe should be discarded as a breeder.

Inversion of tlie Uterus may occur in cases of severe labor,
when the ewe is weak. The womb is turned inside out, and pro-
trudes from the body as a red bladder. From ignorance this is
sometimes cut off, and the ewe destroyed. The parts should be
gently washed in warm water and cleansed from all foreign mat-
ter. The ewe should then be held so that the hinder parts are
raised, and with a small hand well greased with sweet-oil, or pure
fresh lard, the womb should be returned, gently working it into
its natural position by the thumbs or fingers. The finger nails
should be closely pared, lest they may wound the tender parts.
A needle with a strong linen thread or fine catgut, should then be
passed through the skin upon both sides of the vagina, and tied
so as to form a loop across it which will prevent the uterus from
again protruding ; 20 to 30 drops of tincture of opium should be
given in some warm gruel, and the ewe left to rest upon a soft bed
in perfect quiet with her hind parts raised above the level of her
head, for several days.


Ophthalmia. This is a disease of the eye frequently caused by
cold, or by grazing in stubble fields, when the straws of the stub-
ble will occasionally wound the eyes. It is perceived at once by
the tenderness and redness of the organ, a flow of tears, and a
discharge of pus from the corner of the eye. It is readily cured


by washing the eye with a solution of four grains of sulphate of
zinc in an ounce of warm water, and keeping the sheep in a dark
stable for a day or two. If the eye is seriously inflamed, and the
sheep distressed with pain, give a dose of an ounce of Epsom salts
dissolved in water, and twenty drops of laudanum may be added
to the zinc solution above mentioned with good effect.

Castration. This necessary operation should be performed as
early as possible, as there is less danger of evil effects following it
than when the lamb is older. The lining membrane of the scro-
tum is a continuation of that of the abdomen, and when inflam-
mation follows the operation, it is readily communicated to the
abdomen, and peritonitis or inflammation of the membrane lining
the cavity and enveloping the bowels results, and this is generally
fatal. A lamb a week old may be deprived of the whole scrotum
and testicles, by one stroke of a pair of shears, without any danger
or the loss of more than a few drops of blood. But when the
lamb has become spme months old, the organ has become fully
developed as to nerves and vessels, and a more careful operation
must be performed. An excellent method is for the operator to
sit upon a long bench, with one of the lamb's hind legs beneath
each of his thighs, the head and fore legs being held by an assist-
ant. Taking the scrotum in the left hand, he presses the testicles
towards the lower end, making the skin tight and smooth. He
then makes a free incision with a sharp knife at the bottom of
the scrotum beneath each testicle; the membranes which sur-
round them are cut through, the cords and vessels which are at-
tached to them, are scraped, not cut asunder, and the operation is
completed. To castrate a mature ram, an incision is made at the
bottom of each compartment of the scrotum, each testicle being
removed separately, the cords and vessels being always scraped
asunder. The main point to secure is, to have the wound at the
bottom of the scrotum, so as to allow the pus, which will form
within it, to escape. If this pus is retained hi the wound, it
becomes absorbed, inflammation is communicated to the adjacent
parts, and a fatal termination is likely to ensue. To prevent
this, a small lock of wool is sometimes left in the wound, by
which it is kept open and the danger averted.

DocMng. This operation should be performed on all the lambs
when a week or two old. It is then but slightly painf ul. The
best method is to take the lamb between the knees, holding its
rump closely against a block of wood. Then drawing the skin of
the tail towards the rump, with the ringers of the left hand, a


sharp chisel is held by the right hand upon the tail, below the
fingers, and two inches from the rump ; a boy gives the chisel a
smart rap with a light mallet, and the tail is severed at one stroke
with a smooth cut which leaves the bone in a good condition to
heal quickly. A p"inch of powdered copperas may be placed on
the stump of the tail to stanch any bleeding, and to keep off flies.

Fractures of the limbs sometimes occur through neglect to let
down bars when sheep are entering or leaving a fold or field, or
through other accidents. These are easily repaired by bringing
the broken ends of the bone together in the proper position, and
binding the limbs in splints of wood. The splints should be
wrapped with strips of cloth to prevent them from chafing the
limbs, and the bandage should be made secure, but not so tight as
to interfere with the circulation. The bandage should be worn three
or four weeks, and if occasionally examined, there will be no need
to shut up the patient from the rest of the flock. An excellent
splint is made by soaking coarse brown paper in water and wrap-
ping it around the broken limb and then binding it with bandages
of muslin. When the paper dries a very firm support is given if
sufficient is used.

Wounds, either punctured, incised, or lacerated, may occur from
a variety of causes. When a sheep is wounded, the first thing to
be done is to wash the wound with a soft cloth or sponge and
warm water. If blood flows freely from an important artery, and
it cannot be stanched by the use of brown sugar or powdered cop-
peras, the bleeding end of the artery should be sought, and twisted
two or three times, which will usually stop the flow. A sheep
will rarely bleed to death, except from a wound which severs the
arteries or veins of the throat. It may faint from loss of blood,
and the flow may then, or soon afterwards, stop. If the wound
is a clean cut with smooth edges, it should be closed, the
wool being clipped around it, and two or more stitches taken
through the skin at the edges, by which they may be kept together.
The stitch should be passed through the skin in two places directly
opposite each other on either side of the wound ; the thread
should then be tied tightly enough to keep the edges in contact,
but no more, and tire ends cut off. Other similar stitches are to
be made, and the wound is dressed upon the surface by smearing
it with an ointment of tar and powdered blue vitriol. If the
wound is punctured and deep, it should be dressed by injecting
with a syringe a few drops of compound tincture of benzoin, and
inserting in it a plug of lint or tow dipped hi the same. This will


keep the wound open until it heals from the bottom. If allowed
to close before the bottom is healed, an abscess will be formed,
which will need to be opened. If the wound is in such a
position that the pus formed cannot escape freely, it should be
removed twice a day by means of a feather or a swab of linen
at the end of a small stick, and the plug soaked in tincture of
benzoin inserted. If any foreign matter, such as a splinter of
wood, remains in the wound, it must be removed, if necessary
by enlarging the wound, before it can heal. A wound that is dif-
ficult to heal from its depth and narrowness, may sometimes be
made more tractable by opening and enlarging it at the top.
Lacerated wounds will need to be treated as both incised and
punctured wounds. Where the torn parts can be brought to-
gether, stitches should be made, and where the flesh is separated
from the surrounding tissue, the fragments may be cut off. The
deeper parts should then be treated as punctured wounds. Such
wounds are long in healing, because skin is reproduced only from
the edges of the sound surface. As many of the lacerated por-
tions of skin as possible should be brought together, so as to form
edges from which the^new growth may start. It will be a ques-
tion if the value of the sheep in this case will repay the time and
labor spent in treating it. If not, to take its skin at the outset
may be the most advisable course. To cure a large wound in the
fly season is a work of much trouble.

Sprains are not uncommon accidents in a large flock. They are
reduced very easily by rest, and the use of a liniment such as

Olive-oil 1 pint.

Ammonia Water... 2 ounces.


Lambs frequently fall victims to some diseases which seem to
affect them more virulently than they do grown-up sheep, or else
the young animal having less strength or vitality than the mature
one, more easily succumbs to those diseases. In its earlier life
it is also affected with some disorders peculiar to its condition.
These diseases call for special treatment. The most troublesome
ailment to which lambs are subject, are those of the digestive or-
gans, and chief amongst this is

Diarrhea or " White Scours". In the unweaned lamb diarrhea
takes the form generally known as " white scours." This appears


as a liquid discharge of a white color, which is simply the passage
through the bowels of undigested milk. It is caused by a change
in the quality of the ewe's milk, which is not coagulated in the
lamb's stomach, and remains as an irritative agent, exciting the
bowels to undue action, by which the milk is discharged soon
after it is swallowed, almost without change. The food of the ewe
probably has much to do with this, as the trouble is most frequent
when the ewe is fed upon rank, succulent, watery herbage, or an
excess of roots. When this cause does not exist, it arises from a
disordered condition of the lamb's stomach. When the former
cause is suspected, the ewe should be treated. The food should
be changed to other kinds of a more solid and nutritious charac-
ter. A poorer pasture should be provided, or hay be given for a
few days, along with some crushed oats and corn, or malt, linseed,
cotton-seed-meal, bran, or peas. The lamb should receive the
following daily, until recovered, viz :

Linseed-oil 1 teaspoonful.

Essence of Ginger 5 drops.

When the cause exists within the lamb, two teaspoonf uls of the
following astringent mixture may be given night and morning,
after the before mentioned has operated, viz :

Prepared Chalk 1 ounce.

Powdered Catechu 4 drams.

" Ginger 2 "

" Opium "A "

Peppermint Water , 1 pint.

to be mixed. Shake before administering.

Sometimes the discharge consists of a pale, greenish liquid, sim-
ilar to whe}'- ; this is the result of indigestion, as the food of the
lamb taken in excess is coagulated in the stomach, and accumu-
lates sometimes to several pounds in quantity. When this occurs,
in addition to the looseness and color of the dung, the lamb is
dull, walks raoodily behind the ewe with its head drooped, and
the abdomen is !iard and swollen. The following should then be
given twice, viz : Carbonate of Magnesia, half ounce, mixed in
water, to be followed by half an ounce of Epsom salts in a teacup-
f ul of water, after which the astringent medicine should be given.
This course of treatment should be followed in case of the " green
scours," which may happen after weaning, when the lamb is
turned upon clover pasture. Sometimes the presence of worms in
the stomach and intestines will cause a looseness of the bowels.
In such a case the discharge from the bowels will be mixed with


slime or mucus. The treatment should then be as follows : give
to a year-old lamb

Linseed-oil 1 ounce.

Powdered Opium 3 grains.

Starch 1 ounce.

mixed in boiling water to make a draught. A teacupful of rice
water should be given twice a day. The above to be repeated the
second day. After the irritation of the bowels is removed, give
the following:

Linseed-oil 2 ounces.

Spirits of Turpentine 4 drams.

to be repeated weekly for a month if considered necessary.

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Online LibraryHenry StewartThe shepherd's manual. A practical treatise on the sheep → online text (page 22 of 23)