Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Clouds Parted and Miracles Rained Down

I know that sounds kind of dramatic, but I need to express my relief in finding out from the vet that Queen Esther's foot issues are not, after all, the dreaded black plague of sheep: Foot Rot.

There is a particular combination of bacteria that produces a terribly contagious, damaging and deadly foot disease that has wiped out entire herds of beautiful sheep. Our concern was that, not only could the Queen be affected, but that having her on the farm could jeopardize our entire flock. DD and I had already begun practicing safe shepherding with biosecurity measures, and it was clear that a future of that would be a huge burden, and risk.

After taking a few stabs at trying to treat her myself with knowledge gained from the internet and from experienced shepherds, I called in the services of our farm veterinarian. After securing a last-minute appointment, DD and I stuffed the poor Queen into a dog crate, hoisted it into the truck and headed for Farmersville. Without even realizing we had a Queen in the truck bed, they saw us right away.

Dr. Spangler examined her foot, and after lots of pressing of pads and parting of toes, he declared that this was not, in fact, foot rot. He said that she must have been standing on wet ground for some time, which softened her toenails and allowed an infection to get in. He gave her a shot of NuFlor and prescribed daily toe dips in iodine until the foot dried out and healed. He expects her to regain soundness, though I didn't remember to press him for a time frame. In fact, he worked so fast that I didn't get a photo of him at all, what with all the prodding and rearranging and jostling of legs in the dog crate and whatnot that I was obliged to do.


DD and I carted her home, dipped her toe in iodine before releasing her back into her quarters, and heaved a Herculean sigh of relief.

I have not broken it to her that she will not now need the beautiful blue rubber boot when it comes by Priority Mail. Maybe she'll forget and I won't have to disappoint her. I'll add it to the growing Medical Kit and it will be ready in the future, should the need arise, God forbid.


The Queen and I thank you so very much for all the outpouring of love and concern and prayers and well wishes for her healing and comfort. She has surely found a home and community full of so much love that her tragic past will soon be only a dim memory.

4 comments:

  1. Terri9:31 AM

    Glad to hear she's on the mend! We always struggle with when it's appropriate to spend the money on a vet bill, but it sure is nice to know what's going on. Sounds like you did the right thing! That sheep is one lucky girl.

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  2. I'm glad to hear that she's going to do better. And glad to hear it's nothing super-threatening. Poor girl! Poor you guys!

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  3. I thought your post title was in reference to the thunder and lightening I awoke to this morning at 6:30am! I guess you were foreshadowing....

    Glad to hear the Queen is recuperating and doesn't have rot setting in. Hope the clouds made it east and it rained at your place too.

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  4. Yippee! Queen Esther, I am so glad that you are OK. Cindy you are a good mama! We will be looking forward to hearing she is all better.

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