Now I get to the not so nice part of this story...........
We came home last Sunday afternoon, and Abby appeared to be staggering, we quickly caught her and put her in a pen under a shade tree and I got electrolytes into her. She had a good appetite, no fever, no signs of distress except for the inability to keep her balance, so we left her with some good hay, a few supplements and checked on her in about an hour, no improvement, so more electrolytes. Over the next few days, she showed no improvement, one person suggested that she might have had a stroke, which made sense, another person suggested that meningeal worms may be the problem, so I dosed her with Ivemec. No improvement.
Time to call the vet....she was examined and it was determined that the issue was quite possibly a stroke. Everything thing about her was normal, no temp, no sign of worms, good appetite, just instability on one side. I made the tough decision along with my vet's recommendation and had her put down.... with her head in my lap, she slipped away peacefully. As much as I hated the thought of it, I had the vet do a necropsy and will have the results in about a week. It's important to me that I know why I lose a sheep, it's important to my flock and all the people that ever buy any sheep from me. Time and again I see Shetland breeders making decisions that are not fun, because they feel a sense of responsibility to other breeders and their own sheep. It warms my heart to see how much care and integrity I see in the Shetland sheep community.
Being a pet and livestock owner comes with a responsibility, and it's a responsibility that I take very seriously. I believe you should treat all living things with respect and kindness and do the right thing when the time comes to end their suffering.
Abby will forever rest on the top of the hill where she was born. Her 2011 lamb, Alabama, will continue to put smiles on the faces of our visitors, and mine as well. I guess she was accidentally given to me so that I could be reminded of why I fell in love with Shetland sheep.
|Abby had the longest fleece of any sheep I've ever owned.....she also had the most wool on her poll and cheeks of any sheep I've ever owned. I love wooly cheeks.....
This is a picture of her as a 2 yr old.