Quadriplegic ram lamb is now more of a hemiplegic ram lamb. His right side is much, much weaker than the left. His front legs are much weaker than the back. His physical therapy involves “walking” from place to place now. I get him up in the morning and, with my hands in his wool over his shoulders and hips, hold him steadyish as he “walks”. His walk is more of a drunken-appearing stumble with frequent falls and face plants if I didn’t have his back (literally). He has only been capable of moving his legs in a synchronized walking motion, no matter how weak the legs, for the first time today. Prior to today, the legs moved randomly in kicking motions with one front leg ominously not moving at all.
He spent several hours foraging his own food today (from his chest-lying position), something he hasn’t done since before he got sick. He would lay passively flopped over until today and wait for me to bring him something, stuff it in his mouth, and prop him back up. Today, he ate grass with his side supported by a log instead of holding out for the choicest honeysuckle vines, grape leaves, pecan leaves, and the leaves of all my other trees and plants that I normally gather for him. Thank goodness! He will baaaaa at me when he’s out of food within neck stretch and I need to move him to a new location. (Yes, I am aware that I have been trained by a sheep. Sad, isn’t it?) His twin usually grazes pretty close to where he’s lying.
His physical therapy plan includes time spent suspended in the sling with his food placed on his weak side so that he MUST put weight on the weak legs in order to hold himself up so that he can eat. The food has to be something he really likes or he’ll just sag in the sling, refuse to stand, and give me evil looks. I’ve reintroduced pellets (alfalfa) to his diet in the last two weeks, a scant handful in the morning for a week, and this week I’ve added an afternoon feeding when he showed no ill effects. He has been eagerly licking the sheep mineral that was sprinkled on his leaves. I probably need to taper that now.
Since his forage intake has gone up, he’s taking in less water. He’s drinking @ a quart to a quart and a half a day as opposed to his previous two quarts plus. He’s urinating well (on my SHOE today) and his manure is shiny and well formed, not dull, dry, and hard.
Goodness, just writing this is boring me to sleep. I might have to sell it on Kindle as a soporific. The purpose in writing this isn’t to bore the normal reader to tears; it is more of a journal to the sheep folk out there who may be contemplating saving their deer-worm afflicted sheep with varying neurologic symptoms. Run away, run away if you have full-time employment off the farm! You will be putting more anthelminthic into the critter than you would receive from selling him or her if/when it recovers. You will be putting hours and hours into its recovery and, even if you value your hours at minimum wage, well, the value of your hours are going to exceed the value of your sheep within a week unless it’s a multi-thousand-dollar show animal. The older the sheep, probably the more difficult the recovery.