Weak lamb with stiff legs
(Perth Western Australia)
We have a 6 day old corps lamb who is feeding but having problems with standing up.
She has been getting progressively stiffer In the legs and is now having trouble standing.
We are feeding her 6 feeds per day 200ml a day.
Any suggestions? Much appreciated.
David @ Bev
Hi David and Bev,
There are several reasons for lambs getting stiff legs. When running through them here, only you will be able to see which of the symptoms best fit your lamb and therefore what treatment needs to be administered.
You didn't say whether the lamb has scours, which may have pinned the problem down a lot quicker if it has.
Having said that scours is not the only cause of stiff legs in lambs but so is constipation! If you think your lamb is constipated look for straining signs. To remedy this give her a couple of teaspoons of mineral oil and she should be right within a day or so.
A more serious cause of leg stiffness in lambs is enterotoxemia, accompanied by scours and possible convulsions.
To treat give her for enterotoxemia you can give her both allopathic medicine in the form of clostridium perfringens antitoxin - 10cc for a small lamb of less than 20 lbs. is all you need to see a remarkable recovery if this is the case, and if you managed to catch it in time - or treating the problem more naturally by giving her high doses of Vitamin C.
This is also very good in sorting out scours which should be started off by giving lambs a 1/4 pint of warm cooking oil. Then administer 10 g of Vitamin C, with 1 g of Vitamin B12 and 2 ml VAM in the same syringe, by injection. Then two teaspoons (10 g) of ascorbic acid powder orally, followed by a large teaspoon of each of the following:
dolomite, slippery elm powder and crushed garlic tablets. Repeat all except the oil, B12 and VAM at two hour intervals. Over the next 3 days continue with the Vitamin C injections, although there should be a noticeable improvement by the following day.
This last piece of advice comes from the well-known Pat Coleby.
If the stiffness gets worse and the lamb becomes paralyzed, ending up where it starts dragging its hindquarters, it may be tetanus and she will need a tetanus antitoxin shot to bring relief.
Finally, stiffness in the legs can be caused by white-muscle disease and can be corrected by injectable supplements of selenium and vitamin E.
As the symptoms of the above are very close, as mentioned earlier, only you will be able to judge what is wrong and what you should do to rectify the issue.
Please let us know how you get on.
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