Navel Ill

Every year I get questions about stiff lambs with one or more swollen joints, these lambs are not doing well and they hurt when they move. Joints may show no swelling early. Navel ill needs to be distinguished from white muscle disease where the entire lamb moves with difficulty and the muscles may appear swollen. Lambs affected with navel ill tend to be the poorer lambs of the group.

Bacteria enter via the navel cord shortly after birth from contaminated surroundings and perhaps some times the vaginal channel during birth or assisted birth. My solution to prevent navel ill is simple, include one cc of penicillin along with one cc of CDT mixed in the same syringe when applying bands before the lambs leave the jug.

The long standing perceived method is to apply iodine shortly after birth. To do this adequately on a timely basis is almost impossible. Most of the time, all you achieve is stains of the fingers. A cc of pen at processing is much more effective and provides some tetanus protection as well.

Treatment resolves around sustained use of antibiotics, and I prefer penicillin. 1cc per 10# body wt daily subcutaneous. I like to start with two cc of dexamethasone once and Banamine can be used to control pain. Results will be determined by the amount of joint damage and early diagnosis is important.

About Ask-a-Vet Sheep

Veterinary services, procedures, biologicals, and drugs mentioned in this publication represent the personal opinions and clinical observations of the contributing author. They are in no way intended to be interpreted as recommendations without the consent of the producer’s own practicing Veterinarian. We strongly urge that producers establish a patient-client-veterinarian relationship that allows extra-label use when there are no drugs approved for treatment or if approved drugs are not effective. This procedure allows veterinarians to go beyond label directions when “prudent use” is necessary. The limited availability of drugs and biologics in this country is a major factor in restricting the growth of the sheep industry and allowing producers to compete in the world market place.
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3 Responses to Navel Ill

  1. traci says:

    How often can you deworm with dectomax? We have some young show lamb and kids that are on drylot but have pale eyelids

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