ketosis, lambing sickness, pregnancy disease, sleepy sickness, twin lamb disease.
Occurs in pregnant ewes in the last month of pregnancy, and more common in ewes carrying multiple lambs.
Associated with a decline in the nutritional quality and increase in the demand for energy from the growing lambs. Outbreaks are usually associated with poor feed quality or periods of starvation due to yarding, transport, or weather changes.
Signs usually noted are weak ewes, lagging behind the mob or separating from the mob. They are thin with large abdomen. They may appear blind. Later they become drowsy and can show muscle tremors. They become too weak to stand and eventually full into a coma. The lambs commonly die.
Treatment response can vary depending on the stage of the disease that the treatment is started. Greater success is achieved when treatment is begun when the ewe is first noted to be lagging behind the mob. Without treatment approx 80% of ewes will die. Once comatose treatment is hopeless.
Ewes can be given 120ml of ketol daily
Inducing lambing to reduce the energy demand on the ewe maybe necessary
Vy-trate electrolyte mix in the water can help
Feed Lucerne hay and oats if the ewe is willing to eat.
Most importantly prevent the disease in other ewes, by adequate feeding. This means supplementary feeding in ewes a month before lambing. Ultrasounding to divide mob into single and multiple pregnancies. Avoid stress, starvation and transport of ewes heavy in lamb.
Please contact the Clare or Jamestown veterinary clinics with any questions, queries or further advice.