My cousin in law always told me that as kids, whenever they were sick their grandfather would refer to them as “sick child brand”. For whatever reason, that stuck with me.
But today we have sick lamb, not child.
Poor little Darby has been unwell.
Here he is last weekend, eating grass with his mama, happy as a clam. I’d known for awhile that Amelia wasn’t able to produce enough milk for him, and she was drastically underweight herself owing to only having one tooth up front. I’d tried to bottle feed Darby several times but he absolutely refused it, and honestly, was so happy eating grass and hay I figured he’d be fine. He was never a weak lamb, so I had little reason to worry.
Except that this past Friday he was looking pretty hunchy to me. I checked his eyelids and they looked pretty pale so I gave him a dose of levamisole and sent him back to mama, figuring he’d be fine in a few days.
By the next morning he wasn’t walking, and could not even stand on his own. Panicked, I called the vet. She advised me to try the bottle again, or tube feed him if necessary (basically, you insert a tube down their throat and into their stomachs and pour in the milk. I’ve done it several times, but it always makes me nervous, so I don’t like to).
I heated up a bottle – he reluctantly accepted it – and within ten minutes he was back on his feet and eating grass with his mama again. The vet advised me to keep giving him bottles, that perhaps his rumen was not yet able to handle the grass or hay without the milk.
Yesterday he was back down again, and though we fed him several bottles, gave him a couple doses of power punch (super vitamins and energy) he would not stand on his own, but rather lie on his side and try to munch the grass that way.
Today wasn’t much better.
The difference today is that it is cold and rainy and miserable out, so I brought him into the house.
I called the vet again today, and she is still sure of her diagnosis, and after checking a few other things and adding a few other remedies to my list for him (baby aspirin, a small dose of selenium and vitamin E just in case) she reassured me that although his recovery will be slow, she feels pretty certain he WILL recover.
I could have flown, I felt so relieved.
The kids loved the novelty of a lamb in the living room all day.
I’ll be heading out just after dark for his evening bottle, which I am NOT looking forward to, but it will be so worth it when he’s back to running about with the other lambs.