Friday, 6 November 2015

A Pea-Sized Problem?

Sheep meds - against Clostridium
More vetinary adventures for us in this post, this time involving sheep and our 3 year old Westie bitch, Poppea.

First up, the sheep. You will recall our little sheep-team was saddened by the rather sudden death of the ram we borrowed recently, Rambo, a couple of weeks after he was shipped home. Our research since and consultations with our sheep-vet have convinced us that this was probably the result of Clostridium infection which tends to kill quickly and without much warning. Sheep carry these bacteria around, by all accounts, in their tonsils area and something else - some weakness or shock sets the raging infection off. Most shepherds locally (we now know) innocculate preventatively for this in the same way you might do a dog; two shots 6 weeks apart to start you off, then repeat jabs annually.

The victims looking a bit anxious.
The vet recommended a 10-type (ten species of Clostridium) concoction called Covexin 10 which was not stocked locally, so we needed a mercy-dash to the Swinford branch of our local farms co-op for it, It is also rather pricey at €69 per 50 ml but this would do 50 doses and will keep till 2017. All these drugs are 'designed' for farmers with a size-able flock, and they do not sell a 'small holder' sized bottle. [Aside: The vet was horrified by this price and said it should have been more like €35, so I checked my receipt and found they had run 100 ml through the till, though I got a 50 ml bottle. I need a run back to Swinford and sort this out. Things you discover when you go to write a blog post!].

You'd not want to find THESE on the bathroom floor.
Sheep toenail clippings. 
The vet came this morning. I was ready with the four victims penned in my new hurdle-pen and looking a bit anxious. I had already trimmed Polly's feet and sprayed them, and was well into dagging Myfanwy's tail, so well they might. I got the vet to show me how to do the injections (simple subcutaneous ones) so that I can do the follow up ones, or any for friends' sheep, myself - I have 50 ml of Covexin to get through and each sheep only needs 1 ml per shot. I then quizzed her on the fluke/wormer thing and she advised drenching a bit later on - maybe after Christmas when we round them up for their 2nd jabs. Apparently the drench can cause issues with tiny new lamb foetusses and you are better letting the pregnancy progress a while before you start lashing in the chemicals.

There! You don't get many pics of dogs' boobies on any
other blog, do you? Poppea's little swelling.  This 'Lady' has
at least swung her tail down and under to cover up her modesty
Then there was Poppea, making a lovely recovery from her spay a few weeks back, when we found her licking at her scar. On checking we found she had a neat pea-sized swelling part way down the scar line. I was concerned that this might be a small hernia with 'innards' coming through an unhealed split in the abdomen muscle wall, so tonight we were back off to the other vet, in town for some reassurance. No need to worry, apparently.

Poppea back home and resting after her adventure
By the time we got there, of course, Poppea had licked and nibbled the swelling till it had burst and then licked the area clean. It was just a minor swelling (oedema) at one of the stitches with fluid trapped beneath the skin. The muscle wall is intact  The tiny flap of skin will heal itself. She will keep it clean by licking it. There's a relief. We had worries about her having to go back under the knife to get the 'rupture' stitched up.

A good name, a beer deserving of a second chance?
Home for a well deserved beer then, and I had spotted another of the modern glut of "craft beers" with fancy names and modern, garrulous labels. This was "Sheep Stealer" from the Black Donkey Brewery who are in a town/village so near that it contains my nearest Protestant (Church of Ireland) place of worship, Ballinlough, County Roscommon, were I so inclined. To be honest, I was not that impressed by the beer first time out. It was a pale yellow, very hazy, a bit acid and massively gassy. These, I know are deliberate in some beers and can be the sign of a good 'craft' beer but they are not for me. I was about to abandon it, but to take this picture, I picked up the old bottle and gave it a good read. I learned, as well as being obliged to read a rather spurious "legend" about farm women dressing as sheep and hiding among the flock to try to avoid being raped and pillaged by the local raiders, that this beer is "unfiltered, all natural and bottle conditoned". It ferments in the bottle and lays down a deposit of spent yeast as it goes. "Store upright", it advises, "at 8-10ÂșC, pour gently into glass. Don't disturb the yeast".

The bees still very active in the warm afternoons, chasing
ivy pollen and nectar. 
Ooops. I'd just brought it home at room temperature, whacked half of it into a French 250 ml glass, glugged away and gone back for the 2nd half. No wonder it was hazy but to be fair I point to 2 'excuses' in my defence. First, you don't expect to have to read the instructions before you pour beer and second, that wordy modern label covers so much bottle you'd struggle to see that you were stirring up yeast; only the head and shoulders and the 'arse' of the bottle are actually transparent!. Ah well. I am being fair too, and I will go buy some more as this is a local producer, and treat it correctly before passing judgement. I can't see that improving the 'acid' and the thin taste but it should sort out the 'hazy' and the 'gassy'. I'll let you know.

Well paired off now - Min and Belvedere. 
Meanwhile back at the ranch, a quick round up of where we are. Liz is still coming and going on her alternating half weeks of house/Dad sitting and work. She was last heard of opening a bottle of Mum-in-Law's Chateauneuf du Pape to let it breathe. Times is hard in austerity Ireland? The bees are enjoying these warm afternoons - I have even seen them 'fanning' to stir up an air flow through the hive to cool it and get rid of moisture while converting nectar to honey. They will be enjoying the ivy which is in full bloom now. Old widow Guinea Fowl 'Min' is now solidly paired off with our new cock bird, Belvedere. The other new bird proves to be a hen and is as solidly paired off with one of the young turkey cocks. She may be our first taste of local Guinea fowl, but don't tell her that just yet.


Anne Wilson said...

Where did you get the beer Matt? We knew there was a micro brewery on the industrial estate but haven't got it sussed yet. If there is yeast in the bottle use the dregs to make your Yorkshire puddings, I used to save the Worthington White Shield dregs when I had the pub especially to use for the Yorkies, made the best ones ever,

Matt Care said...

One of the SuperValu supermarkets, Anne. Castlerea or Ballaghaderreen. I can't quite remember which, but both seem to have a goodly range of craft beers now. I am always in there for my Galway Hooker and happened to spot the sheep-based label. I may be obsessing on the sheeps at this stage! :-)

Paul. said...

Hi Matt,

It's Paul from the bog, where you walk the dog's, i wonder if you could tell me which vet you use as i am looking for one closer to me please.



Matt Care said...

Hi Paul - long time no see (though I've seen "where you've been" of course; all that hard work on the turf! :-) Yes of course I will tell you which vets but not on here. How to get the info to you... are you on Facebook? Or do you want to give me an e-mail address or mobile no. If you like, put one of those in a comment here and I will blank it out when I publish.