A couple of weeks ago as I was cleaning out the field shelter, the sheep milling about me ‘helping’, I happened to notice Vi had some discharge around her nose.
A clear nasal discharge is usually nothing to worry about, but Vi’s was definitely on the green side. Oh, I immediately thought, Pneumonia? Botfly? An awful disease that I don’t know about? Sheep are good at disguising when they’re not well. As sheep parents we’re always on the lookout for subtle changes in behaviour and signs that something might be amiss. However this discharge was definitely not subtle.
I wiped Vi’s nose with a tissue and sat on a rock to ponder. Vi seemed her usual happy self, especially after I gave a her a foot rub which she particularly enjoys. After my initial catastrophising I decided to monitor her for a few days and phone the vet if anything changed for the worse.
A week went by and Vi’s nose was still showing a greenish discharge, albeit less as the week progressed. I nevertheless decided to call the vet anyway just to be sure. Before calling, I thought it might be helpful to be armed with some more information. I didn’t want to waste the vet’s time if all she needed was a shot of antibiotic. So off I went in search of a thermometer so I could take her temperature.
After much rummaging in the cupboard I found four thermometers, all in working order (amazingly!) I grabbed one and also a halter and some sheep nuts for all eventualities. At the last minute I also stuffed into my rucksack my ‘sheep health fact sheet’ and a pen.
The flock were relaxing, chewing cud in one of the lower fields. As luck would have it they were mooching near a small pen I had set up when I sheared Vera last month. I called Vi over and popped her in.
The first thing I noticed was that Vi had no more green discharge. I hoped this meant that she was OK now but decided to take her temperature anyway. Vi is very tame and friendly so I stupidly thought she’d be happy with me popping a thermometer into her bottom. Needless to say she was not … I was glad I’d brought a halter with me and a few minutes later Vi was tied up and giving me a look. I inserted the thermometer again and waited 30 seconds.
Vi’s temperature turned out to be absolutely normal, as did the other checks I did, respiration rate and rumination rate, she passed with flying colours.
I released her and she took the opportunity to inspect my rucksack before heading off to join her pals.
I’ll continue to keep an eye on her, but so far she appears to be over her little bout of whatever it was.