It’s been a few weeks since we wrote about Vera our ewe with “a touch of the itchies”. See earlier story: “Vera gets a touch of the itchies”
So, I thought I’d give you a wee progress update.
Happily I can report that since the vet’s visit in July, Vera’s been gradually getting better. Although the vet hadn’t been 100% certain what had caused Vera’s “itchies”; in the days following his visit it was looking more and more like his suggestion of photosensitivity.
We scanned our pastures for any suspect plants. The main culprits are umbelliferous plants and St John’s Wart. I thought we had none of these where the sheep graze, as a horticulturalist I am always on the look out for “dodgy plants”. But to my horror I found some Wood Angelica lurking in a dingy corner and my heart sank.
Several broken spades later I had removed about 25 of the villains. Phew I thought, that should stop any further outbreaks. I then whizzed off to the nearest chemist for some Sudocrem. I had done some research and checked with the vet and Sudocrem would be the perfect ointment to aid Vera’s recovery once the affect of the steroids started to wear off.
And so began “The Cream Ritual”. At first Vera was a bit suspicious of me brandishing my pot. However, a few short days after being totally unimpressed with “the funny smelling white stuff”, she started to seek me out and wait patiently as I smoothed it on. Pretty soon Vera made it plain she loved The Cream Ritual. As soon as I took the lid off the pot, her neck grew several inches longer and she started to lick the air whilst nodding her head up and down, all tell-tale signs of a happy sheep.
As the days went by, Vera, on spotting me, came trotting up and leaned into me as I smoothed the cream on. Her favourite spots were under her armpits. She began to lift her back legs up to let me get right in. The Cream Ritual became a really enjoyable part of both of our days.
Now, nearly 3 months later with the days shortening and no more scorchy days, Vera is almost completely better. I’ve stopped applying Sudocrem much to Vera’s disappointment so I’ve been giving her plenty of head scratches and chest rubs to compensate. I also check her skin on a daily basis just to make sure she’s OK. Although it’s autumn there are still a few warm days and too much sunshine can cause a flare up. So, it’s slow progress, but Vera’s getting there.
We just hope that she hasn’t become photosensitised indefinitely but only time will tell. For the moment, she is OK and that is what matters.