Tristan’s Banged Up Head
I have been slowly disassembling the breeding groups already, for various reasons, and one being the rams seem to be bored with the ewes already. I’m hoping it is a sign that all are bred and accounted for. Fennel’s group is the only one that is still the same as when I left it. Lancelot is covering Raider’s and Tristan’s groups now, as a clean up ram. I’m really hoping he doesn’ t have anyone to “clean up.”
Anyway, today was the day to gather up Tristan and his girls. I am VERY thankful that I had been urged to do it today and actually DID do it, rather than wait. As they were all put in to the trailer, I noticed that there were flies really bothering Tristan’s left horn. Upon closer inspection I saw that he had fly strike developing inside of the horn – between the sheath and the bone. For those that don’t know what fly strike is (prepare to be grossed out), it is when there is an open wound in a perfectly live animal and the flies will go in that wound and lay their eggs. We all know what a fly’s eggs develop in to, right? Yes, maggots. Soon those nasty little things will be eating your animal alive, on the inside. It is a horrible thing, is very distressing for the animal, and for the human too. Once you find fly strike you must act very quickly. It can get worse and worse very rapidly, as in a few hours! I called my vet and waited for a call back as to what my options were (he is an hour and a half away) and then called my friend Shannon for her advice. She told me to douse the wound with hydrogen peroxide to get the maggots to come out. Sure enough, they started piling out. Nasty!! I continued to doctor him, moving his head in different directions so I could get the peroxide to move around in the horn. Thankfully Tristan has an incredible disposition and did quite well during the whole ordeal. Having a ram that is easy to work with is a relief for me when I have to work with them by myself.
Here is a shot of how the horn looked – a weird spot for it to break, and I have no idea what he was up to when it broke. He did not share a fence line with another ram, and only had ewes living with him at the time.
After doctoring him myself, I decided that we would make the drive to our vet’s office. We parked a ways out, where it was friendly trailer parking, and I walked Tristan on through and to the bovine doctoring area. We had to put him in a head gate to try to get him to hold still enough. The Doctor didn’t want to sedate him because many times sheep don’t take sedation well and sometimes won’t wake up – it is a very last resort. After being locked in the head gate, the Doctor used a dremel tool to open up the horn a bit more so we could get inside of it to clean it out. Tristan’s horn was flushed with a high pressure nozzle that had betadine and water solution. Then it was sprayed with a foaming medication that kills flies and maggots. Many cycles of flushing and foaming had to happen to clear it all out. Once that was done and the Doctor was confident that all maggots were out, he applied gauze and some antibacterial ointment and then wrapped the horn. I am to apply the foaming fly killer one to two times a day and we are hoping that Tristan will be happy to keep the bandage on for four or five days. Let’s hope and pray he keeps it on!
Tristan walked back to the trailer, perfectly on his lead and jumped right in. I couldn’t have asked for a better gentleman. I have always really liked this ram, but the more I deal with him, the better I like him!