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HOW TO: Physically Examine Sheep (10 Steps)

Updated: Oct 11, 2021

1. Identify the issue—what is wrong with the animal? Is it eating normally, what is its body condition score, how is the skin and fleece condition, are there any strange lumps or sores, is it coughing or breathing rapidly, or does it have a snotty nose, does it walk normally, has diarrhea, and does its abdomen look normal or bloated?

2. Check rectal body temperature. Normal is 38.6°C to 39.7°C, Check colour around the eyes and gums. Are the eyes bright and ears up and alert?

3. Locate the source of the problem and investigate further. Examine the animal's feet and legs more closely if it is lame. Move the animal around and see what happens: does it cough or breathe more heavily, does it stagger?

4. Check the rest of the flock to see if anyone else is affected.

5. Is the animal in any pain? If necessary, use a proper euthanasia method.

6. Consider the severity of the condition before contacting your veterinarian. Is there a risk of affecting the health of your entire flock, and what will the financial consequences be? If you're doubtful, consult a veterinarian.

7. Samples may need to be sent to a lab for analysis. It is preferable to obtain accurate information than to waste time and money on treatments that will not work.

8. Use the proper medication, in the correct dose, at the appropriate time, with the proper application method, and keep track of withdrawal times.

9. When sudden or unexpected deaths occur, post-mortems should be performed.

10. Properly dispose of dead animals.

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