baby lamb seems blind : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Geez, it all started out okay! Now, it seems that our newborn lamb is blind. Started out with red-rimmed, slightly mattery eyes, which cleared up quickly with ointment. Today, no infection, but cloudy eyeballs and she definitely acts like she can't see (bumps into things, can't find mama, etc.) What could have caused this, and are there any possible treatments? Think the eyeballs might un-cloud? I know there are no sure answers. Just looking for reassurance, I guess.

-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (, May 08, 2001


Shannon, Check for two things: are the scelera (whites) of the eye reddened( pull the lid down) This could be pinkeye infection. Left untreated this can cause blindness. I treat with triple antibiotic eye ointment and a sngle shot of LA200 (long acting tetracycline. Not knowing her weight, I probably would only give 1 cc, under the skin (SQ) as it is irritating to the tissues) Or are her eyelids (lower) turned in where they are rubbing on the eye( entropian) There are several ways to correct this . One is to have a vet surgically do a suture below the eye. Another is to insert a clip applied with a pair of needle nose pliers, available from Pipestone Veterinary supplies, below the eye on the loose skin to pull the lid down . Other tried , successful methods are to simply pull the excess skin down to a fold and super glue it to pull the lid out to normal( DON'T get the glue in lambs eyes). Or even a piece of adhesive tape can work. My vet has tried also an injection of penicillin under the skin below the eye to cause the skin to puff out and turn the lid down. Just some ideas. If its none of these symptons ( pink eye or entropian), I would consult a vet. Entropian by the way can be hereditary. Some sheep are born blind due to genetic reasons. I have seen adult blind sheep that seem to do alright in familar pastures. They do tend to panic and run in circles in unfamiliar places or when threatened. Good luck and keep us posted.

-- Kate henderson (, May 08, 2001.

When we see this in our customers kids we do look for entropin/inverted eyelids, where the lashes rub the eyeball. A quick way to rid yourself of this is to simply make a cut, like opening a zipper on a to-tight pair of jeans. I use a sharp pair of cuticle sizzors while husband holds the kid tight. The eyelid spreads out, either top or bottom and then simply some terramyacin ointment for a few days. With inverted eyelids we don't see matted eyes, only wet weeping areas on the kids cheeks. If you have lots of kids/lambs born with this, time to trade out your ram/buck for a different bloodline.

With the matting, I would think chlamydia or some other vaginal discharge, has infected this kids eyes. Yes it could be pinkeye, kind of early in the year for us, and unless this is just your only lamb and ewe, pinkeye rarely only infects one lamb/kid. You can have the ewe checked with a simple swab. (which you can do yourself and send in to your state vet, bypassing the cost of your vet doing it) Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, May 08, 2001.

We have had a blind ewe lamb in our flock for a year. We bought her that way, and don't know the cause. She does quite well, but does depend on the other sheep, and always is listening for their baa-ing.

-- Maylene (, May 09, 2001.

I saw a little story on our TV a few weeks ago. A quite old duck was going blind and a goose living on the same farm has 'adopted' the duck and now cares for it.

-- john hill (, May 15, 2001.

The goose with the duck reminded me...I have a maternal (though male) goose who buddies up with whatever hen chicken has chicks and follows them around keeping any threats at bay. He leaves the other six geese to do this and has done it for about three or four years.

-- Marilyn Jones (, March 13, 2002.

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