Common Sheep Health Concerns

When working with any species of livestock there are many health problems that can occur. As a livestock owner, it is important to be able to recognize and address health issues. This blog will dive into the sheep specific health problems that any sheep owner should be aware of. This blog should not be used as a substitute for veterinary consultation and will not cover every health problem possible. The goal is to help livestock owners gain a better understanding of the problems associated with sheep health. The best way to ensure a healthy livestock population is a good relationship with your veterinarian. 

Sheep with Vet

Bacterial infections can be a serious health problem in sheep as well as any species of livestock. Bacterial infections occur when the animal’s immune system cannot fight fast enough to keep the bacteria under control. Often, this can lead to swelling, fever, aches/soreness, or death. If pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, occurs, the animal may be coughing and have difficulty breathing. Hoof rot is another common infection in sheep. Especially when in a wet environment, the hooves may become infected which can lead to lameness. Abscesses can also occur on sheep where an area has a bacterial infection. The best way to prevent infections is to keep livestock pens and pastures clean and dry as well as using Ring Out for prevention. It is also important to keep sharp objects away from pens and allow for proper ventilation.

Another common health problem in sheep is parasites. Parasites can occur on or in any healthy animal and result in health problems or death. Internal parasites occur inside the animals’ body, whereas external parasites are found on the outside of the animal. A common internal parasite in sheep would be worms. Worms can cause problems in the digestive system or the heart. The best way to prevent worms is to maintain a clean living space and follow a deworming routine. A common external parasite is a tick. Ticks can usually be found on sheep throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Ticks are small bug-like creatures that attach to the skin of the animal. They draw blood from the animal and can transmit diseases. If ticks are found the best thing to do is to remove them immediately by the head.

Animal with ticks

One of the other common health concerns in sheep is ringworm. Ringworm, sometimes known as “Club Lamb Fungus”, is actually not a worm at all. It gets its name for its ring-like appearance on the skin but it is actually a fungus. When infected, an animal will often show ring-shaped sores on the infected area. The best thing to do for ringworm is PREVENT it in the first place. Using products like Ring Out & Ring Out Shampoo will not only prevent the problem from ever occurring, but also protect your sheep from viruses, bacteria and other fungus. If not treated properly, ringworm can spread all over the animal and throughout a flock of sheep. It is important to address ringworm problems as soon as they are detected.

Sheep with Ringworm

In conclusion these are just some of many health problems that can occur in sheep. It is important to monitor livestock regularly for health status. If a problem is detected one should understand what problem they are facing and use the right resources to address it. The best way to ensure animal health is a good Veterinary - Client - Patient - Relationship. Many health problems can be prevented by giving livestock the proper nutrition as well as a clean, healthy, and safe environment.