THERE are many problems we can experience in newborn lambs and we will have a look at some of the common issues

Lamb hypothermia. Hypothermia is seen in lambs that are small, have had difficulty suckling colostrum or are exposed to wet or windy conditions. If the lamb is less than 5 hours old and has a temperature less than 37°C then put it in a warm box and give it colostrum once its temperature is above 38°C. If your lamb is older than 5 hours old then it may require glucose intraperitoneal before it is warmed up and it will also be low in blood glucose too. When giving glucose into the lambs belly it must be done using a clean needle to avoid infection. Aim to give the lambs 10ml /kg of 20 percent glucose that has been warmed up to 39°C.

Watery mouth is commonly seen when lambing indoors. It is caused by E.coli bacteria which the lambs ingests from the lambing shed. Lambs that are affected are wet around the mouths due to the production of excess salvia. They rapidly will go on to collapse and die if they do not receive any treatment. The prevention of watery mouth relies on ensuring that every lamb receives adequate colostrum [50ml/kg in the first 6 hours of life followed by 200ml / kg over the following 24 hours of life] as well as ensuring that the lambing sheds are clean and hygienic to reduce the bacteria within the shed. The routine use of antibiotics given to every lamb to prevent watery mouth developing is no longer best practice. We should target our preventative treatments to the most at risk lambs which are those that have not received adequate colostrum such as twins or triplets or to refrain from using antibiotic treatment for the first few weeks of lambing until the first case of watery mouth is seen.

Navel ill can be seen when lambs are born in unhygienic conditions and it is commonly prevented by using a strong iodine solution on the lambs navels. Lambs with navel ill will have thickened and hot umbilical cords that will spread infection into the rest of the body and this commonly leads on to joint ill. Both conditions should be given an appropriate antibiotic injection and anti-inflammatory where required. Joint ill can arise in older lambs due to other infectious causes. Discuss this with your vet if you are having issues.

Fractured ribs or limbs can arise following a difficult lambing. Lambs that have suffered fractured ribs will be unlikely to have adequate colostrum intake so it is important to give them an anti-inflammatory pain relief and to consider tubing them colostrum if you are concerned about their colostrum intake. For fractured limbs then they need stabilised and cast to allow the bone to heal. Due to the young age of the lambs the fractures will heal quickly once stabilised so consult your vet to get them cast. Fractured limbs will arise from excess force applied during lambing. Ensure that you are pulling on both lambs legs equally and that if you are using ropes to assist you, then placing them above the lambs knee will be a much stronger area to pull on as well as using a head wire to help.

Entropion is an inherited condition where the eyelids are turned in against the eye and leads to the hair rubbing on the eye which is a very painful condition. You will notice the affected lambs from the tear staining on the side of their face. There are various treatment options including suture, staples or injections to sort the eyelids into the correct position.