In this month in the run-up to the main bulk of lambing in the Dale we see most of the problems associated with these two conditions. They are hard to tell apart and often a ewe with one condition will develop the other.
Twin-lamb disease (pregnancy toxaemia) occurs in the last month of pregnancy. Affects thin ewes and, rarely, over-fat ewes. Underlying problem is a lack of food intake, particularly concentrate. Affected ewes won't eat and are often blind and trembling. If not treated, worsen over days and die.
Hypocalcaemia normally occurs in late pregnancy but can occur just after lambing. Can affect ewes in any condition, often after a change of housing or feeding. Ewes are often lying unable to rise, with their heads down. If not treated, worsen over hours and die.
Treatment - because the two conditions often go hand-in-hand suspect ewes should be treated for both.
- 50-100ml blue top calcium (20%) under the skin
- a propylene-glycol based twin lamb drench like cetophyton daily until the ewe recovers
Offer good hay and high-energy palatable concentrate such as flaked maize.
The key to recovery is to get the ewes eating again.