Thursday, January 11, 2007

Poor Loretta

Today is the day I had been dreading for a week. Before Christmas, I had found that Loretta's scurs (small horns the females of some sheep breed may develop) had taken a drastic turn from growing out, to growing back on themselves and headed right for her skull. Our Vet and I had been watching these to see what they would do and I'm afraid they did the worst thing they could do.
I had three choices: sell Loretta, eat Loretta, or go ahead and have the scurs removed. I chose the surgery. When I got to the Vet's Office early this morning, after examination, Dr. Moore determined the best thing to do was remove the horns below the skin level and kill all the horn growth cells so that we would not have to put Loretta through this again. I trust Dr. Moore's advice on these matters as he's had many years experience with this sort of condition.
Loretta had the wool clipped off around the top of her head and each horn, then a bit off the neck for access to a vein for medications. Next came the anesthetic injection. When she slumped in my arms, we lifted her to the surgical table and the site around each horn was further prepped for surgery. Dr. Moore gave her additional systemic anesthetic and also locals around the base of each horn. When all took effect, he sawed off the horns below the skin.
Kim, Dr. Moore's able assistant held Loretta's head tightly as Doc sawed. There wasn't much for me to do except make sure Loretta wasn't moving any other parts of her body. Soon, "Bob's your Uncle"...the little doubled-over horns were off. One horn came off better than the other. Her left horn had sprouted very close, or into, one of her sinuses and when the horn was removed it left a hole down into the sinus.
She was bandaged up and given both a reversal to the anesthetic and a dose of mega-antibiotic.
When she woke up and was able to stand, I brought her home and put her in a pen to recuperate.Here is my little girl with her cousin, Ailee, inspecting Loretta's bandages. She'll have to have dressings on for about two weeks and won't be allowed to be in with the other ewes until she's properly healed. Although she's in a pen by herself, she'll be able to see and touch the others without the risk of them butting her head. I have to watch, though, to make sure they don't tear her bandages off and expose the open wounds.
Because of both Loretta and her brother, Colin, having horn problems, I will be sure to breed Loretta to a ram with wide, open horns giving their offspring a better chance at having horns that aren't too close or turned incorrectly, as in Loretta's case. And I've got just the ram for her - next year! ;-)
So, it's been a hectic and trying day here at "Oleo Acres" (one of the cheaper spreads). After I got my girl settled back in the barn and fed and watered, I came in to eat lunch and have something cold to drink. No sooner did I sit down in my chair to have a bit of a rest when I must've "power-napped" for a bit. When I woke up, I had two cats in my lap looking at me with loving eyes as if to say, "Don't worry, Mom. She'll be OK."

I just wish Doc had given me one of those shots. :)


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I saw the first photo and thought, "Oh Loretta, how retro!" She looks like a cool-dude hippy in that headband! Then I saw the next photo and almost burst out laughing, because from that angle her dressing makes her look more like an old grannie washer woman! (She probably feels like both, old AND hung-over; hee hee.) Here's to an uneventful recovery, Loretta, from your friends at Boulderneigh.

Kathy L. said...

Thank you. I'm not talking to Mom at the moment. And I will never let her put that halter thingy on my head again...

But she did bring me a couple of cookies...Oh, my head hurts!

Nancy K. said...

POOR LORETTA! I would imagine she's got a whopper of a headache. Having had to have the horns removed on a ram lamb, this year, I know that sometimes it's the only thing one can do to save the animal. I hope she has a speedy and uneventful recovery!