Tuesday 22 February 2011

Lice and de-lousing

I have already said that the elderly sheep keepers sheep were found to be lousy, it was time to do something about it. Unfortunately horrendous wet days prevented treatment for a while. Eventually the weather looked up and the sheep were fetched in.

I had opted to use a pour on (known as a back liner in Australia). It is an easy, simple approach to dealing with the problem, puts the sheep under minimum stress and is relatively effective. The injectables on the market only seem to cover sheep scab and not lice. The pour ons only seem to cover lice and not sheep scab. Never mind, lice is the problem to be dealt with so all will be well.
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Many of the sheep showed no outward signs of having 'the itch' however this ewe had managed to scratch on at herself until a bald area had appeared on her flank. Note the wool on her horn.
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Closer inspection shows exposed bare pink skin beneath the wool, must be chilly for her!

There are a number of pour ons on the market. Some which just require a 5ml spot of the chemical placed onto the skin, others which require a pin stripe run down their backs. I opted for the latter.
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Administered by way of an automatic gun (similar to a dosing gun) the chemical is squirted along the back line of the sheep as a stripe, reaching from shoulder to tail head. It has a dye to enable you to see which sheep have been treated, this dye wears off the backs of the sheep in a day or two.

Have to say I had great fun trying to photograph myself but hey! succeeded! You may notice that I am wearing disposable gloves. It is precautionary, one ought to wear protective clothing and wash any splashes off your skin.

In actual fact this particular product and I do not see eye to eye. I have dealt with many chemicals, doses and dips over the years and this is by far the worst, I now have a low tolerance should any get onto my skin and as there is always the fear of a gun leaking I tend to err on the side of caution. Waterproof leggings wrinkle and blister if they get too much of this stuff onto them - slightly unnerving!

The pour on works by spreading through the natural grease of the wool therefore spreading across the body and presumably poisoning those nasty little lice. The sheep do not get immeadiate relief, the product needs time to work and the sheeps skin needs time to 'cool down' and stop itching. As each day passes the sheep will be feeling more comfortable until the day comes when their itch is just a distant memory.

In actual fact I could find no reference on the bottle regarding use on dry wool or that it had to be in place for a number of hours before rained upon. Maybe I could have treated these sheep on those wet days? Not to worry, they are done and with no fear of the pour on being washed off before it had time to work, which is good.
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It wasn't just the sheep which were happy to have been treated, the elderly sheep keeper also seemed quite happy, even though I had been repeatedly told that she had never had lice in her sheep before "mebbes you haven't, but you have now!" was my reply.


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