Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Kavan's Horn(s)

This is my beautiful two year-old ram, Kimberwood Kavan. (photo taken last spring) He is everything I could want in a flock sire: soft, dense, crimpy fleece, perfect conformation, tiny tail, quiet gentle personality, and he stamps his lambs with his traits consistently. Plus he seems to throw ewe lambs. 6 ewes, 2 rams in the two lambing seasons we've had here. He's my pride and joy.

Which is why my husband and I spend about 20 minutes a day changing the dressing on the wound in his head where his right horn used to be. He lost it in late May when I put him in a pen with another ram. Long story-all my fault-would go back in time in a heartbeat if I could-have kicked myself in the pants for a good solid month now. Moving on............

Unfortunately Kavan's horn not so much broke off, but was ripped out at the root level. There was quite literally a crater in his scull. And because I had never seen fly strike before and didn't know what to look for-he got that problem too in very short order.

Enter Gail, an amazing neighbor that saved Kavan's life. She came over almost every day for more than a week to help clean his wound and show me what to do. She lent me tools, salves, ointments, reading material, and her precious time to get this boy back from the brink.

And now we have a little routine going...wipe out wound...use syringe to flush with water...flush with hydrogen peroxide or tea tree oil to remove any remaining fly eggs if strike has been bad that day...cover very lightly with zinc oxide...repeat. We also give him a shot of LA200 every couple of days to help with infection we can't reach. I am not mentioning the incredible yuckiness this wound has presented us with each day-I don't want you to gag.
Slowly, ever so slowly, the drainage is clearing, the infection subsiding, and the wound itself is closing up. I estimate we have another full month of this routine left, possibly more. It's nowhere near closed yet, nor can we let it close until there is only good fresh flesh below the surface.
Here's the amazing thing-Kavan's personality hasn't changed a bit. After all the pain we cause him on a daily basis by rubbing, prodding, and dousing his open wound, he still just lets us walk right up to him and take hold to do our work. Never once has he bobbed his head at us. He rarely fights the process, sometimes he gives a jump if I am careless. But otherwise...we are talking perfect gentleman. And when our vet work is over, he just walks to the other side of his pen and looks at us like, "Ok, I've been very cooperative, I'm ready for you to put a treat in my tub." Which we do, of course.


Kim Nikolai said...

Welcome to blogdom! Poor Kavan, what an ordeal for all of you. He is very lucky to have owner's who love him so. Not everyone would go through what you are to keep him healthy.

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

Thanks, Kim. I must admit, now that I have gone through the experience of this daily vet work-I will be very choosy about which sheep I offer this type of care to in the future. Kavan is worth it to me. Different sheep, different time and circumstance-I might choose to put the poor creature out of his misery. I really admire those folks that seem to have limitless love and compassion for their animals. I won't claim I'm one of them though. Sometimes I really don't have the resources externally or internally to take on such tasks. But I'm glad Kavan's injury happened at a "good time" for me. I would have really really missed him otherwise.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Hi Sabrina, I followed your link from the Shetland list. (I really enjoy following other Shetland people's blogs and getting their comments on mine.) Kavan sounds like a PERFECT boy, which is nice to hear. I just bought my first ram this year, a polled lamb with very tiny scurs, as I was worried about horns on several levels. I hope he ends up with as nice a personality, and stamps his lambs with good traits as well as Kavan does!

P.S. We lived in Minnesota, outside Perham, for a year and a half, and my husband was born in Hutchinson.