Copper toxicity in ewes? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 11-18-2012, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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Copper toxicity in ewes?

I know copper toxicity in sheep is accumulative. My sheep got out of the barn the morning and was eating goat food for around 10 minutes? Do you guys think she should be taken to the vet's? I haven't seen any blood in her urine yet. Are there any other signs of copper toxicity?
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post #2 of 4 Old 11-19-2012, 08:43 AM
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what kind of feed did she get in? Different feeds have different levels of copper. Check the bags on the feed they were eating.
Clinical Signs of Copper Toxicity
Sheep will suddenly go off feed and become very weak. The mucous membranes and skin will turn a yellowish brown. Hemoglobin is present in the urine turning it a dark red-brown. Death will occur about 75% of the time, depending on the severity of the toxicity. When the corpse is necropsied, the liver will be pale tan and the kidneys will be dark greenish black.

Treatment may be effective if the level of toxicity is low and is diagnosed right away. The animal needs to have the source of the copper removed. The animal should not be subjected to any stressful situations that may lead to hemolytic crisis. Copper may be inactivated with molybdate and sulfate. The animal may also be drenched with electrolytes and sodium thiomolybdate to flush the kidneys and bind the copper. This is done orally at a rate of one quart per hour.

Also remember that copper is actually NECESSARY in a lambs diet in low doses. I dont think 10 mnutes would be enough to kill one however id watch for signs and if they start getting sluggish and not eating try drenching them or taking them to the vet.
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post #3 of 4 Old 12-06-2012, 09:14 PM
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I can share your situation, I have a pet ram who does occasionally get into horse feed - good news is that he has never shown any symptoms. Over the years he has learnt alot in his quest for treats -he can climb a wall at the corner to flip horse height buckets, has learnt to open doors, can open snap lids and will sneak into horse stalls and "share" with his new best friend. Not all sheep are dumb. You could email your vet the feed tag and see if they are cooncerned (I'm not sure how much copper is in goat feed compared to horse feed)
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post #4 of 4 Old 12-06-2012, 09:15 PM
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whoops just read the date on the OP's post - hope they were okay
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