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About Mylon E. Filkins D.V.M., M.S

Dr. Mylon E. Filkins has been associated with the Ewephoric! flock for over twenty-five years. We are thrilled to have him offer his expertise to you, in hopes to help you better understand the medical aspects of raising sheep, and general sheep health. Dr. Filkins will answer only LARGE ANIMAL questions such as sheep, goat, cattle, hog, horse, etc.

Please direct your cat, dog, and other small animal questions to your local veterinarian.

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  3. Dr. Filkins will respond to your questions in a timely manner and you will receive his reply via email.
  4. Important Note: No telephone calls, please! The veterinarian cannot accept any calls from our website visitors. He will only respond to questions e-mailed through the Ewephoric website only.
  5. Emergency Questions: At times we all have emergency situations. Emergencies should be tended to by your local veterinarian whenever possible. Make every effort to solve your emergency questions quickly. Early detection and treatment are your best lines of defense!

Past Questions

Question about Weak Backs, Paralysis - J. Hanson, White Sulphur Springs, MT

We have had problems this year with some of our lambs being born with weak backs, or their back end not working (like it is paralyzed). Is there any kind of disease that does this? We thought that maybe they were getting stepped on because it is in the older lambs we turn out. We have had 5 or 6 like this and we have never had this before.


I would consider a deficiency disorder like Selenium, Vitamin E and Vitamin A. These may require a review of the feeding program for the pregnant ewes. Selenium injections can cause problems in pregnant ewes so oral supplementation is safer. I would suggest that you have your veterinarian send a couple of the affected lambs to your stat veterinary diagnostic laboratory for necropsy and histopathological examination for a specific diagnosis.

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Question about Congenital flexor tendon contractures - T. Zimmerman, Manheim, PA

I have a small flock of Dorsets. This lambing year has been nothing but troubles. We just lost 4 lambs that were 1 day old. All the lambs couldn't walk right from birth. They would walk with their hooves turned under and in return they would not be able to get milk from mom. The other problem is that these ewes didn't have much milk. The ewes were not given anything prior to lambing. Any suggestions?


Congenital flexor tendon contractures can occur for several reasons. The most common causes are nutritional disorders i.e. mineral deficiency such as selenium, and viral infections during early pregnancy. I suggest you evaluate what has been different in your management this past season. Extensive veterinary consultation may be required to sort out your problem. Good Luck.

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Question about Hind Leg Rupture - B. Barnett, Plainfield, IA

I am buying three Lincoln ewes (5-6 year olds). The man I'm buying them from said that one of them had a rupture right in front of it's hind leg about the size of a grapefruit. He says if I still want her he'll give her to me. What can be done for her? Is it possible that she could still get bred this fall and have a lamb or should I not take her and just get the other two ewes and their lambs? He says it's not a cyst or something contagious. Thanks


You are probably describing a hernia which is a rupture of the abdominal wall. A pregnancy could be complicated by the hernia and the hernia could become much larger or lead to total failure of the abdominal wall. Although there may be a small chance of normal pregnancy and delivery, I think the odds are against it and would advise you not to take the ewe.

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Question about Udder Lump - D. Springer, Pittsboro, IN

We have a Suffolk ewe that is due to lamb in a few weeks. When checking all the udders of our flock (about 12) I discovered she has a lump in one of her udders. It is accompanied by a hard tube-like presence in that teat. I assume it is some kind of mastitis but am unsure how to treat it. I tried to milk her and did get a thick white substance out. Should I continue to try to milk it out? Should I start her on an antibiotic?


In a pregnant ewe not due for several weeks I suggest that you cleanse the teat well and treat with a dry cow mastitis preparation. A course of IM antibiotics may be of value. 

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Question about Outbreak of coccidiosis - C. Novelo, Shingle Springs, CA

We have had an outbreak of coccidiosis and have decided to treat all the sheep that are not affected due to almost losing one last night. I have gotten Sulmet drinking water solution and I need to know if I have to give it to them individually or can I give it to the flock in the joint trough. If so, how much should I allot and how do I know if they all received the correct dosage that day? It only gives individual information. If I have to give it to them individually, can I mix it with some grain, or manually squirt it in their mouths all at once or will it affect them adversely by an all at once dose per day? Please Advise.


I would medicate all the drinking water for all the sheep and follow the directions on the label. The sheep will drink enough water in hot, dry weather to provide the sulmet treatment. I often advise the use of Corid for sheep as a water-based treatment for coccidiosis. The use of Deccox in trace mineral salt is also helpful for treatment but a better a preventative. A fecal test at an animal lab can confirm coccidiosis if you have a question in diagnosis.

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Question about Lamb Kidney Failure - Randy, Toquerville, UT

My dad has been trying to get a flock of purebred Dorpers started, and began with 6 ewes and a ram, 3 years ago, has had 2 sets of lambs.  Sold or butchered 4 ram lambs, they started dying last spring and is down to 2 ewes and a 1st-year ram lamb.  I  am a butcher, so I dressed out the latest death today.  It obviously had kidney failure,  chest cavity full of water, and it's kidneys greenish and like mush instead of firm and pink,  He says it's a disease they came with, I say he has a poison plant in his pasture. Is this enough information? Thank you.


Rapid renal decomposition can be seen in entertoxemia and well as in some plant poisons If there is no history of entertoxemia vaccination I would recommend a two-dose series ASAP. The chest fluid is not a  specific lesion but could also be related to heart or liver issues. I suggest that any further death loss be submitted for an autopsy to a diagnostic lab.

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