Friday, October 29, 2010

Visions of Fleeces

Lovely Gardenia, in the cool evening.
Summer has turned to Autumn, and that means colorful winter squash, apples to pick, and beautiful fall fleeces. Autumn in all it's glory. A picture says a thousand words, so, enjoy the beautiful sheep!
Matriarch, Stella.Salem, watching the flock.Beautiful FayeGodiva, waiting for a treat! I love how the sheep lick their lips when it's time for dinner!Handsome Fable.Dalla, our leader ewe.Finn & ThunderLovely Claire-BearHer sister Charlotte, my fave!Ewes in the evening.Rams in the morning pasture.Ewes in the afternoon.
We are all enjoying the cool fall temps!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rattlesnakes in Northern Illinois?

I was very surprised to learn that indeed, there are poisonous rattlesnakes in N. Illinois! Almost 3 weeks ago, I found our LGD Belle laying on the front porch, one of her favorite spots. We are on a hill, and she can keep a close eye on things from there. No surprise to find her there, by evening, she hadn't moved. I checked her and found that she had a hugely swollen leg. I figured that she had gotten hit on the road. After further inspection, her leg and hips seemed fine, except for the huge swelling. I gave her a shot of dexamethasone, covered her with a wool blanket, and waited until I could call the vet. I couldn't sleep, and checked her several times during the night.

We took her in first thing Monday morning. She stayed in the intensive care unit for 2 days. The vet, who was from Texas, thought it looked just like some of the snake bites that she had seen. A little Internet research, and we found that there is a native rattlesnake to our area, the Massasauga, or swamp rattler It's rare, but we do have the perfect habitat for it. Her whole leg was very weepy for about a week.
Belle has been on 2 pain meds and 3 broad spectrum antibiotics for the past 2 1/2 weeks, a total of 16 pills per day! We started out hiding the pills in meat, cheese, braunsweiger, but now, she is very suspicious of all treats and is fighting her pills. She's been a very good girl, stoic, as Pyrs go. Everyone at the vet clinic loves her, and can't imagine that she would be a good guard dog, though, she is!

We left her wound open for 2 weeks, but now it is wrapped, with changes every 2-3 days. Boy, does she hate that! Her vet has been very pleased with her progress. They felt that she may lose her leg. Now, it looks like maybe she'll lose a toe and part of her foot.

After many trips to the vet, things are finally looking up!