Eye Diseases in Lambs

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A young lamb standing grass.
A young lamb standing grass. (Image: Marilyn Barbone/Hemera/Getty Images)

Eye diseases in lambs include congenital conditions and those resulting from infection. If you suspect your lamb has an infectious eye condition, separate him from other lambs until you have a veterinary diagnosis. If he's still nursing and you can't arrange an immediate veterinary visit, separate the lamb and the ewe from the rest of the flock, along with any siblings who are nursing off the ewe.

Entropion in Lambs

Some lambs are born with entropion, a condition in which upper or lower eyelids -- sometimes both -- roll into the eye. The hairs on the eyelids rub against the eye, causing pain. Newborn lambs suffering from entropion have red, watery eyes. In newborns, you can try to roll out the eyelid and see if the problem corrects itself. If not, your veterinarian can correct the problem by injecting saline into the eyelid, helping stretch it. If that doesn't work, your vet can correct the problem surgically.

Conjunctivitis in Lambs

Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pinkeye, is an inflammation of the tissues around the eyeball. In lambs, pinkeye is usually caused by chlamydophila ovis or mycoplasma. Besides having telltale reddish eyes, lambs with conjunctivitis might suffer from eye discharge and might squint or keep the eye closed. Topical antibiotics placed in the eye several times daily will usually clear up pinkeye. Your vet can give your lamb an injectable antibiotic, too. Some apparent cases of pinkeye are actually the result of a small foreign object in the eye, so always call your vet if your lamb experiences any eye issues before making any effort to treat the pet.

Parasite Control

A good deworming program is essential for keeping your lamb healthy. Certain parasitical infestations are reflected in the lamb's eyes. If his eyelids lose their healthy, reddish shade, it's possible intestinal worms are the culprit. Other signs of parasite infestation include pale mucous membranes, diarrhea, lethargy and general poor condition. The Mississippi State University extension service website suggests deworming lambs monthly. Your veterinarian can recommend the appropriate deworming protocol for your animal and region.

Sheeppox in Lambs

Lambs living outside of North and South America are vulnerable to sheeppox. Extremely contagious, sheeppox occurs most severely in lambs rather than in adult sheep. Symptoms include swollen eyes, discharge from the eyes and nose, fever and prostration -- the lamb lies down and can't rise. As the disease progresses, lesions develop on the face and ears and any areas without fleece. Affected lambs often die. If the lamb does survive, the areas where the lesions were remain scarred.

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