Twin Lamb Disease – Know the Signs
Twin Lamb Disease usually occurs in the final 6-7 weeks of pregnancy, due to the fact 75% of foetal growth occurs within this time, meaning that the nutrients demanded by the ewe greatly increase and more than often, her daily requirements can no longer be met by a forage-based diet alone.
Affected ewes can often be identified in the early stages by separating themselves from the flock, loss of appetite and continuous fine muscle tremors around the muzzle and ears. In the later stages they may begin to shake, circle, twist their neck, lift their head high, grind their teeth as well as press their head into a corner of a pen, become very lethargic and be reluctant to stand.
Progression can be rapid and result in brain damage or death and is an even bigger problem if ewes are under/overweight when carrying multiple lambs. Stressful events such as a change of weather, diet, foot problems and adequate shelter also have a role to play in the onset of the disease.
If the ewe’s feed intake is below energy requirements it is referred to as a negative energy balance which leads to the blood glucose levels dropping and the ewe’s body backfat being broken down for energy. This backfat then travels to the liver to be processed into energy but if excessive amounts are mobilised, the liver struggles to cope and is not broken down completely leading to increased blood ketones levels – Twin Lamb Disease.
It is paramount that ewes receive prompt treatment to avoid further issues developing such as reduced milk production, reduced lamb growth, and ultimately, increased lamb mortality
Prevention is better than cure, aim to add a glycerine-based supplement to feed at the very first signs of distress and repeat if/when necessary.
Ewes suffering from Twin Lamb Disease should be treated twice a day with a product containing propylene glycol (Glycerin), vitamins and trace elements to stimulate appetite and liver function, such as our Osmonds Re-Energise Supplement, specifically designed for ewes showing signs of Twin Lamb Disease. Contains glycerine and emulsified fats, providing instant and essential energy and important respite to the ewe, during which time her own metabolism can resume normal working.