Why are my ewes running a low grade fever?

Asked July 7, 2015, 12:05 PM EDT

I have a few Merino/rambouillet ewes that run a low grade fever between 103 and 104°F, off and on. In general they are healthy looking, ages 3 to 5 years. They continue to have a good appetite, and the most noticeable symptom is blood spotting from their vaginal area. They are not pregnant, and a couple have never been bred. LA-200 helps but it seems to come back (and I recently discovered I may have underdosed them with the antibiotic). The problem has persisted for a couple of years now off and on. I have them only for their wool, and the stress has taken its toll on the wool growth. Would anyone have any ideas about what this is?

Washington County Maryland

1 Response


This is mysterious and a very difficult one to address over the internet.

I would consult with veterinarian with expertise in disease pathology which I am doing right now. The connection between vaginal blood discharge and transient fever is not immediately apparent to me. There are diseases to be concerned with that can be transmitted between sheep and humans that you need to consider in such a scenario. One such disease is Q fever,
http://www.cdc.gov/qfever/ but I do not want to alarm you as this is a true grasping of straws and considered because of risk concern.

Rumentis and certain chronic respiratory infectious can produce transient fever but you have not described feed issues or respiratory concerns so these do not seem like an obvious fit either. Feel free to follow up with me via email (ehrhard5@msu.edu) to see if have received futher insight from a veterinary pathologist.