Goose stepping sheep - Astragalus toxicity?
I have a shetland sheep that I have had for almost 2 years. She came to me pregnant and had a normal lamb spring of 2016. She is about 7 years old and started goose stepping about a year ago. She is generally losing condition and strength. My large animal veterinarian has never seen goose stepping in sheep and thinks it must be a brain injury, or a brain tumor of sorts. I have recently run across an article talking about selenium toxicity in Astragalus. I live 10 miles south of Portland. Is this a plant that could be in my pastures and could have caused this problem with my ewe? This is the only sheep out of a herd of 9 affected, and none of my horses have been affected, as far as I know. Thank you for your time and expertise.
Clackamas County Oregon
It is very unlikely that consumption of Astralagus sp is teh cause of the neurological gait abnormality in your sheep. Astragagus is a milk vetch that grows in selenium rich soils. W3estern Oregon is selenium deficient so the plant does not thrive here. It seems to me that a spinal cord lesion is more likely. A spinal tap and CT scan would be diagnostic.