By Chris R.
Social media has done some great things for animal rescue. Word travels fast, but Facebook even faster, with details of animals in need quickly forwarded through the rescue network state wide. This was the case with an impounded sheep one busy winters day. We received a screen shot of a young dorper ram with a huge lump on his chest. He was found wandering an urban street and when his owner was contacted, no effort was made for his collection.
Concerned for his welfare, we forwarded the images to our veterinarians who indicated it may be a herniated chest cavity, which is very serious and can be life threatening. To adhere to protocol, the young sheep was unable to be released from the pound until his minimum impound duration was met. It was a very long ten days, corresponding with our vets and planning for his immediate transport to the clinic. At last, in the safety of the vet hospital, we visited to meet and say hello to our newest charge and it was decided he was indeed an ‘Oscar’ – as suggested by the volunteer helping transport him.
An MRI was organised and it was confirmed that part of his stomach was within the mass which sat behind Oscar's right front leg. A trauma to the site, consistent with a bang from a vehicle or similar, may have eventuated in the stomach wall being damaged and the creation of a hernia, a critical condition for a sheep if left untreated. Immediate surgery was organised and the Farm Animal Services team swung into action.
Oscar recovered well from his procedure. He was up and eating as soon as conscious and was making many friends in the clinic. His clinic stay was a long one, given the need to manage his wound appropriately and he was only released once his temperature was stable and the risk of infection reduced.
We had not realised the steep learning curve which running the Sanctuary would be, particularly in regards to medical treatments for the animals in our care. At home, Oscar needed a daily antibiotic injection and his wound tended. We learned fast how to undertake Oscar’s post-operative care, in particular the need to provide lots of treats and tasty lucerne to keep him occupied and distracted during treatment times. Oscar was a model patient and forgave quickly once his bowl of lupins arrived.
At just over six weeks after Oscar’s rescue, we were excited to learn that he was recovering fully. He had been hindered by reactions to his sutures, but soon gained weight and was playing with his new friends, Hope, Cosmo and Dorothy. Oscar's medical emergency was a distant memory when watching him run and jump on the back lawn.
A huge thank you to all those who donated to assist to save Oscar’s life. At only ten months, he has a bright, safe future at the Sanctuary to look forward to.