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First Aid Case
Transcript of First Aid Case
Breed: Black face (Suffolk or Suffolk cross)
Age: Adult at least 3.5-4 years
Markings/Brandings: No ear tags or ear marks present
History: Animal Welfare officers had been observing this sheep over a period of time. It was tethered by a long chain to a grass verge on a state highway. It was discovered to be without adequate shelter or access to a water supply. It did have access to a food supply although this was inadequate for the demands of the animal. On close inspection the chain it was tethered with had caused a severe wound to the back of its neck causing considerable pain. The attending officer up-lifted the animal immediately and presented it to the veterinary clinic for examination.
Upon arrival at the clinic no first aid had been provided to the animal and the tether chain was still attached. The chain was connected around the neck with a D-shackle and was 9.5 metres long and weighed 5.54kg.
The animal was assessed by the veterinarian. The chain was embedded into the soft tissue of the dorsal neck creating a 7cm long and 2-3cm deep wound. The wound was infected with fresh pus oozing from the site. There was evidence of an older wound on the dorsal neck of similar length cranial to the fresh wound.
First aid provided involved careful manipulation of the chain to remove it from the wound without causing additional trauma. Clipping the wool away from the wound to prevent further contamination. Carefully cleaning the area with antibacterial wash and removing debris and pus from the wound site. Applying pressure to the site using sterile gauze to stop haemorrhage caused by removal of the chain.
My role in the case was to attend to the wound and relieve the animal from suffering undue pain caused by the heavy chain. I gathered and prepared any equipment that I required while the vet and officer performed a complete assessment of the animal. I prepared and cleaned the site as aseptically as I could and used gentle manipulation of the chain to avoid causing further damage and additional suffering to the animal. I ensured the open wound was cleaned adequately and I administered antibiotic and pain relief medication under veterinary instruction.
In this case the wound was left open to heal by second intention healing as the wound had been there for a period of time tissue healing had already begun so this was the best option for the wound.
It was advised to refrain from placing any type of collar, rope or chain around the animals neck until the healing process was complete.
The patient was then re-homed into a suitable environment where tethering was not required. Full recovery was expected.
This was an unfortunate case of irresponsibility on the owners behalf due to inadequate education of minimal requirements for owning a sheep. This situation could have been avoided if the Ministry of Primary Industries standards had been utilised and the sheep was being checked on a regular basis.
The officer followed protocol up-lifting the animal and seeking immediate veterinary attention as this could have developed into a life threatening situation for the sheep.
The intervention that occurred was thorough and performed to best practice standards. The wound was attended to efficiently and to a high standard. However sterile lavage of the area prior to cleaning would have been ideal. The overall evaluation of the animal revealed an extensive amount of negligence issues. All of which were addressed and managed appropriately to best practice standards.
Follow up on this case has revealed that the wound has healed and the animal is now doing well and not suffering undue stress.