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Philanthropic Support Helps Save Pregnant Sheep Following Attack

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Buffy and her lamb Serena helped veterinary students gain valuable experience working with livestock.

VMTH "Case of the Month" - September 2014
 

In the spring of 2014, a small herd of nine sheep in Northern California were attacked by an escaped dog. Six of the sheep were killed, two were euthanized at the scene, and one female sheep of unknown age managed to survive. Animal control authorities could not locate the owner so they brought the sheep to the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, where she was stabilized until the owner could be found.

Unfortunately, the owner chose not to continue care for the lone remaining sheep, and relinquished her to animal control. The Livestock Medicine and Surgery Service was eager to find a way to continue care for the sheep, as they were hopeful her injuries were survivable. The UC Davis veterinarians also wanted their students to benefit from the experience of working with this sheep. While veterinary students gain exceptional experience in large animal medicine, the overwhelming majority of animals seen at the hospital are cats and dogs. Many times, students with minimal experience in large animal medicine (and aspirations of small animal careers) will change their mind and pursue large animal paths after gaining experiences with a case like this.

In hopes of finding a solution and continuing the sheep’s care, veterinarians called on a long-time client and friend of the hospital to enlist her support. Thankfully, she was willing to provide financial assistance and a permanent home for the sheep following care.

The sheep suffered multiple lacerations to her face, neck and abdomen. The lacerations on her neck and body healed well with sutures and regular bandage changes. However, the damage to her face was significant and needed additional and prolonged medical attention. Veterinarians were concerned with infections and severe damage to her oral and nasal cavities. She was placed on anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drugs to minimize the swelling and fight infection.

Three weeks into the hospitalization, Buffy, as the sheep was now known, underwent an ultrasound which revealed she was pregnant during the attack, and her baby survived. With her wounds healing nicely after a month at the VMTH, Buffy went to her new home, a 10-acre ranch near Davis with dozens of other animals. Two months later, Buffy returned to the hospital to give birth to a healthy lamb named Miss Serena Flock.

Buffy’s ordeal—as well as an understanding of the importance of livestock veterinarians in regards to food safety and agroterrorism—made her new owner see the need for veterinary students to treat more livestock animals at the teaching hospital. As these factors are a high priority for UC Davis, she worked with the School of Veterinary Medicine’s development office to establish a compassionate care fund to assist the Livestock Medicine and Surgery Service with future cases like Buffy’s. By doing so, veterinary students are provided more opportunities to care for food animals, and food animals don’t have to be euthanized when their medical care exceeds their slaughter value.

“I consider Buffy a ‘spokes-sheep’ for the cause,” she said. “If she could, I know she would give a speech on the importance of donating money to help treat food animals and to give future veterinarians the experience they’ll need to keep our food supply safe for generations to come.” 

To find out how you can contribute to the fund, or benefit the School in another way, please visit www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/development or call (530) 752-7024.

More photos of Buffy and Serena can be seen at: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152705105734031.1073741861.164666034030&type=1



About the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
The William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis—a unit of the School of Veterinary Medicine—provides state-of-the-art clinical care while serving as the primary clinical teaching experience for DVM students and post graduate veterinarian residents. The VMTH treats more than 47,000 animals a year, ranging from cats and dogs to horses, cows and exotic species. To learn more about the VMTH, please go to www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/vmth. Timely news updates can be received on its Facebook (www.facebook.com/ucdavisvetmed) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/ucdavisvetmed) pages.

Rob Warren
VMTH Communications & Marketing Officer
rjwarren@ucdavis.edu
530-752-2363