When you spend a few minutes at feeding time observing your lamb, be sure to observe his manure and watch to see how he urinates and how long it takes him. Watch his breathing and be familiar with the ease and rate that he normally breathes when it is cold outside and when it is hot. Watch how he moves and how he holds his ears and head. If you are familiar with his normal behavior, it will be quite evident when something is wrong. If he "doesn't act right," evaluate what it is that isn't right. The following are descriptions of things that could be wrong and what to do in each case.
First, however, there are a few things you need to know about one of the common treatments, antibiotics:
Antibiotics are drugs which are used to treat bacterial diseases. They are not effective against viral diseases or diseases caused by feeding accidents. However, we often use them to prevent bacteria from causing even more problems when the disease is not caused by bacteria.
Antibiotics have withdrawal times. The withdrawal time is the time that must pass after a drug has been given until the animal can be slaughtered for food. Since your market lambs are going to be slaughter after the 4-H market sale, it is extremely important to check the withdrawal time for any drug you plan to give to your lamb. If you give it a drug such as a long-acting tetracycline. For instance LA 200, one week before the fair, you can not sell your lamb at the fair since the withdrawal time is 28 days. Read the label of any medication for withdrawal times.
Dosage is also important. Many of our drugs do not have dosages for sheep. If such is the case, use the dosage for calves or cattle. Every drug has a concentration on the label. For example penicillin may have a concentration of 200,000 unit per ml (cc). The dosage is 10,000 units (80 x 10,000). So, you need to give 4 cc of penicillin (800,000 divided by 200,000). Do not under or over treat unless instructed by your veterinarian.