When we welcomed Tracey and her friend Louise to the shelter, they were emaciated and crawling with lice. Having gone years without proper food, water, and care, the two pregnant ewes were nearing the end of their endurance. We knew that getting them healthy was crucial not only to improve their well-being but also to reduce the danger posed by their impending deliveries.
In addition to treating Tracey and Louise for their parasites and carefully helping them gain weight, we gave the ewes a rare mid-winter haircut. Clearing away the extra wool helped us monitor their udders as their deliveries approached (and we continue to monitor Louise, whose twins are due soon). At this time of year, it's too cold for these skinny sheep to be outside without full coats of wool, so they have been convalescing in two cozy stalls inside our Melrose Small Animal Hospital. Here, we can also protect Hazelton and his soon-to-arrive playmates from the winter temperatures, which would likely cause fatal hypothermia if they were living in a barn.