A few days after shearing, we notice a huge swelling on Mother’s shoulder. Mother is one of the retired ewes who lives in my back yard, and a very sweet girl with big brown soulful eyes and a love of corn treats. She was a good milk producer who had difficulty lambing last season, and was very stiff in her hind end, so that she had trouble getting up the ramp to the milking platform and we retired her halfway through the season. She has really come back to health being in the pet flock, until we noticed this swelling. I called Dr Dotti, and he said it was likely a hematoma, and that it probably happened when a shoulder muscle got banged during shearing and bled under the skin. Under Dr Dotti’s direction, I inserted a needle to draw off a bit of the fluid and confirmed that it was indeed blood, so this was a hematoma that just needed time to heal. We watched her for a few days, but she was having a hard time getting to water and was getting jostled by the other ewes at dinner time, and the hematoma seemed to be growing rather than shrinking, probably because the activity was making the muscle continue to bleed. So we brought her over to the barn and kept her in the box stall while she healed. She enjoyed the extra attention, and keeping her more quiet did the trick and the hematoma started to go down. We had a moment of alarm when her urine turned dark red, because that can be a sign of acute copper toxicosis, something that can occur during a stressful time, but then we realized that the urine was just red from hemoglobin, because she was resorbing all that blood from the hematoma and metabolizing it. Today we decided Mother was ready to return to her flock, and we took her over on the ATV trailer, with Lisa driving and Melinda and I holding onto Mother. She was happy to see her gang and is doing well.

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