At 7 days old, the little orphan lamb of Rosie died last night. I was shocked.
He had been making some headway, and had a good day in the sun. There were signs yesterday that he was not normal, however, and I suspect white muscle disease, caused by selenium deficiency. All the signs were there: weak hind end and difficulty moving. When he was born, he could not stand until day 2 or 3, but we gave him the benefit of the doubt since it had been a dam with ketosis and he was a triplet. His walking had been stronger, but yesterday I noticed a limp on the one hind leg, but he still walked with me up to the chicken coop. But he spent the entire lying down, and completely separate from the flock. He took one bunny hop [a normal lamb activity], but then rested. He was still eating ok, and had jaw strength. But when I brought him into the house at night and put him in his fireside box for feeding, I noticed a sudden change. He seemed weaker, suddenly. When I returned 15 minutes later to feed him, he could hardly stand, and his heart/pulse was pumping so hard I could see it move in his little body. His breathing was slightly labored, and he kept stretching his neck - obviously uncomfortable and trying to breathe better.
It was clear he would die. It seemed so sudden, but he had never really been quite right. My understanding is there is a cardiac version of white muscle disease [which is basically like muscular dystrophy] and a lamb can literally stand up and have a heart attack. I had given Rosie selenium supplement in her feed, and I had given him a Bose shot [selenium and Vit E] but I assume that with the triplets and the ketosis, he just lacked it. Or he might have had a multitude of deficiencies from his birth. If I had not helped with the delivery, he would have died. I question if saving him was the right thing. He had seven days of life, it meant something. I'm not sure what at this point, but it meant something. I don't have a guide book on the meaning of life.
I'm so glad yesterday was warm and sunny, so his last day was spent in warm sun on some hay. He was held a lot, and Huck licked him like a mama ewe. I let Guinnias in to the orchard so he had some creature companion within sight. I asked him at one point, "What is your gift?" Not sure I have words for that answer yet.
I will bury him by Rosie. So look for a new, shiny, bright star tonight, perhaps in a group of three, with one slightly larger star hovering near by.