Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Imogen the Impaler

This is Imogen, an easy-going young ewe who was limping ever so slightly one day last summer. It was one of those stormy summers more suited to equatorial Africa than South Australia, so when SO spotted this black, gummy substance on her left front foot leg he feared flystrike (despite the extremely odd location) and tipped her up for a look.

Demonstrating how sheep are stoics when it comes to injury, lest the wolves or jackals hiding in the scrub should single them out for a meal, what we discovered under her ovine armpit was a rather large and nasty wound, from which the blood had dripped onto her leg. It was this that had become tar-like in the dry air.

I collected utensils and wound-cleaning paraphernalia whilst SO and sheep passed time of day. Then things got even more interesting. Fully expecting to find maggots, sorry about the mental picture there, I tweezed and forceped and flushed and swabbed. No invertebrate beasties in there, but something hard, rough and wood-like. Reaching a long way in I was just able to grasp what I thought might be a splinter with the tip of the forceps. It was. A 10cm long chunk of fence-post splinter! Carefully concealed in this little hole:

Imogen was confined to quarters for a week whilst we cleaned her wound daily and wondered if it needed stitches. She didn't think so and was walking normally the same afternoon, because, you know, tigers. We also wondered how she had come by her wooden under-arm implant. Having checked all the fences and found no damage or downed trees, we never did find out.