University of Illinois Extension

Sheep/GoatNet Ask an Expert

Q. Why can't sheep get up if they fall over?
A. I am assuming that you mean why can't they get up when they get on their backs? Usually that is a problem with sheep with a full fleece and their backs are so wide that the animal can't seem to move enough to get right side up. If they can't put their feet againist something and push they will stay on their backs until they die, which depends upon a number of factors. ie condition of the animal to beging with, heat, etc. If your sheep can't get up when they just fall down, you have a serious nutritional problem, There is also a parasite carried by deer that can affect sheep. It is called Parelphostrongylus. It invades the spinal cord and causes partial partial to complete paralysis of the back end of the sheep. If you suspect this as the cause of your sheep's problem, (if you have a population of deer that graze the same pastures as you sheep), call you vet and ask him/her to investigate along these lines. AR Cobb