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Congenital reflex myoclonus in two Merino cross lambs in South Africa
  1. D. J. C. Blignaut, BVSc1,
  2. D. E. Holm, BVSc, MSc (Vet), MRCVS1,
  3. R. Leask, BSc (Agric), BVSc, MMedVet (CaprOv)1,
  4. N. Stander, BVSc, MMedVet (DiagIm)2 and
  5. J. C. A. Steyl, BVSc3
  1. Department of Production Animal Studies, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110, South Africa
  2. Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110, South Africa
  3. Section of Pathology, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110, South Africa
  1. E-mail for correspondence dawie.blignaut{at}up.ac.za

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REFLEX myoclonic conditions have been reported in mice, labrador retriever dogs (March and others 1993), Peruvian Paso horses (Gundlach and others 1993) and Hereford calves (Harper and others 1986). The primary cause of myoclonus in these reports was consistent with a deficit in glycine receptors in the CNS (Pierce and others 2001). Similar conditions based on clinical findings and the lack of pathological lesions have not been reported in sheep.

Two three-day-old, female Dohne Merino × Merino lambs from different ewes (assigned lamb 1 and lamb 2 for identification purposes) were presented with a complaint of being unable to stand, having tremors and showing signs of stiffness. The flock was managed as a multisire breeding system. Annual vaccinations were done against conditions such as pulpy kidney, bluetongue, blue udder and Chlamydophila. Only these lambs were affected in the flock. Both lambs had received sufficient colostrum from their respective dams shortly after they were born.

A complete clinical examination, neurological examination, blood smear for light microscopy evaluation, urinalysis and faecal analysis were performed. Both lambs appeared to be alert, could lift their heads and had no visual or auditory abnormalities. The lambs were able to suckle normally when assisted, but only when left in lateral recumbency. …

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