Internal records obtained from North Dakota State University
regarding the causes of death for several sheep have raised serious
questions regarding the veterinary care provided to animals at NDSU.
The occurrence of severe abscesses, septicemias, and enterotoxemias
appears to indicate that these animals received either no veterinary
care, or substantially inadequate veterinary care.
The post mortem records do not discuss any veterinary care which had
been given to these animals. It also indicates that these animals are
not observed in an ongoing fashion so that disease can be recognized and
In the case of sheep #55 who died of clostridial enterotoxemia, a
condition such as this does not come out of nowhere in one day. An
infection of this magnitude would require several days to develop.
Similarly, young animals should be observed for complications from birth
and to deal with issues such as failure to thrive. However, two 1 month
old sheep developed serious conditions. #7201 developed an umbilical
infection which progressed into an abscess, while #7002 had a very
prominent internal abscess.
Sheep 38A had a bacterial septicemia. Sheep #179 died of an abscess
of the esophageal area resulting in septicemia when the abscess
ruptured. Again, this process does not take place in a single day. Two
other lambs had similarly serious conditions which were apparently
ignored. #58A had gangrene in the intestines while 60A developed yet
Possibly the ultimate in lack of observation occurred with Sheep 3485
who was pregnant with two lambs. They died in utero, and were ignored
for a sufficient period to cause health problems because the dead lambs
began to decompose in utero, and eventually killed the mother.
Pneumonia or other respiratory tract diseases were also very
prominent within this population of sheep. #56A an 8 week old
Rambouillet lamb died of suppurative (pus forming) bronchopneumonia.
Sheep 91 contracted a chronic suppurative bronchopneumonia with
abscesses formed in lungs. A 5 week old Romanov sheep died of purulent
(also means pus forming) bronchopneumonia – from pneumonic
Sheep 34A (a 4 week old Romanov lamb) also had suppurative pneumonia.
Sheep 5095 developed an abscessed lung from suppurative
bronchopneumonia. While Sheep 5152 died of severe diffuse purulent
A one month old ewe lamb succumbed to acute necrosuppurative
bronchiolitis (necrosuppurative -- forming pus and causing tissue
death). Sheep 404 had severe necrosuppurative meningoencephalitis
(causing tissue death and pus).
Sheep 284 was ovariectomized on 10/19/06 then treated with follicle
stimulating hormone for 5 days. Found dead on 10/27/06 with severe fluid
or electrolyte loss, which could indicate an improperly performed
Sheep 277 – very heavily parasitized, caused total absence of body
fat. For a sheep to reach the point where no body fat was present as a
result of parasitism is clearly an indication of inadequate animal care.
In summary, it appears from the health care records obtained from
North Dakota State University that these animals are not observed
regularly or treated appropriately when they develop pathological
conditions, especially those of a bacterial nature. Septicemia
(bacterial blood poisoning) does not occur overnight; it requires a
substantial period of time with either no veterinary care, or inadequate
care. We will be referring these documents to regulatory agencies for
enforcement actions within the next two weeks.
See Facility Reports and Information about
North Dakota State University