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Investigation Results North Dakota State University

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 treated appropriately.

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 another septicemia.

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 pasteurellosis.

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 bronchopneumonia.

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 surgery.

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

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