Archive for the ‘health’ Category

So, you take your Vitamin D3 geltab each day, but do you know where that vitamin might come from? Guess. Go on…just take a guess. Fish liver oil? Well, maybe. But read the label on the bottle. Does it actually state “fish liver oil”? No?
If it states “cholecalciferol”, you may just have a sheep to thank for your health.

“There are two commercial sources of natural vitamin D3: fish liver oil and an oil extracted from wool. “If a label lists ‘vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)’ then it is from wool oil. This is considered a vegetarian source (the animal is not harmed, just sheared), but not vegan. Fish liver oil will be in parentheses if it is the source.” (6) Animals can obtain vitamin D from licking their fur, and in humans, rickets can be successfully treated by rubbing cod liver oil into the skin.”

(from: http://www.doctoryourself.com/dvitamin.htm)

Recently, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease. One of the markers used in determining a thyroid problem is the level of vitamin D in the patient. Even though I work outside, in the high-altitude sun we have here at Oleo Acres, I was way below the bottom of the range of this essential vitamin in my system. Most folks in this area can work outside for about 15 minutes in the sun and get more than their daily need of this vitamin. It is essential for a number of reasons. I guess I just have to be different, don’t I?
As I did more and more research on the need for vitamin D, especially in the D3 form, one item kept popping up in the sites I searched. Much of the D3 supplements are made from wool fat in the fleece of sheep.

It seems we shepherds have been on the healthy track and not known it. 😉 Just another reason to thank those four-footed creatures we have come to enjoy, love, and respect, eh?

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(Please keep in mind that the following is happening in my area and may not be happening in your area. This is meant as a “forewarned is forearmed” passage of information…)

This past Wednesday, I vaccinated my flock of sheep for Rabies. For those of you following the news you’ll remember the infamous “Bobcat in a Bar” in Prescott, Arizona, where a bobcat wandered into a local pub, during broad daylight, and tried to attack patrons. Well, we’ve had a few similar happenings here in northern Arizona as well.
What prompted me to inquire about the prospect of having sheep immunized for rabies was an incident a few weeks ago on the east side of town. A gentleman left his house one morning to get in his car in his driveway and was attacked, and subsequently bitten, by a rabid fox. In Suburbia. Yes…the fox was found and yes…it tested positive for rabies…and yes, the man had to undergo treatment.
Being the inquisitive person I am, I started asking questions of the two veterinarians I use. The thought had struck me: Well, I put the sheep in the barn area at night to (hopefully) avoid predation by the coyotes, dogs, bears and lions we have in this area, but was I overlooking the smaller pests? We have skunks, bobcats, fox, raccoon and porcupines moving through all the time. And “What if…” one happened to bite a sheep and transmit the virus to the sheep? Hmmm…
OK…our county did place a quarantine into effect for the city of Flagstaff and parts north into the San Francisco Peaks, with all cats and dogs to be inside or under control of their owners for a certain time period. While that is going on, county and Fish and Game people were dropping vaccination baits all over the areas where rabies had been found in hopes to “vaccinate” any creatures who had not contracted the disease already. However, two things were very wrong with this implementation: one was that not enough area was included in this quarantine to cover the range of the rabies, and, from the feedback for various people involved in this scheme as well as local veterinarians, it isn’t working all that well. A third thought was did I really trust the county officials?
After talking to the vets, I decided it would be in my best interest to go ahead and vaccinate the sheep. One problem with the transmission of rabies, if a sheep does get bitten from a rabid animal, is transmission to humans. Although I doubt any rabid animal could even catch one of my “Puddlejumpers”, do I want to chance both their health and mine? I don’t think so.
When a sheep (cow or horse for that matter) starts to show symptoms of rabies, one of the first signs is coughing as if the animal is choking on something. The responsible owner then reaches in the mouth of said animal to retrieve the object d’jour only to find nothing but saliva all over their hand and arm. All you need do is have an open wound from a cut or torn cuticle, or to slice yourself on a sharp molar and there you have it.
Little did I know that one vet had already ordered the vaccine for me. OK…I get the message. I’ll vaccinate the Sheeple. So, everyone got their shot and the next day were not only grumpy with the Shepherdess, but just grumpy from the shot as well.

And as much as I hate to admit it, even though it cost me some money, I feel I did the best I could for not only my flock…but me and the Hired-Hand-With-Benefits as well.

NOTE: In my research I found out from a Vet-Tech that horse owners can become exposed just by bridling a horse IF that horse was exposed to the virus. Who would have thought that the simple act of placing a bit into a horse’s mouth could be a contributing factor?

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Still Kickin’…

Ewes coming off Snow Mountain in the pasture

Yes, I know it’s been a while since I posted. The past two weeks have been horrendous around here. As many of you know, my Hired-Hand-With-Benefits went into the hospital for surgery for an aneurysm on the artery to his spleen. Unfortunately, the location of this Nasty-ness was such that his spleen had to be removed as well. The past couple of months (we found this out at Thanksgiving) have been trials of various medical tests and the like to make sure he was in good enough shape to handle the surgery.
Somehow the whole ordeal reminded me of the Albino in The Princess Bride telling poor Wesley that he had to be healthy to face torture. I understand it fully, however sordid it seemed. After all, if I were a surgeon I’d want to know that various other body parts could indeed take the strain of a major surgical procedure.
So, last Thursday HHWB went in. And Sunday morning he came home. He was up walking the halls the day after the surgery and from then on I believe he was driving the nurses crazy with his jaunts around the place. Home he went. Now he’s driving me crazy. (He states that driving me crazy is so easy anyway.)
While he’s doing really well, he has also realized that this is no cakewalk. Before the surgery, he had told me he was going to an office luncheon this coming Thursday. Yesterday I overheard him telling a cohort he would not be attending. I laughed, silently.
In the past, when I have had surgeries, this dear HHWB has always felt that if I was able to walk to the kitchen, I was healed and “Good to go!”. It didn’t matter if I was white, grey, red, or purple in the face or body…I was moving. I was OK, then back to work he’d merrily go. Now, I have to admit that my Evil-Self is delighted the shoe is on the other foot. Let him see what it’s like. heeheehee

The evening of the day he had his surgery, I came home late after seeing him settled in a proper room and not on the dreaded “3-North” floor of the hospital (a terrible floor where I had very bad experiences in 2007). I thought I would just have a bowl of cereal for dinner, then shower, watch some TV to relax, then to bed. The first spoonful of cereal I had was sour. Yup. The refrigerator we had bought back in ’88 had finally died…and taken all the perishables with it. Our local repair-guys, whom we’ve used for years, passed sentence on the ole gal – new compressor for about $600+. We decided not to have her fixed but get a new one instead. The poor thing has been sying a s-l-o-w death for the past two years.
So, today, I was going refrigerator shopping. HHWB decided that he wanted to come along. OK. I guess. Maybe the walking would do you good and get you out of the house. Off we went. We checked out Home Depot, Best Buy, and our local Sears, finding a suitable replacement which will be delivered Saturday. They have to get it here from their Phoenix warehouse. All the stores had to get items from Phoenix instead of having a local supply. So, Saturday we’ll be back to some semblance of normal around here – whatever “normal” is. I think I’ve forgotten.
Towards the end of the short shopping trip (we don’t have huge stores or selections to peruse here) I noticed a definite slacking in my companion’s gait. heeheehee He was wearing out. Home we went where he took his pain meds and napped for two hours.

That’ll teach ‘im!… 🙂

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For about the past month, I haven’t been feeling well. At first, I started getting tremendous headaches. Then all-over achiness showed up to the party leaving me feeling like I had a grand case of the Flu. My DH took me to breakfast one Saturday morning knowing that I just didn’t have it in me to make breakfast that day plus I hadn’t been off the farm for two weeks.
It was at breakfast that he posed the question to me: Did I think it could be West Nile Virus? A few years ago our chicken flock was the sentinel flock for our county. When they finally came up with a positive reading, we knew the risk was high that we could have WNV with us each summer as a large wetlands preserve is right behind our place. So, we don long pants and long-sleeved shirts when working outside at dusk and dawn during the summer months. We also slather ourselves with DEET. Still, this year, two of the little bugger mosquitoes got me. It was about two weeks after that incident I started feeling “non-optimal”.
So, after the breakfast I began to think maybe I should actually see our doctor and see if maybe DH was on to something. After all, I’m in that over 50 group with “problems”. Better safe than sorry, right? A week ago I went in and was sent for the obligatory blood-letting. It was only today I received the results. Negative for WNV. Whew! I dodged it for another year! The assessment made was that I actually did have the flu combined with massive allergy reactions to the bountiful pollen season this year.
So, like the mammatus clouds you see below, something negative can be a positive in life!

(I took this photograph of these beautiful storm clouds from the pasture. Where I was standing there was dead-silence, but these signify great turbulence in the high elevation winds aloft.)
And now that I’m feeling better, on to making some hard decisions as to whom to keep, and who goes from our little flock…in this economy and with hay at $20/bale I can not over-winter any but the best of the flock. So now I must make some very hard decisions. I’ll keep you posted…

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