This fact sheet was developed by students enrolled in Purdue's ANSC 442 Sheep Management course in Spring 1998, as a semester project. These fact sheets provide useful information on various topics related to sheep. View the list of fact sheets.


12.jpg (32903 bytes) WHITE MUSCLE DISEASE

DEFINITION: Nutritional muscular dystrophy is a degenerative disease of the cardiac and skeletal muscles.

Where found: Areas where soils are unable to provide crops 0.1 ppm of Selenium.

-note- Sometimes excessive Sulfur or Nitrogen fertilizer can reduce the amount of Selenium in the soil.

TYPES: Congenital and Acquired

CONGENITAL ACQUIRED
- stiffness - stiffness
- weakness - weakness
- rapid breathing - rapid breathing

Symptoms are the same, except one has to be careful in the congenital case. Not every stiff and weak lamb at birth has WMD. Other conditions to consider are:

    - Vibriosis
    - Polyarthritis
    - Enterotoxemia
    - Rickets

In severe cases sudden death may occur from heart failure. The mortality rate is higher in lambs born with WMD.

Control/prevention: If area is deficient in Se, best prevention is to supplement. A common practice is to inject a Se- Vitamin E shot at birth and again at about 30 days.

Another alternative is to feed supplemental Selenium at 0.3 ppm. Have to be careful not to add too much and cause toxicity. (Salt or mineral mixes may contain 90 ppm, keep a watchful eye!!)

Treatment:

  1. Injection- To affected and newborn lambs of WMD.
    a. affected- injections of sodium selenite-vit E
    b. newborns- injections of Bo- Se

  2. Internal diet- all hay, especially legumes, should contain adequate amounts of vitamin E. If none is available, injections may be given to provide the requirement.

  3. Avoid overdosing of Selenium- can cause toxicity!

This is a view of the cardiac white muscle of a lamb that had White Muscle Disease.

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The picture is heart muscle showing White Muscle Disease lesions.

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The picture on the right is the pelvic girdle muscles of a weaner aged sheep with classical WMD.

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