A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

May 13, 2007

Signs from the Poop Pile

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Care, Alpaca Health, Alpacas, camelids, Crias, General — alpacalady @ 7:58 am

Rascal Standing ProudI have mentioned before the importance of paying attention to the contents of the poop piles in the pasture.  To some it might seem a strange thing to do, but poop piles can be a good indication of health problems within the herd.

Yesterday evening during chores I noticed some diarrhea in one of the poop piles.  From the amount of diarrhea I could tell that it was probably passed by one of the cria.  A quick check of all of the crias tails revealed that Rascal was the one with the problem.

Apart from the diarrhea Rascal seems otherwise okay.  He is lively and eating well and we had seenhim up to his usual tricks during the day.  So I suspect the diarrhea is either a nutritional issue or possibly indicates that Rascal has coccidyosis.

Our initial action was to give Rascal some MSE drench and also to give him a dose of a product called Diarsynl.  The MSE drench is a pro-biotic that will help restore his stomach flora, the Diarsynl contains electrolytes and also an ingredient that helps stop diarrhea.  Usually a couple of daily doses of MSE and the Diarsynl will halt cria diarrhea, if not then I will be more prone to suspect coccidyosis in which case we will need to treat the whole herd with a coccidostat such as Corid.  In addition to the Corid we will give Rascal an antibiotic such as trimethoprim-sulfadiazine which will help him fight the coccidia.

Coccidyosis is caused by microscopic organisms called coccidia and is spread by contact with infected feces, so it is important that if Rascal does have coccidyosis that we treat him quickly and also treat the whole herd to ensure that no one else comes down with it.  Birds often spread coccidyosis through their feces and we find it can be particularly prevalent in the spring and the fall when the birds are very active either with nesting or migration.

While coccidyosis is easily treated, if left untreated it can cause the alpacas to become very ill and in extreme cases could result in death which is obviously something we want to avoid.

So we will be keeping a close eye on Rascal and also the rest of the herd to make sure no one else is starting with diarrhea.  If by tomorrow afternoon he is not showing signs of improvement I will run a fecal sample on him to check for coccidyosis and then change my treatment plan according to the results I find.  Fingers crossed though Rascal’s diarrhea is nothing more than a mild nutritional upset and within a short time he will be completely back to normal.

Rosemary

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