A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

October 9, 2007

What to do about Chai

ChaiOur near term pregnant alpaca Chai was definitely not herself yesterday morning.  She did not get up at feeding time and when I went over to her she did get up but not easily and had difficulty running.  Chai is not a “hands on” alpaca and while she will usually come into her pen to eat, she will not let you just walk up to her and catch her in the pasture and typically runs away.  Today though while she did her best to run something obviously was bothering her.

We examined her left front leg that seems to be the leg causing her the most problems.  We couldn’t find any heat or swelling in the leg but she is tender around the knee joint.  We also checked Chai’s foot pad to make sure she didn’t have a cut or abscess of the foot but her foot pad looked good.  Of course Monday was a holiday and our vet was out of town for the day, so we gave Chai some Banamine to ease her pain and will be talking to our vet today to see what he feels we should do.

The Banamine made a definite improvement in Chai and she was a lot more mobile during the day.  Still not as mobile as the other girls but she is very close to having her cria so I would expect her to be taking things a little easy.  The Banamine most likely eased any inflammation and took away some of the pain she is experiencing.

Whatever she has done I am sure the extra weight of pregnancy is not helping Chai any, but she still has 13 days to go before her due date, and it is never a good idea to induce pregnancy in alpacas as typically the cria will not survive.  The Banamine while obviously helping her also has it’s drawbacks, it can affect milk production in alpacas which is not what we need in a near term alpaca.  I am really not sure of the effect the Banamine will be having on Chai’s unborn cria either.  I am comfortable with giving Chai the odd dose of Banamine at her stage of pregnancy, but I wonder if the Banamine would affect her cria if we were to give Chai some every day for several days.  That is one question I will have for our vet when I speak to him.

It is difficult to know how best to proceed with Chai, ideally I would like to take her in for the vet to examine her, but as she is a nervous alpaca I would hate to stress her out and cause her to abort her cria.  I am thinking it would be best to draw some blood from Chai and see if anything untoward shows up in the results.  We can do the blood draw here on the farm, which will be a lot less stressful to Chai than taking her in to the vets office.   Once Chai has had her cria we could then run them both into the vet so that he could examine and possibly x-ray Chai’s leg.

Apart from her leg Chai is doing well and yesterday we saw more signs that she is getting ready to have her cria.  Chai is now slightly puffy under her tail and her udder has wax caps on the teats, she is also ravenously hungry which is quite often the case in late term pregnancy alpacas and she spent a lot of the day eating hay from the new big bale we have put in the pasture.

Once I have spoken to out vet we will hopefully have a plan of action for Chai, it is hard to watch her being so uncomfortable, especially when she is so close to having her cria.  Still the new big bale brought her some comfort as when she wasn’t eating on it she was lounging around on the hay that had fallen on the ground, and even better than that she discovered that she could lie in front of the big bale and just stretch her neck out and reach the hay – smart girl!


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