A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

August 28, 2009

One Sick Little Puppy

Not much time for writing on the blog the last few days as our little puppy Blue was taken ill at the weekend.   We still don’t really know what the problem is; our vet suspects a bacterial infection and hopes it is that rather than an intestinal blockage.

On Sunday evening we could tell Blue was not well, as the evening went on she progressed from having diarrhea to starting to vomit and then becoming lethargic.  We already had a vet appointment for Monday for Blue’s last vaccinations and so arrived at the vet poop sample in hand (the vet has us well trained) to see if the vet could figure out the problem.

We ended up taking another trip to the vet on Tuesday as Blue was getting worse.  Now with some antibiotics, antacids and anti nausea medication Blue is making some progress but in fits and starts.  We are optimistic when she eats only to have our hopes dashed when she goes back to not eating the next day and vomiting again.  We have had days when she will not eat or drink anything – a worrying situation when she is only a 9 lb. puppy.

Yesterday Blue seemed to be doing a bit better.  On Wednesday evening we gave her some of our tried and trusted MSE drench (yes you can use it on dogs too).  While Blue hated the taste of it (that’s understandable) we did get most of the ½ cc dose into her.  We also syringe fed her chicken and rice baby food to try and stimulate her appetite and gave her a photonic red light treatment for nausea and to increase her appetite.  By Thursday morning she did seem a little perkier.  Yet another consultation was made with the vet who feels that the antibiotics are starting to have a positive effect and that we should see greater improvement today and Saturday.  Let’s hope so!

So with a little sick puppy who did not want me out of her sight (how can you resist those pleading blue eyes) there was not a lot else done around the farm except routine chores.  I did manage to do a little spinning as Blue was too lethargic to try and bother my wheel as I used it.  She still had her influence though as she had been into one of the bobbins of yarn I was plying and had made a huge tangle of the yarn.

By Thursday evening Blue was up to playing and starting to be able to take a little more food, but the amount she can eat at one time is very small and we are being very selective about what we feed her.  We have found a homeopathic anti nausea remedy called nux vomica that seems to help.

It’s difficult to tell what started Blue’s illness, she loves to pick things up in her mouth and while we try and stop her sometimes she does manage to sneak something past us.  It’s likely Blue picked up something up that had some nasty bacteria on it which then entered her system.  Whatever it is really hit her hard, but it looks as if we might be turning the corner and heading toward Blue’s recovery.  Who would have thought we would have missed her flying face licks and cracker dog sessions so much.  We look forward to seeing Blue flying through the air at us again soon.

Rosemary

March 28, 2008

A More Comfortable Queen

I am happy to report that Queen is doing much better.  She had a more comfortable day yesterday with no need for any more shots or treatment.  I will probably give her another dose of MSE drench today just to be on the safe side.   MSE promotes healthy rumen function in alpacas and due to its vitamin and enzyme content it is good for alpacas who are under stress.  I usually give my pregnant girls some MSE during their last couple of weeks of pregnancy and immediately after birth; it seems to help them bounce back from the birthing process quicker.

I will also treat Queen to another photonic red light treatment, I am sure she will not be fully appreciative of the special care, Queen is not a hands on alpaca, but I want to make sure that she receives the best care we can give her.

Queen spent much of yesterday eating hay and ate her pellets as she normally does.  She is still lying around quite a bit, but considering how big her unborn cria seems to be that is hardly surprising.

On checking my records I can see that our computer program has based her due date on 359 days, which was the length of her previous pregnancy.  A typical alpaca pregnancy is 345 days so she could have the cria in early May.  As large as Queen is though, I would not be surprised if she ends up having the cria early so we will need to be prepared for that.  Queen’s last cria Velvet was 14 lbs at birth and Queen looked enormous when she was carrying Velvet too, but she did not show any discomfort during that pregnancy.  The cria Queen is carrying is the same breeding as Velvet (Queen and our herdsire Windrush Jennifer’s Zindel) and so far Zin’s crias have all been a nice size, ranging from 14 to 18 lbs.

Hopefully Queen will not have any more bad days between now and giving birth, and hopefully she will hang onto her cria until closer to her due date!

Rosemary

November 5, 2007

Isn’t it always the way ……

Yesterday’s trip to the 2007 Small Farm Conference and Trade Show in Moriaty was a success, we met people who were keen to learn about alpacas and who enjoyed our presentation.  We got a little time to look around the event but as our presentation was one of the last of the day by the time we had finished many of the vendors and informational booths had either packed up or were in the process of doing so.  We have asked the organizers of the event to keep us on their list for next year.  We are pretty certain that by next year word will have spread about the event and there will be more interest in it.  There were several presentations we would have liked to be able to attend, and so next year we may plan on spending a day or so in the area rather than driving up and back in a day.

 We did well with our efforts to get up early and be on the road in plenty of time.  The fact that we switched back to Standard Time from Daylight Savings Time did help us a little and we were able to be on the road by 9:15 with chores done and dogs walked and happily worn out for the day.

In addition to doing our regular chores we also had to take time to examine and treat one of the alpaca girls.  We had noticed Becky acting a little strangely the night before.  As the temperature dropped and we started our evening chores I saw that Becky was lying stretched out on the concrete close to the water feeder.  Now if it had been a hot summer’s day I would think nothing of it as the girls like to lie on the cool concrete when the weather is hot, but yesterday evening was not hot and it struck me as strange that Becky was lying on the concrete.  When the feed bowls came out though Becky got up and ate as normal.  Later on when we went to do our last check of the evening we found Becky sitting on her own inside the small blue shelter.  This behavior is unusual for Becky as she usually sits outside and close to the rest of the herd.

By this morning we could tell something was amiss with Becky, she ate when the feed was put out but within a short while she moved away from the herd and cushed with her legs stretched out to the side.  She appeared to be uncomfortable and then lay completely stretched out on her side.

Not liking what we saw, we caught Becky and put her in a pen so that we could take a closer look at her.  One of the first things we noticed was a lot of gut sounds coming from Becky.  We took her temperature and were surprised to find it only read 94.3 (the usual alpaca temperature is 101.1), Becky was not shivering and her ears felt warm to the touch, but her core temperature was definitely low.  We suspected that Becky had some digestive discomfort and so gave her some MSE drench to help improve her rumen function and also a shot of Banamine to help relax her and relieve the pain she was in.  I also gave Becky a photonic red light treatment of her nine standard points and also the digestive points (more information on photonic red light treatment to follow in another post).  As anadded precaution we also treated Becky’s ears for ear ticks using 2cc of Dr. Adams Fly Spray and Repellent for Horses in each ear.

While we waited for the banamine to take effect we were able to continue with chores and observe Becky’s actions.  Fortunately within a short time Becky was looking much better and up eating hay.  We watched Becky long enough to satisfy ourselves that she was going to okay while we were gone for the day.

When we returned later in the evening the first thing we did was to check Becky, who at the sight of us stood at the pasture gate anxiously awaiting feed.  Our helper Bethany was already doing the chores when we got home and we were able to keep an eye on Becky and watch her as Bethany completed the chores.  Becky ate well and later on was seen to be cushed and chewing her cud.

I suspect that Becky had eaten something that gave her a stomachache and caused her unusual behavior in the morning.  Thankfully all seems well now and we were able to still get off on time to complete our journey.  It always seems to be the way of life that whenever you are in a rush to get somewhere something will happen to slow you down.  We like to think that circumstances like that happen for a reason and just try and go with the flow of whatever life throws at us.

Rosemary

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