A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

September 4, 2008

Eye Baths All Round


The ragweed is late in making it’s appearance this year, but that hasn’t stopped it from having its usual effect on those who live around it.  Typically I know that most of August will be spent with red, swollen, itchy eyes courtesy of ragweed allergies and I am not alone in that affliction as one of our alpacas, Ivanna, seems to have ragweed allergies too.


We have noticed in the past that at certain times of the year Ivanna has sneezing fits, which coincide with when my allergies are at their worst.  This year though we have noticed that one of her eyes is also a little weepy.  We cannot see anything in it that could be causing the problem, no signs of stray hairs, pieces of weed or dirt or an ulcer.  Initially I thought that just because only one eye was affected that Ivanna’s eye irritation could not be allergies, but then I realized that my left eye is always more affected by the ragweed than the right one.


I know that it helps me to bathe my eyes regularly during the peak of ragweed season; at that point they are so sore that even plain water can sting my eyes, but it does seem to help if only by removing some of the pollen that has made contact with my eyes.  So we have taken to bathing Ivanna’s eye every day and it appears to be helping.


We had consulted with our vet as to what to use on Ivanna’s eye, we had tried to locate some sterile water but apparently that is a rare commodity in Clovis, New Mexico, our vet came up with an easy suggestion though, to use lactated ringer solution and so that is what we are doing.  We fill a 12 cc syringe with the solution (no needle on the syringe of course) and gently irrigate Ivanna’s eye.  So far we have not had any problems doing this and Ivanna seems to quite enjoy having her eye flushed.


At the same time as Ivanna started with her weepy eye, we noticed that one of the other girls Bjorn seemed to have a little grass seed stuck on her eye.  So Bjorn has had her eye flushed too and also received some antibiotic ophthalmic cream on her eye.  The ophthalmic cream comes in two preparations one with steroids and one without and we always use the cream without the steroids as the steroids in the other cream could cause a pregnant female to abort.  Bjorn is not as cooperative as Ivanna about having her eyes treated, but it is necessary to ensure the good health of her eye in case the grass seed scratched it.


So Ivanna, Bjorn and I are all enjoying our eye baths (I am still sticking to plain water for me!), but I have to say that their eyes are looking a lot better than mine!   Roll on the end of the ragweed season!



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