A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

May 16, 2008

To the Vets, to the Vets we go.

Just when we thought our regular trips to our small animal vet were going to stop another of our dogs has decided it is her turn to use up her veterinary allowance.  We finally got the all clear on our Pomeranian Toby who had been seeing the vet on a regular basis since he developed acute hemolytic anemia following a vaccine reaction.  Toby will be on half a prednisolone tablet for the rest of his life, but thankfully his blood levels are back to normal and he is once again the speeding ball of fur that we know and love.


Now Sandie our Aussie Shepherd/Retriever cross is under the weather.  Sandie has been acting a little oddly since I came back from England, but by yesterday she had developed a head tilt and her right hip gave out on her yesterday evening.  So off to the vets we went and Sandie got to spend the night there.  So far her blood work looks fairly good with just a slight anemia and so the vet will be taking X-rays of her hips this morning to see if that is where the source of Sandie’s problem lies.  Sandie is at least 13 years old (she was already an adult dog when we found her) and so unfortunately age is not on her side.  Still there is a lot that can be done with modern veterinary medicine and hopefully Sandie will be home soon as the house does seem empty without her.


Having spent time at the small animal vet it was then time to head off to the large animal vet with Queen and her new cria in order to get the cria’s blood drawn for his IgG test, BVDV (Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus) PCR test and his registration blood sample.  Not all breeders do IgG tests on their crias but we have always run them on our crias and it gives us a good idea of the immune system of the cria.  A negative BVDV PCR test will be required for us to eventually be able to show the cria.  It is a one time test and so we figure it is just as well to get that done and obtain blood for the crias registration card all at the same time as the IgG test.  Queen’s boy is a very lively lad and so I am sure his test results will come back good.  He loves to run and during our late night check of the girls yesterday he was seen to be chasing all over the pasture, bugging the other alpacas and then eventually returning to Queen so that he could nudge her to get up from her cushed position so he could nurse.


So yesterday was a day of veterinary appointments, and today who knows maybe, just maybe someone else will decide to have her cria and hopefully without the need for a vet.  I’ll keep you posted.



October 30, 2007

Update on Chai

Chai and KanikaYesterday we heard back from our vet on the results of Chai’s bloodwork.  Our vet is a sole practitioner and sometimes his work schedule means that he doesn’t get to call us as quickly as he would like to.  Most definitely if there is something urgent or life threatening he will call us immediately, but on routine matters we sometimes have to call his office rather than wait for him to call us.  I knew from talking to the vet’s secretary earlier in the week that following his appointment at our farm our vet had then gone on to deal with a whole day of emergency calls and that therefore his workload was heavy right now.  When working with your vet it is important to get to know him or her so that you understand what you can expect of them and what they expect of you.  With good understanding and communication between vet and owner a good relationship will develop over time.

On dear Chai our vet said that she appears to have some form of bacterial infection.  Her white blood cell count is a little high and her neutrophils are on the high side too.  The rest of her blood panel does not look bad and there is no indication as to where the infection may be. 

Late pregnancy can often make dams more susceptible to infection, their bodies are trying to cope with growing a cria and preparing to produce milk for that cria and the stress on a dam’s body at that time is great.  Certainly Chai has been doing better since she gave birth to Kanika, but she must still be fighting the infection.

Our vet has suggested that we put Chai on a ten day course of antibiotics, the antibiotic he has prescribed should not have any adverse affect on Chai’s milk and therefore should be safe for little Kanika, however our vet was careful to check that Chai had not yet been bred back as antibiotics in the early stages of pregnancy can have an effect on the developing cria.

Once the course of antibiotics has been completed we will then run another set of blood work on Chai to make sure her body is responding.  Hopefully it will do so and we will have her back to good health really soon.

As a foot note on little Zeus I have to report that he had a better weight gain yesterday so maybe the vitamins are working – we’ll just have to wait a little longer to see!


October 13, 2007

Friday Fog

Foggy DawnAs we get further into fall there are signs of change appearing all around us, the light is softer, the leaves are starting to fall from the trees and of course the days are getting shorter.  This fall has been dry and warmer than usual, yesterday evening at 5:30 pm it was still 88 degrees Fahrenheit and rain has not been seen around here for a while.

On Friday morning though we woke up to fog, so there was moisture somewhere in the air.  As I looked out at the girls pasture to check on Chai, our girl who is due to have her cria, I was taken with the sight of the sun rising behind the fog.  It really was a striking sight and I tried to capture it with my camera, the photo in this blog is the best I could do but hopefully it will give you an idea of how beautiful the dawn looked.  If you look really hard you can see the girls sitting around in the pasture, they all had a good coating of dew and looked as if they were wearing special sparkling blankets.

Chai has been a little more mobile the last few days.  She is still stiff in her joints and we had a consultation with our vet as to what we should do about her.  Our vet has advised us to draw some blood for a CBC (Complete Blood Count) and also a Chemistry Panel.  He is a little concerned that she may have a pulmonary condition that causes traveling joint pain, but of course without blood work or an examination it is hard for him to diagnose Chai correctly.  Usually I would take Chai in to the vets for examination but as she is so close to having her cria I don’t want to put her under any undue stress.  Chai is not really a hands on alpaca and I feel that the stress of a trip to the vets and any subsequent action would be too much stress for her and cause her to go into labor early.  Our vet feels that as Chai is not getting any worse we can safely wait a few days until she has her cria and then draw blood from her.  As we have him come out to draw blood from the cria for IgG testing at 24 hours post birth it will be an ideal opportunity for him to examine Chai at the same time.

I am a little encouraged that Chai has been more mobile, but still feel that there is something going on with her that we need to get to the bottom of.  Chai’s cria is certainly lively enough and we see a lot of cria movement particularly at night.  We check on Chai about once an hour until we go to bed.  When Ric did the “Chai check” late on Thursday evening he could see Chai’s cria kicking hard and could hear poor Chai grunt every time the cria kicked.  I am sure Chai is more than ready for the cria to be born and be kicking around the pasture rather than kicking her!

Today a cold front is due to roll into the area, bringing the temperatures down to the 70’s, sometimes a front can also trigger births as the air pressure changes so maybe Chai’s cria will decide it is time to make an appearance into the world.  We’ll just have to wait and see.


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