Thursday, January 5, 2012


Received this today from a Pet owner we sold alpacas to a number of years ago.
I thought it would be of some interest to the reader or alpaca owner, who has come across similar.

It is .........., who purchased Zambucca & Alcazar from you, 6 years ago this weekend actually.  I am sorry to say that Zambucca passed away yesterday, very upsetting.  He was fine the night before, and I went out early yesterday morning to fill up their troughs with fresh water for the hot day ahead, and he was down.  He was wet around the nose and mouth, from dribble, and wouldn't get to his feet.  I rang vet straight away who came out about 1 1/2 hrs later.  She did not know what was wrong with him, and we tried an IV and a tube into his stomach to hydrate him, plus an anti-inflammatory for pain.  He picked up a little, obviously the anti-inflammatory, but very quickly went down hill and was appearing to be in pain and very stressed.  The only thing the vet thought was perhaps a twisted bowel, which they couldn't do anything with, so in the end we had to had have put down to save any further suffering. Very, very upsetting.  When my husband came home, he said that at work someone else had an alpaca die over the weekend, and another had his horse die, all put down to "twisted bowel".  I was speaking to someone today about it who had heard on the ABC country program a few weeks ago about some illness with alpacas happening recently.  Researching it on the net, the program had said with the past few years being drought and this current year being very wet, that worm infestations had become quite pronounced, and that owners of alpacas and goats, to be mindful of worming their animals. Apparently they can go down within hours and pass away very shortly afterwards.  Does this sound feasible to you?  He was looking in his prime, a magnificent speciment for a stud male. Neither of my boys had been wormed for perhaps three years, I had been getting their worming and vitamin injections from you, but haven't had any for perhaps three years, but will definitely be doing so now, just in case that is what the problem was.  Who knows.  Could you please let me know what worming agent you recommend and the vitamins you used as well.
My answer
Dear ..............,
I am sorry to hear the passing of Zambucca, he was a magnificant animal, and so is alcatraz.
Both were show winners in their day, and were  only sold as pets because we had plenty of their bloodlines in our herd.
I am glad thy both have gone to a fantastic home, and have been loved and cared for properly.

Twisted Bowel is caused when an animal rolls and for some reason, the bowel or stomach do not within the body.
This is not an uncommon occurrance with any animal, and they is no reason why or why not it happens, and is unavoidable.

My guess at the moment re worming, I do not think would be the problem, they had plenty of land to graze from, and no competition for the feed, so they were not left to feed off their dung pile.

the two main indications of heavy festations of worms, is Body Condition, & colour.
Body condition- they would be very skinny, stiff legged, and lethargic, and most likely for a couple of days before death would not be able  to get up to walk, and when he would kush, he would not be able to to stay kushed, roll on his side, and then just lay there, and cannot get back to a kushing position or stand. Remember i showed you with you hand and the clock face to test for body condition.
Colour- you pull the bottom eye lid down, and look to the underlid, and see the colour of that, it should be reddish like your own, the paler it is the more the animal is anemic, and this is generally through worms. If it is white then yes he has bad worms.

Alpacas are not suppose to get colic, but we have had twice cases where i was told if this was a horse i would say it has colic.
Given warm beer, (which is an old remedy for colic for horses), not much in volume, does seem to settle this, and i have seen on one occassion when a horse person was around, when one of the cases being the first we saw, whilst we were waiting for the vet, who took forever to get there, gave the alpaca some warm beer, (basically placed in a glass, and held the alpaca to drink out of the glass. I would not have expected him to survive prior to this drink, and then ofered again, as they only sip a little at a time, withing say 10 mins, the alpaca was brighter.
and then within half an hour, he was good, and survived.
Not to say, this was the problem with Zambucca, but something to keep in mind.
We always have a bottle of beer out the the fridge just in case we have to use this again.
This particular morning, it was a freash beautiful morning to a warm day.
The alpacas were bought up to the yards early, and some ran. On this occassion, then went to the water trough, the water being one of those brisk mornings was cold, (not frozen, and the explaination to me, was drinking the extra cold water, on or just after exercise, gives this colic like reaction.
As i Said i only have seen this twice, and used the same remedy whilst waiting for the vets, and both times it worked.
When the vet came, he said well i cannot see anything wrong with the alpaca.

Twisted Bowel, or a twisted stomach, is different, they are in obvious pain, although they can get up, and walk in small steps,for a small distance, hunched, and can be drooling.
Sometimes, like a twisted uterus, A twist of an organ, is more likely to happen if on the side of a hill or slope, as the alpaca rolls, as i said, especially with the uterus which is weighed down by the foetus, the foetus and uterus is weighed down, and does not move freely with the body as it rolls, and then of course it is twisted.
The same if the bowel or stomach is uite full and weighted, when the animal rolls, which alpacas tend to do, and on that one occassion the organ does not roll with it.
Mind you, many other times under the same conditions the animal will roll, with no concequence.
Again, it is just one of those things that can happen, is unavoidable and upsetting for the carer/ owner.

My advice to you is to chekc the body condition and colour of ALcatraz's eyes, if in dought ring or email me again, and worm him.
Alpacas generally do not like to be by themselves, they are a herd animal, so if you are after a mate for alcatraz, we have one that suits age wise, available $250, white in colour.

There are other things around, these days like barbers pole, which seems to becoming more common than previously, because of change of weather conditions, but all these other things do not appear suddenly, animals that have had an of those other parasites have had to be in contact with your animals and have grazed and spread dung on your land, and even then, numbers, and conditions have to play in a great part, before they get to the stage of affecting your stock.

We use Cydectin, (cattle wormer), injectible, (not drench), and if there is a chance of worms (body condition and colour will give you an indication of this), then he would be done again in about 4 weeks.
Vit AD & E, 2 mls and 5 in 1 2 mls.
Sometimes, also it is good to put some Nutrimol into his water, not too much, and also this can give them some needed minerals.

Because of the small quantities needed, (2 mls of each), it is sometimes difficult to buy this, some vets will sell this to you.
if you cannot get it, and you are going past, we can place some in the letter box at the end of the road for you.
I hope 2012 beings you health, happiness and good luck, although it has been a sad start to the new Year,


Here are some examples of what Anemia checking the inner eyelid membrane color looks like..:

This is what good inner eye membrane color should look like- from a healthy goat who is not suffering from heavy wormload This is what good inner eye membrane color should look like- from a goat who is not suffering from heavy wormload.
This shows a very anemic goat suffering from heavy wormload- the inner eye membranes are white- this is a possible fatal situation This shows a very anemic goat suffering from heavy wormload- the inner eye membranes are white- this is a possible fatal situation.
The "bottlejaw" edema has traveled to the eye area in this photo- this goat is suffering from anemia due to coccidiosis The "bottlejaw" edema has traveled to the eye area in this photo- this goat is suffering from anemia due to coccidiosis

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