Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Whew: Close Call
Our littlest boy Micah, the alpaca with the nicest fleece on the farm, gave me quite a scare last night. I went out to give the alpacas their evening meal, and found Micah alone out by the big chicken coop, cushed (lying down, upright) and quivering. He got up when I approached, but it was obvious that he was not himself and that something was wrong. He looked bloated and hunched, with a distant look in his eyes.
A quick call to my alpaca mentors confirmed what I thought I needed to do: give him a probiotic paste orally, and take his temperature. Unfortunately that temperature was really high. He must have gotten some kind of infection. The miracle is that I happened to have a couple doses of a strong antibiotic that I had gotten, but not used, last year when the suri boys got sick. And I knew right where to put my hands on it. Emma helped me catch him and give him the shot. I also gave him a Thiamine injection, which really helped him last year, and wouldn't hurt in any case.
Then, I had to just leave him to rest overnight - I'd done all there was to do.
This morning, I came out at first light, and found him 100% better - normal temperature, no bloating or quivering, and the sparkle back in his eyes. I'm not sure I can express the relief I felt. I don't know which of the therapies (or combination of them) did the trick, and I don't care. He's better, and that's what matters.
Alpacas are normally pretty healthy guys, but if something goes wrong, very few vets know what to do for them. The only vet I have who will see alpacas, is 30 miles away, and he's not always available. We alpaca people have learned to vet our own animals much of the time, pooling our accumulated experience, unless a true emergency develops.
I'm so grateful to my friends the Daughertys and the McCroskies, who have weathered lots of alpaca storms, and have so much knowledge and expertise to share--thank you for being there for me.
We'll keep an eye on the little monkey, but I'm really praying that we're out of the woods with him - we may never know exactly what gave him such trouble.