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 Intestinal Blockage
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alpacatreasures

230 Posts

Posted - 11/02/2006 :  12:28:15 PM  Show Profile  Visit alpacatreasures's Homepage
I've had quite a rollercoaster of a week. Last Friday (late afternoon, of course), one of my black dams (cria at side) collapsed immediately at her boarding farm. Kelly Jarvis of Alpaca This(who's amazing!) called me and said we needed to rush her to the vet. We did, but the vet couldn't do much and said to rush her up to Pilchuck hospital 2 hours away or euthanize her. So, we rushed her up there and got there about 3.5 hours after the collapse.

Diagnosis: blockage of the small intestine- couldn't identify it on ultrasound, but all bloodwork and severe colicky behavior pointed to it. If we opted for surgery, she would have 20-60% chance at best (20% is the national statistic/60% is the hospital's success rate), but vets did not think she would make it through (as she's a skinny dam). So, we decided to go the medical route and flush her with fluids....but the vets gave her about a 5% chance from their experience. And, they said if she looks colicky after the initial pain medication wears off, they will euthanize her.

Next morning comes and she's up and nursing her cria. Vets scratch their heads and call us. Throughout the rest of the day, she's eating, showing small amounts of feces, and nursing. Sunday - same thing, so we think she's on the road to recovery.

Monday morning comes and she's relapsed again. Now, they see the blockage on the US along with severe swelling around the blockage. And, she appears very colicky again. Prognosis is very bleak, but they do a last ditch attempt to pump her full of laxatives to help dislodge the blockage. Vet calls the insurance company and says he plans to euthanize. As he puts the phone down, she stands up and begins eating again!?!? Vets really scratching their heads. They've never seen such a stubborn/determined skinny alpaca mom! They decide to monitor her for another 32 hours ($$) for observation and for their own research purposes as they're totally baffled.

Anyway, she's now back at her boarding farm with cria and appears to be doing fine. Vets say there's always a chance that a blockage could re-occur, but they're certain she fully passed the one that she had. She's definitely a fighter...probably for her cria's sake! She'll definitely get full pampering from now on!

Has anyone one else had a similar situation and result? The results I've read about have not been very good. I'm curious if she'll have any permanent damage/scarring that may lead to future problems.

Sincerely,

Sara McElroy
Alpaca Treasures
Maple Valley, WA
www.alpacanation.com/alpacatreasures.asp

Edited by - alpacatreasures on 11/02/2006 1:20:46 PM

Journey

13 Posts

Posted - 11/02/2006 :  1:48:38 PM  Show Profile
Hi Sara,

I have never seen this with alpacas, but after reading your post I immediately remembered my wonderful horse, Dusty. This was about 17 years ago and he had some of the same sypmtoms you described. After quite the roller coaster ride with this ourselves and different vets not knowing what was going on, he was finally diagnosed with sand colic at UW Madison. This was before Sand Clear and other types of sand removal products were available. So they basically flushed him out with laxatives and for some time after, I had to give him "horse" amounts of Metamucil every day. Then to help prevent future reoccurrences with this, I had to give him the Metamucil treatment for I think it was around 5-7 days every month.
I don't know if there are similar products available to alpacas, but you might want to check into the sand removal ones for horses and see if alpacas can have it as well. These help to "push" sand and other foreign materials out of the intestinal tract and to keep it working properly.
Good luck with your girl. She sounds like quite the super alpaca with a will to survive!



Cathy Carter
The Suri Scene Alpacas
thesuriscene@yahoo.com
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sherih

399 Posts

Posted - 11/02/2006 :  2:50:10 PM  Show Profile  Visit sherih's Homepage
One beneficial treatment would be to tube her with mineral oil. This is tasteless and provides good lubrication.

You can also give a homeopathic remedy Phosphorus 30C. This remedy is good for colic and blocked intestines. If Phosphorus is not correct there will be no side effects.


Sheri Hewitt
Woodland Meadows, LLC
Creswell, OR
541-895-0964
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The Paca Factory

592 Posts

Posted - 11/02/2006 :  3:14:32 PM  Show Profile  Visit The Paca Factory's Homepage
I'm just curious that by flushing the digestive system of a camilid would there have to be a follow up with piobetics? (sp)After messing with the alpacas poopin I have experienced having to bring that bacteria back into the system. Just wondering. What is others thoughts on that? Linda

David & Linda Bradley
The Paca Factory
Durand, Mi.
989-288-3315
thepacafactory@aol.com
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alpacatreasures

230 Posts

Posted - 11/02/2006 :  3:29:31 PM  Show Profile  Visit alpacatreasures's Homepage
All great points and suggestions! Thank you!

I'll definitely run them by the vets as possible routine procedures over the next few weeks just to ensure her intestinal tract has some added protection during recovery.

I'm hesitant to give her anything w/o the vet's approval, but probiotics definitely can't hurt and I'd think they'd be a must after flushing out her system.

Sara McElroy
Alpaca Treasures
Maple Valley, WA
www.alpacanation.com/alpacatreasures.asp
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sherih

399 Posts

Posted - 11/02/2006 :  7:47:32 PM  Show Profile  Visit sherih's Homepage
Probiotics are a great ides.

You can be sure that a vet will never agree with homeopathy because regular allopathic medicines are all they know.

Sheri Hewitt
Woodland Meadows, LLC
Creswell, OR
541-895-0964
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allamericanalpacas

4245 Posts

Posted - 11/03/2006 :  08:20:27 AM  Show Profile
Probiotics are not exactly homeopathy, and I've never heard of a vet that doesn't use them.
Thile I'll use probiotics with antibiotics, the few tubings we've done, never added probiotics but it couldn't hurt.
The main thing is keeping this girl from blocking up again. The only solution I can think of is keeping electrolytes in her water permanently, as they do cause the alpaca to drink more.
Question: Is the blockage in C3 or the intestine?

Rick
--
Rick & Pati Horn
All American Alpacas
35215 Avenida Maņana
Murrieta, Ca. 92563
http://aaalpacas.com/updates.html
http://alpacanation.com/aaalpacas.asp
(951) 679-7795
Life is good!
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sherih

399 Posts

Posted - 11/03/2006 :  10:44:06 AM  Show Profile  Visit sherih's Homepage
Rick,

You're right, probiotics are not homoeopathy, but Phosphorus is.



Sheri Hewitt
Woodland Meadows, LLC
Creswell, OR
541-895-0964
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alpacatreasures

230 Posts

Posted - 11/03/2006 :  11:57:06 AM  Show Profile  Visit alpacatreasures's Homepage
The blockage was in the small intestine. I spoke with the vet yesterday and he said it's fine to use probiotics. Since they did not completely flush out her system and she was passing feces naturally (rather than artificially on the IV/pain meds), the probiotics weren't required b/c everything was flowing correctly. He said they do routinely use probiotics and said it's fine for us to use them when we feel necessary. I also had him get more specific with the treatment protocols, and he said that they did tube her with mineral oil.

So, thank you all! I saw her last night and she's still doing fine....just a bit weak. But, she's eating like a pig and still passing feces. And, cria is gaining weight!

Life is good! (I think Louelyn would 2nd me on that!)

Best regards,

Sara McElroy
Alpaca Treasures
Maple Valley, WA
www.alpacanation.com/alpacatreasures.asp

Edited by - alpacatreasures on 11/03/2006 11:58:08 AM
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alpacatreasures

230 Posts

Posted - 11/03/2006 :  12:08:17 PM  Show Profile  Visit alpacatreasures's Homepage
One other thing I should note....

The vets mentioned that there are a higher number of intestinal blockages in Western Washington than any other area of the NW! They're not exactly sure why, but they think it's linked to the long, orchard grass hay!?! Most breeders get their hay shipped over from Eastern WA, so I'm baffled why they wouldn't have the same rate of occurrence.

So, what are breeders to do.....chop up the hay? Do any of you do that? It would seem very time-consuming......but after this incident, I'm willing to try anything that will help prevent this from happening again.

Sara McElroy
Alpaca Treasures
Maple Valley, WA
www.alpacanation.com/alpacatreasures.asp
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moresurialpacas

107 Posts

Posted - 11/03/2006 :  1:39:32 PM  Show Profile
Hi Sara,
To help her intestnal track at this point i would give her rumin juice (spit) with water and some electrolytes about 150cc to 200cc mix for 2-3 days(i believe probiotics do not help build stomach bacteria needed for digestion and only provide vitamins and nutriants)
I would also give her two days of Metamucil(Psyllium fiber) 2- tablespoons with 14oz of water and some electrolytes feed in mouth as fast as you can after mixing(aids and lubes stomach tract)
On day three i would tube her again with mineral oil, lubes and sooths the track....just me
Take care

Mike Schmit

Brainstorm Nursery, LLC
www.alpacanation.com/bsn.asp
715-962-4105
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moresurialpacas

107 Posts

Posted - 11/03/2006 :  4:28:40 PM  Show Profile
Hi Heather,
As for probiotics i know of no proof working in camelids and rumin juice does work, not that hard to collect. Talking with dr. Evans he agrees rumin to be the best and their are other enzymes and stuff very good for crias and adults. To me probiotics are a waste of time and money just opinion, nothing is better then rumin to rebuild flora, great stuff to use after antibiotics, ect.
Take Care

Mike Schmit

Brainstorm Nursery, LLC
www.alpacanation.com/bsn.asp
715-962-4105
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