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 2. Alpaca Healthcare & Nutrition
 Alpaca's cria die from 4-6 weeks of age.
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Circle M Alpacas

257 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2007 :  2:47:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello,
I just purchased a female with health problems. She drinks LOTS of water and has lost all 4 of her crias at around 4-6 weeks of age.
I have been told that she carries to term and delivers with no problems, but still all of her babies have had sudden death.
We thought she was not bred, but when the previous owner's Vet checked her, it was discovered she is 4 months pregnant.
So, I'm having the Vet out next week to check her out.
She also lays down a lot and seems to have difficulty walking or running.
Shots aren't due yet, but am wondering if i should go ahead and give her another dose.
I have been reading thru the books I have but can't find much.
Have any of you seen this before or have any suggestions of what we can do before the vets comes out?
Also, necropsy's were done on two of the cria with inconclusive causes of death.
Thanks,
Candi b


Circle M Alpacas
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Judith

3959 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2007 :  3:03:56 PM  Show Profile  Send Judith a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Candi -- welcome to the AlpacaNation Forum!

Can you give more details about the crias who died? Were they all owned by (or kept at) the same farm/ranch? Have they lost other crias in a similar fashion? Perhaps it was faulty or inappropriate husbandry practices (not necessarily wrong practices, but maybe at the wrong time or under the wrong circumstances), or maybe some deficit in their nutritional program, or a toxicity in the pastures that doesn't affect adults but is dangerous to newborns. Do you have ANY information about symptoms displayed by the prior crias? It seems odd that all the offspring of a female would die unless there was some genetic component (which the sellers should have disclosed). See if the seller will provide you with copies of the vet's records about the deaths. Sometimes necropsies are inconclusive but there may be some information about the proximate cause of death from which you could extrapolate more information.

Has this female been subject to meningeal worm? That parasite can cause neurological damage that can make them unable to rise, or display ataxia when they're moving about. However, usually once they've been treated and recovered, they are fairly normal other than some residual stiffness or awkwardness - usually in the hind quarters.

What injections were you talking about? Routine Ivomec, or some other regimen that the sellers told you to apply to her?

Judith Korff
LadySong Farm Alpacas, Fleece & Flowers
Randolph, NY 14772
Farm: (716) 354-6355
Cell: (716) 499-0383
www.alpacanation.com/ladysong.asp
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Circle M Alpacas

257 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2007 :  3:53:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Judith,
Yes, I was speaking of Ivermec. Meningeal was the first thing I thought about, but her medical records indicate very timely worming.
I purchased this girl as a "challenge case" and the previous owners were extremely forthright about her condition. The past owner and I was both a little unhappy when we found out she was pregnant. I wanted a chance to find out what was wrong with her before thinking about breeding possibilities.
I will review her file again, but i don't think there was a determination on her condition or the crias.
I was wondering if one of the problems might be not receiving an ample milk supply or some immune deficiency that was causing the crias' early deaths.
This girls purchase was a last minute thing, right before we picked them up, so I have not had a lot of time to investigate.
We have always gravated to animals that have had hard lives, so we didn't even think, we just said we'll take her and see what we can do.
I seem to remember reading about some system deficiency in alpacas somewhere that had a lot of her symptoms and was hoping someone would jog my memory.
I am just so happy the Forum is back on line I could bust!
hugs and hums,
candi b



Circle M Alpacas
540-384-7599
Catawba, VA 24070
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Judith

3959 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2007 :  4:01:32 PM  Show Profile  Send Judith a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
My thought would be that insufficient milk would be evident from the cria's failure to thrive and gain weight; I assume the owners would have bottle fed to overcome that problem, or used lactation herbs to stimulate milk production. Immune deficiencies would likely have caused them to die much earlier of some sort of sepsis, I would think. My concern would be something like a heart defect, or other abnormality that goes undetected until it's too late. If that was the case then you'd definitely have to be concerned about some genetic deficiency that's passed on by this female (unless all the dead crias were sired by the same male as well). Hmmm. Interesting problem you've brought us!

Judith Korff
LadySong Farm Alpacas, Fleece & Flowers
Randolph, NY 14772
Farm: (716) 354-6355
Cell: (716) 499-0383
www.alpacanation.com/ladysong.asp
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mec

417 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2007 :  4:08:25 PM  Show Profile  Visit mec's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Candi,

Does this dam have a veterinary records that you can use as a reference? Necropsy reports excluded because they don't let you know what's going on with the dam. If you could obtain a record for this period of losses, you might be able to have your vet consult with someone like Dr.Anderson at Kansas State veterinary school. I've never heard of him turning down anyone's request for a consult.


Peggy Chaillet
Alpacaville Farm
peggy@chaillet.org
www.alpacanation.com/alpacaville.asp
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janechristie

1475 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2007 :  4:15:37 PM  Show Profile  Visit janechristie's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Candi,

Did you have a pre-purchase examination done on your girl, or did you elect to purchase her "as is", knowing that she has health problems? Alpacas are stoic, which means they are extremely good at hiding serious, even life-threatening health conditions. You may not want to wait until next week to have your vet check her out. If she drinks lots of water and lays down a lot, your vet could draw some blood to run a CBC and a chemistry panel to see whether her major organs are functioning correctly, or if there is any sign of infection or anaemia.

Have you taken her temperature, and checked her breathing and heart rate? How does she compare to the other alpacas in your herd? Is her appetite good, and does her poop look normal? Is she in good body condition, or is she overweight or underweight? What part of the country does she come from? In some areas, liver flukes might be an issue, and in others, meningeal worm or other internal parasites. Have you had any fecals done on her to know if she might be bringing parasites into your herd? Did you quarantine her from the rest of your alpacas when she arrived? Do you have written medical records for her, to know whether her shots are all up to date? Have you wormed her since she arrived?

Sorry - lots of questions. Just hope some of these ideas and suggestions might be of help, as my immediate concern would be for the health of the dam, rather than the fate of her crias (even though the two may be linked)!

Jane.

www.thistledownalpacas.com
Ph: (804)-784-4837 Fax: (804)-784-4839

Edited by - janechristie on 03/06/2007 4:27:49 PM
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ard

1789 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2007 :  5:01:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Have you checked your girl for diabetes? You say she drinks a lot and seems tired. I know people with diabetes can loose babies because the baby creates excess insulin to help control the high sugar levels. she has probably been checked, but I certainly would have her monitored.

Robin Alpert
Alpacas 'R Diamonds
15163 W 323rd
Paola, KS 66071
913-849-3738
www.alpacanation.com/alpacasrdiamonds.asp
Where quality and integrity count.
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allamericanalpacas

4245 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2007 :  6:25:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Candi,
Not all necropsies are complete, it may have needed blood and/or tissue sample analysis.
You have a few months to prepare, plan on a high risk cria.
Of course, make sure she's well fed and under a good parasite control regimen.
Once the cria is born, an IgG would definitely be in order, and watching weight gain closely will be a must.

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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Pepperina

776 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2007 :  8:11:40 PM  Show Profile  Visit Pepperina's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I agree with Rick. IgG on birth, sit and watch to make sure cria drinks well in first 4 hours. You could perhaps offer some colostrum (powdered or fresh if you can get it). Weigh cria at birth and then daily. I would be asking about weights on the past crias if possible.

Heart defect would have probably been apparent on autopsy. Something to discuss with your vet would be a five day course of antibiotics in the week before the next cria is due. Sometimes mothers carry a bacteria in the birth canal asymptomatically but this passes to cria as it is born. In humans Strep B is notorious for causing problems. Perhaps get a swab done as a first step.

Keep us up to date as things progress. It will be interesting!
Regards
Barbara - Pepperina Alpacas Forest Hill QLD Australia

http://pepperinaalpacas.photosite.com
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bapackerfan

356 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2007 :  11:33:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Candi B.
I just had to say hi to a fellow softie - I know what you mean about gravitating to the unlucky animals. Glad to know you are out there.
Good luck with your expected cria - I hope you can solve this for the dam. You are getting excellent advice!

Chris Rogers
Whisper Meadows ALpacas
De Pere, WI

A Paca Fan
Whisper Meadows Alpacas
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Circle M Alpacas

257 Posts

Posted - 03/08/2007 :  3:31:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello to all,
This is just what I had been waiting for. I thought I was going to have a heart attack when we got home with this girl. I ran downstairs to pose this question on the forum just to see it was being revamped.........but now, happy days. I have read all of your questions (some of which I had not thought of) and am so happy and comforted that you all are out there!
So here goes,
Peggy, yes she does have a short medical record. Accoridng to that record, 1 cria was found dead but had seemed ok the day before.
The second cria weighted 15.7lb at birth and only weighed only 23.5 48 days later at the time he was discovered. He also appeared to be ok before. I figure that is only a little over 8lb in 48 days and that to me is not very good in itself. I am going to contact Dr Anderson. Does anybody have his new e-address since he moved?
Jane, I didn't ask for a pre-exam as I already new she was in a bad way and I didn't care, I just wanted to get her home. I was just explaining to my husband last nite about how most animals do not manifest and even mask their illness as a defense and self preservation mechanism.
-She is quarantined with 2 other females from her previous herd.
-Her vitals are ok and her body score on a scale of 1-5 is between 2-2.5 so I am giving her supplements including ADE as well as alfalfa pellets and extra grain.
-She is from Ohio. I thought of meningeal and have administer 3cc Ivermec subQ. Didn't think of flukes, will a fecal detect this?
-Appetite and poop are fine with no macroscopic parasites.
Hi Rick, i did have one nec.report.
-The necropsy from the 04 cria is as follows(abbreviated):
"The animal was in fair nutritional condition and weighed 15lbs. There was little body fat. Lungs wee moderately congested. Small amount of red soft tissue(thymus)was noted in the mediastinum, with no thymic tissue along the ventral caudal neck region. Stomach compartments contained vegetable matter. Small intestines contained fluid green material. large intestines contained pelleted feces. skeletal muscles appeared to be paler that normal. the rest ofthe viscera and brain had no gross lesions.
Tentative Diagnosis: Thymic atrophy/aplasia/Myopathy?"
BacT and histopethology has no info. end of report.
-I have planned on have colostrum ready and plasma on hand. But there should be a determination on the mother by the time of delivery.
Robin, diabetes was the first thing that comes to mind and she does wee wee a lot so she could be "spilling".
Hi Barbara, I think that she has a problem that can probably be fixed but her long term problems has had secondary spin off anomalies such as low milk production and an immune suppression problems. Most any illness or deficeincy directly or indirectly impact other systems.
Chris, your words of support are truly uplifting....I don't know what I would do without all of your collective help, advise and support.
I will let you all know what the vet determines and what all our intervention produces.
With warmest regards and much gratitude,
Candi b


Candi b Mitchell
Circle M Alpacas
540-384-7599
Catawba, VA 24070
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Pepperina

776 Posts

Posted - 03/08/2007 :  6:20:18 PM  Show Profile  Visit Pepperina's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Just to answer your question - liver fluke is done on faecals but you have to specifically ask for the test here in Australia. It is more likely if they have been allowed to graze near creeks and streams. Diabetes should be easy to eliminate by doing dipstick test on urine. I have found easy (but messy way) of collecting wee sample is to pen the girl on a tarpauline. Urine will pool - ask your vet for a diagnostic dipstick or if you know a diabetic ask them for one.

I too have succumbed to taking on problem animals. One with bad atopy skin condition and one with fertility problems. After 8 years barren she gave us a healthy cria and has been worth every bit of worry and nuture. Everyday I see her in the paddock with her cria makes my heart glad. The atopy girl Beanca doesnt seem perturbed by her awful appearance and we continue to shampoo her every 2 days which seems to help the condition. She has gone from a spitty standoffish animal to a more trusting girl and we will continue to try and better her quality of life and get this thing under some sort of control.

All the monetary and emotional investment in these needy animals is worth it. Keep up the good work.
Regards
Barb
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janechristie

1475 Posts

Posted - 03/08/2007 :  10:48:33 PM  Show Profile  Visit janechristie's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Candi,

Thanks for sharing more information. How old was the 2004 cria when it died? The title of your thread suggests that her crias died at 4-6 weeks, but the necropsy indicates the alpaca only weighed 15lbs, which is obviously very little for a 4-6 week old cria. Do you know what the birth weight of that cria was, or whether the owners supplemented the cria with bottles? Likewise with the second one - as you mentioned, an 8lb weight gain in 48 days is very small. It would be interesting to know whether the crias gained slowly and were poor do-ers from the outset, or whether they gained, and then backtracked. The necropsy doesn't mention infection or parasites or any obvious physical defect as a cause; more like a gradual starvation or wasting away. Don't know if the vegetable matter in the stomach at such a young age is unusual either. We have seen plenty of young crias nibbling on hay, but the fact that this cria seemed so underweight make you wonder if it was trying to eat hay as a food source.

Really don't know what happened with these crias, but my first inclination would be to get a full work-up on the dam, who obviously has health issues of her own. Doing bloodwork and a full chemical panel would give your vet more information to work with. If you can identify and treat her problems, it may resolve the problems with the unborn cria, or at least identify treatment options.

Best of luck with her, and please do let us know what you find out?

Jane.


www.thistledownalpacas.com
Ph: (804)-784-4837 Fax: (804)-784-4839
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bapackerfan

356 Posts

Posted - 03/08/2007 :  11:11:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Candi,
Here is Dr. Anderson's email address danderso@vet.k-state.edu
Chris Rogers

A Paca Fan
Whisper Meadows Alpacas
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Singalong Alpacas

102 Posts

Posted - 03/09/2007 :  12:06:02 AM  Show Profile  Visit Singalong Alpacas's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Certainly no expert, but diabetes was my first thought as well. I would definitely have her checked for that. Another thought was epi. Does her past bloodwork show her to be anemic at all?

Susan Retzer
Singalong Alpacas
If you don't know the words...
just HUM!
Jacksonville, IL
http://www.singalongalpacas.com
http://www.alpacanation.com/singalongalpacas.asp
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Circle M Alpacas

257 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2007 :  10:30:57 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello Folks,
Jane, I thought that was a very low wieght as well for a cria of that age. Alot of this is 2nd and 3rd hand information so some things are not real clear. I agree, the first thing we need is full diagnostic testing and panels to afford a better overall picture of her system.
I watched her all weekend and she seems to just truck along. I have been dressing her feed with extra Evan's supplement as well as AD+E paste.
Do you think that is to much?
Thank you, Paca Fan for Dr Anerdson's new e-address. I will place a query with him and scan all the medical docs I have for him to review.
Thanks for the info on the flukes Barb. I'll follow her around in the evenings to get a fecal and drop it off at our secondary vet in town.
he may have the glucose indicator sticks also.
I am leaning toward diabetes as it was my very first thought when the previous owner mentioned the copious water intake. I wish my husband glucometers would work on alpacas. I wonder what kind of insulin alpacas need, if it can be bovine, human lab created or has to be harvested from camelid sera........with my husband being insulin dependant I will check and see if it is feasible, now that would really be one bad thing benefitting something else in a positive way.
hugs and hums, talk w/u all soon,
Candi b


Candi b Mitchell
Circle M Alpacas
540-384-7599
Catawba, VA 24070
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janechristie

1475 Posts

Posted - 03/12/2007 :  8:39:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit janechristie's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Candi,

As I'm sure you know, it is possible to overdose on certain vitamins, so more is not always better! Once you know what she lacks, you will be in a better position to know what supplements to give her. Diabetes certainly sounds like it would be worth investigating, and once your vet has more information, they may be able to make a definitive diagnosis. Excessive thirst in alpacas always makes me nervous though, as the few times I have seen it, the end result has not been good.

Jane.


www.thistledownalpacas.com
Ph: (804)-784-4837 Fax: (804)-784-4839
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andesdandies

179 Posts

Posted - 03/14/2007 :  8:46:36 PM  Show Profile  Visit andesdandies's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Candi,

I'm just reading this thread. You're pretty brave to take this girl on! I had the same initial thoughts as others of diabetes, but other things to consider are thyroid malfunction (that would affect milk production and therefore affect the crias' growth etc), and another possibility could be BVD....maybe your girl is an adult PI??? Not terribly likely since she's produced 4 cria, but ya never know I guess.

good luck and keep us posted.

Sue

Sue Zelazny,
Andes Dandies, LLC
Middleport, NY
http://www.andesdandies.com
Where the best way to predict the future is to 'criate' it.
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alan04353

2 Posts

Posted - 03/17/2007 :  3:30:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Candi

This sounds so familiar. Last summer we had a 5 week old female cria die. She was 14 lbs at birt and doubled her weight in about four weeks. She appeared healthy except that she seemed to favor her right front leg a little.

At 5 weeks she separated herself from the rest of the crias she normally played with. She then developed a very loose stool for a couple of days. We treated her for coccidia although a very low burden showed up in the fecal. The third day, she went into convulsions and died on the 4th day.

The very familiar part is that her Mom was treated for meningeal worm symtems when she was pregnant with this cria. She developed a very unsteady gait but other than that the Mom seems healthy now.

Our vet tested for BVD, meningitis and a few other diseases but all test came back negative. I would love to know what killed this little girl. None of the rest of the herd had a problem so I don't believe it was environmental.

Could it be that the meningeal treatment affected the fetus? Candi, do you know if your dam was ever treated for meningeal worm, since she has similar symptoms?

Linda
Blue Sky Alpacas
Whitefield, ME
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Judith

3959 Posts

Posted - 03/17/2007 :  3:49:06 PM  Show Profile  Send Judith a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Linda - I have a female who was treated for meningeal and has residual stiffness in her hind quarters. However, she subsequently threw a perfectly beautiful and healthy cria, who did not evidence any problems. The only cria she lost was her first, who was born several months following her treatment with a steroidal eye ointment for corneal abrasions (after getting a blade of grass lodged beneath her eye). That cria was born with birth defects (presumably from the steroid treatment) and died about 10 days later. I doubt that treatment for meningeal worm could result in the loss of a cria (unless, perhaps, you used the "old" protocol of Ivomec and Dexamethasone, which has steroidal components).

Judith Korff
LadySong Farm Alpacas, Fleece & Flowers
Randolph, NY 14772
Farm: (716) 354-6355
Cell: (716) 499-0383
www.alpacanation.com/ladysong.asp
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Circle M Alpacas

257 Posts

Posted - 03/23/2007 :  12:01:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good Friday to everyone!
I just wrote a long explicative and somehow lost everything while employing the "spell check". I'll try once more
We received the remainder of the new herd last Saturday and had the vet out Monday to check everyone and get blood drawn for various test and panels. The vet stated all the new animals had severe long term malnutrition. She said that just getting them back on track nutritionally with some good supplement, feed and hands on care would make a significant difference.
The CBC ran on Lacy showed everything within acceptable parameters except her Kidney enzymes were a little low. The vet expected them to be very high as she suspected kidney disease or cancer of which was also not indicated by the panels ran, yea! She and I will talk further about additional testing.
The vet did day that Lacy had "rain rot" which is caused by long term wet fleece or hair. It make areas of the skin hard as a rock and you have to pick off the layers and let them breath to kill the bacteria, so i suppose they must be anaerobic. She said horses frequently get this and it is very painful for them when you remove the damaged layers, but Lacy just stood there. So either it is not painful to her or we have not gotten anywhere close to live flesh or nerve endings.
The vet also said that with her severe long term malnutrition was probably what was causing her difficulty walking. The vet seems to think that getting back up to a good weight with proper feed and supplements will make a world of difference.
Her liver enzymes were fine, I ask specifically for the liver enzymes levels be evaluated. I have read if they are not feed properly they can develop fatter liver problems.
So far diabetes, kidney and liver problems have been ruled out
I top dress our feed with the Evans Blend Supplements.
Do you suppose I could increase the amount of Evans for a while?
Would it hurt to double their portions everyday?
What is a good solid way to get starving animals back on track?
They have access to unlimited really good orchard grass.
Should I have an unlimited supply of grain available for just these new girls.
Can they eat to much and get their stomachs out of whack?
I'll search the forum for nutrition info.
I am also posting a new query about another problem girl.
I love you guys and gals!
Candi b


Candi b Mitchell
Circle M Alpacas
540-384-7599
Catawba, VA 24070
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