ALPACANATION - The Original Online Alpaca Marketplace

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  Article Authored by: Babs Manion, River Rock Ranch
Article Submitted: January 2002



Stocking Up the Barn: Are You Prepared?

While the cold keeps you huddling inside the barn this winter, take advantage of the barn time! The beginning of the year is a great time to check the quantity of your alpaca supplies on hand, and expiration dates.  

Below is a list of items that should be found in every breeder's supply cabinet, as well as a number of "nice to have" items that you may be thankful are on hand in times of injury, sickness or emergency.
WARNING:  The contents of this article contain references and recommendations for the medical care of alpacas.  This information may be outdated or inconsistent with current veterinary practices.  Recommendations, dosages or other medical information should be verified by your veterinarian.  Consult a licensed veterinarian prior to performing any medical procedures or performing medical treatments.
Essential items for every breeder:
Like aspirin, only it's injectable. Normal dose is 1 ml per 100 lbs. This product should not be used for a prolonged period. Stomach ulcers can result. Banamine can be used to reduce a high temperature and minimize pain i.e. colic, dystocia or injury. Dr. Pollard recommends Banamine prior to transporting a pregnant alpaca. Blood Stop Works good to stop bleeding from nail trimming and other small cuts. 

A regular baby bottle and nipple can be used to supplement milk or colostrum when needed. Some owners prefer the small bottle and nipple designed for wallabies. The pliable plastic type allows the sides to be compressed forcing a small amount of milk so the cria will swallow. 

A stainless steel bucket is the best and easiest to clean and sterilize. 

A cria that hasn't nursed within the first 24 hours cannot absorb the necessary antibodies that it needs in order to sustain itself for the first few weeks of life. Keep a minimum of 16 oz of either goat or cow colostrum on hand. If possible, milk any amount possible from the mother and feed it to the cria. Consider intervention if after 4-6 hours the cria hasn't nursed. Try milking the mother first, then give colostrum. Do not heat colostrum in the microwave. 

Pet enemas should be used or a home remedy of soap and water. Give to cria 6-8 hours after birth. Make sure the umbilical is sealed and dried before administering an enema. Have a clean wash cloth or paper towel handy just in case the umbilical opens and the cria starts to bleed. If bleeding starts, apply pressure immediately and keep pressure until the cria stops pushing and the bleeding stops. 

Always have Epinephrine readily available when giving vaccinations or administering any type of medication that may cause an anaphylactic reaction i.e. penicillin, Lepto, etc. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for dosage. Have a dose prepared or keep a needle and syringe with the bottle at all times, stored in a zip-lock bag. 

Eye Ointment (antibiotic not steroid) Eye injuries or infections can quickly become serious. Permanent damage may result without quick and aggressive treatment. An eye ointment is most effective. However, an eye drop can be administered easily by one person. 
-  Gentocin (antibiotic eye drop) Chloramphenincol, Gentamicin Sulfate 
-  Fougera (antibiotic eye ointment) Neomycin, Polymyxin B Sulfates, Bacitracin Zinc 
-  Neo-Predef (steroid) If any ingredients end in "ose". Do not use without specific veterinary advice. The use of steroids during pregnancy may cause complications, including abortions. 

Hydrogen Peroxide 
Excellent for cleaning wounds and to clean away blood easily. Replace the lid with a spray nozzle. Spray the hydrogen peroxide directly on the blood. Then rinse with water, if possible. 

Iodine or Betadine 
Dip cria's naval 2 or 3 times, until navel is sealed and dry. 

Iodine Wash 
Wash thoroughly after handling any alpaca that shows signs of illness. 

Latex Gloves
Avoid direct contact with placentas, lesions, etc. 

Lubricant Jelly 
Very helpful with a difficult birth. J-Lube comes as a dry powder that can be mixed with water. Any sterile lubricant jelly can be used without needing to be mixed. 

Good broad-spectrum antibiotic. Keep on hand, ready to mix. Freeze any not used within one week. 

The most common needle size is 20x1. It's nice to have 22x1 for cria injections. 

Always have on hand. Talk to your veterinarian about dosage. Always have Epinephrine handy, just in case! 

Probiotic Use for mild stomach upset, light diarrhea, with antibiotics, etc. Probios is the most recognizable brand. Give 5 ml twice a day for crias, until improvement then once a day. Start with 10 ml twice daily for adults. Yogurt can be used too! 

A good pair of scissors can simply disappear when you need them. Keep one pair of good scissors for emergencies. Fiskars makes scissors that have spring action and can be used by either a left-handed or right-handed. 

The 1 cc, 3 cc and 6 cc are the most commonly needed sizes. The 1 cc syringe makes a perfect applicator for small doses of medicine for crushed pills that need to be administered to crias. The larger syringes can be used to administer medicine to the adults. Useful Llama Items carries a special applicator for oral medication. The applicator comes in at least two sizes and is designed with an easy to clean syringe and a two-inch stainless steel applicator with a small bulb-like opening at the end. The special applicator makes giving oral medication a breeze. 

Digital does work! 

Keep clean rags, hand towels and bath towels readily available. In an emergency, they make the best compress. 

Vet Wrap 
An absolute necessity. Use the vet wrap to keep the tail clean an out of the way, It can be used to make a compress. 

Other items you may find helpful:
Check with your veterinarian whether selenium is needed in your area. Give ½ cc subcutaneous injection on the crias' second day. BoSe is sometimes recommended before traveling, taking to shows, etc. MuSe is the same only twice as strong. Therefore, give ¼ cc to crias. 

Works great for patches of dry hairless area that sometime develop on the nose, usually on darker colored alpacas. Comes in either drop or spray. The drop is preferred, as it is less likely to end up in the eyes. Protect the eyes when using a spray. 

Corn Syrup, Molasses or Yogurt 
Crushed pills can be mixed with any of the above ingredients for better palatability. 

Use for animals with diarrhea or suspected dehydration. Can be given dry or mixed in water. 

Feeding Tube and Large Syringe 
This combination can also be used to administer a douche, if needed. Lube the end that goes in the alpaca. The syringe easily attaches to the other end. Press the solution from the syringe through the inserted tube. 

Though many veterinarians say it doesn't work, most owners say it does. Pepto Bismo works too. 

Mineral Oil
Can be used if constipation is suspected. Some owners use regularly with crias to avoid impaction of myconium. Give orally, using a syringe. 

Novasan Antiseptic Ointment
Good for any skin irritation, i.e. munge. Can be used to sooth swollen chaffed area after birth. 

Schreiners Herbal Solution
A non-toxic spray to promote healing repels flies. Spray topically on wounds, stitches or any surgical sight. Great for using to spray after gelding. 

Typical treatment after colic to reduce the possibility or treat for stomach ulcer. 

Vitamin D 
Check with local breeders or veterinarians to find out if rickets is a concern in your climate. Begin treatment with Vitamin D the beginning of October, or sooner if symptoms start to occur, and treat regularly until shearing. Vitamin D can be given orally every two weeks or by injection every two months.

WARNING: The contents of this article contain references and recommendations for the medical care of alpacas.  This information may be outdated or inconsistent with current veterinary practices.  Recommendations, dosages or other medical information should be verified by your veterinarian.  Consult a licensed veterinarian prior to performing any medical procedures or performing medical treatments.