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 1. Alpacas 101: Getting Started
 Down Alpaca
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Georgi_cohen@hotmail.com

4 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2015 :  11:31:16 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi there I'm looking for any advice from anyone that has had an alpaca go down. On 5/10/14 my beautiful girl went down and so we bought her into the shelter. She seemed fine, eating, drinking etc as normal. After calling the vet and being told there was nothing wrong with her (bloods taken and tested, all came back fine) I called the animal chiropractor who also confirmed that there was no skeletal issues. We have been exercising her legs and getting her up in a sling for nearly 3 months now and whilst she is still totally alert and eating / drinking fine she still isn't getting up. When up in the sling she will put pressure on her legs and certainly let's you know when she has had enough by rearing up! In every other way she is a healthy alpaca but she just won't get up. She is 13 years old and had a cria this year in August who is fine as we bottle feed him. If anyone has any advice or ideas I would be truly grateful to hear from you.

alpacastarr

688 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2015 :  4:01:50 PM  Show Profile  Visit alpacastarr's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Just to be sure I understand you... she has been unable to get up and stand on her own since October 5? But does put weight on all of her legs when you lift her with a sling for physical therapy?

I don't have any good ideas off the top of my head, just more questions. Once you have her up, can she walk? If she walks, does she limp or favor a particular leg?

What happens once she is up standing on her own legs and you take away the support of the sling? Does she fall down?

When she's down, does she hold herself in a cushed position or do you have to support her to stay cushed?

And here's a really dumb question - are you sure she can't get up on her own? Does she get up to use the dung pile or is she pooping and peeing on herself? (and if she is, kudos to you for 3 months keeping her still healthy and providing that level of care)

If she's really been down for that long, I have to think there is a spine injury or nerve damage stopping her from getting up. I hope my dumb questions will get someone else to chime in with better ideas for you.

Starr



Starr
Venezia Dream Farm
Candler, NC
http://alpacanation.com/farmsandbreeders/03_viewfarm.asp?name=11404
http://www.veneziadream.com/
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Georgi_cohen@hotmail.com

4 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2015 :  4:15:13 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by alpacastarr

Just to be sure I understand you... she has been unable to get up and stand on her own since October 5? But does put weight on all of her legs when you lift her with a sling for physical therapy?

I don't have any good ideas off the top of my head, just more questions. Once you have her up, can she walk? If she walks, does she limp or favor a particular leg?

What happens once she is up standing on her own legs and you take away the support of the sling? Does she fall down?

When she's down, does she hold herself in a cushed position or do you have to support her to stay cushed?

And here's a really dumb question - are you sure she can't get up on her own? Does she get up to use the dung pile or is she pooping and peeing on herself? (and if she is, kudos to you for 3 months keeping her still healthy and providing that level of care)

If she's really been down for that long, I have to think there is a spine injury or nerve damage stopping her from getting up. I hope my dumb questions will get someone else to chime in with better ideas for you.

Starr



Starr
Venezia Dream Farm
Candler, NC
http://alpacanation.com/farmsandbreeders/03_viewfarm.asp?name=11404
http://www.veneziadream.com/


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Georgi_cohen@hotmail.com

4 Posts

Posted - 01/01/2015 :  4:34:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you so very much for getting back to me Starr, very much appreciated!

Yes she has been down since the 5th of October and whilst she will put weight on her legs as in when I put my hand under her feet whilst in the sling I can feel her putting real pressure down, when we lower the sling she just folds her legs up and goes back into the crushed position. Whilst up in the sling she doesn't attempt to walk, but when she has had enough of the sling she will try and launch herself out of it by pushing down, primarily with her back legs.

I haven't noticed her favouring any particular leg to any great extent but I would say her back legs are stronger than her front legs.

When she is down out of the sling she holds herself in the crushed position and she shuffles around the shelter, but only in a wriggling type fashion, certainly not getting up at all. She doesn't get up to use the dung pile, she is pooping and weeing where she sits and I move her regularly if she doesn't move herself to ensure it's cleared up and she is not lying in it.

It's really strange almost like a lazy teenager, I have 2 teenage boys so I know what that looks like!

My concern is that muscle wastage in her legs has now occurred and I just hope we can continue to build up the muscles to enable her to walk again, but she won't spend long enough in the sling to enable the muscles to rebuild.

We have experience of many large animals, cows, sheep etc and have never known an animal to live for so long once they go down. As I say she appears totally healthy apart from the obvious.

I forgot to mention in my original post, we're in the UK and I have a herd of 12 other alpacas all of whom are fully fit and healthy!
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Judith

4103 Posts

Posted - 01/02/2015 :  07:53:21 AM  Show Profile  Send Judith a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Have you tried lowering the sling just enough that her legs are bent and she's encouraged to push against the ground with them to straighten them? That might exercise her muscles and retain some strength. I'd also be administering thiamine and Vitamin E to help repair any neurological problems that may exist. And probably ADE combo just because she's probably not getting sunlight if she's confined to a barn.

I've never heard of a situation like this either, but my assumption is that there's something going on that isn't immediately perceptible by touch or sight. Did you have x-rays taken of the back or legs to make sure there's no hairline fracture?

Judith Korff
LadySong Farm
Randolph, NY 14772
Cell: (716) 499-0383
www.alpacanation.com/ladysong.asp
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Georgi_cohen@hotmail.com

4 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2015 :  03:55:27 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Judith, thank you so much for taking the time to get back tome, I really appreciate it. Whilst up in the sling yesterday she made a little more effort than usual, certainly taking her weight on all 4 legs, not necessarily at the same time, but an improvement in my book. However as soon as you lower the sling she will fold up her legs and wait to be lowered into the cushed position.

She has had her regular dosage of vitamins A,D,E and K but maybe I should be administering them more often than usual. How often is safe?

With regards to X-rays, I'll have a chat to the vet about that, sounds like a good idea. Is not something he has suggested so far, but then I'm not sure our vets, certainly around here, have huge amounts of experience with Alpacas! Do you think that if there was a hair line fracture she would exhibit signs of pain when massaged? In the last 3 months I've repeatedly massaged every inch of her legs and back.
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Gemfire

47 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2015 :  07:56:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit Gemfire's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Georgi , about 3 years ago friends of ours encountered a situation where two males were fighting and one of them got his leg caught in a gate, and when they got home from work they found him laying down with abrasion marks on his hind legs . Tried to get him up and he wouldn't even try , so they called the vet and the vet thought it was meningeal worm or heat stroke . We were contacted , and we took a sling over and set it up and got Little Prince into it .

Once he was off the ground we started to work with his legs , massaging them and treating any of his wounds . He didn't even make any attempt to put downward pressure on them .After several weeks of working with his legs and letting him hang in the sling for 4 hours at a time with his feet touching the ground , he finally regained use of his rear legs and was starting to move his front legs .

About 5 weeks into therapy when they were letting the sling down, he actually stood on his own. with his front legs tremoring from his own weight .Unfortunately a week later Little Prince took a turn for the worse ,the vet was called out again and a wound that was hidden by his fleece had become infected and he became septic. The vet felt Little Prince put up a courageous fight and it was time to let him join other alpacas up in the sky.

Had it not been for the unseen wound becoming infected , the owners felt Little Prince could have recovered , and be out running amongst the other alpacas.

Denny & Connie Snell
Spring Ridge Alpacas
Lakeville, Ohio 44638
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Judith

4103 Posts

Posted - 01/03/2015 :  10:07:08 AM  Show Profile  Send Judith a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
I would be careful not to administer too much ADE. Some vitamins can be overdosed, although I'm not sure which ones (you could check with your vet). If you're giving thiamine, that can be given often and at fairly high doseage since they simply expel the excess in their urine.

I'm glad that you seem to see some improvement and an effort to put weight on her legs. Let us know what your vet says about x-rays.

Judith Korff
LadySong Farm
Randolph, NY 14772
Cell: (716) 499-0383
www.alpacanation.com/ladysong.asp
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pawsnpaca

373 Posts

Posted - 01/05/2015 :  12:43:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Do you have access to an acupuncturist? They can often get a sense of where energy is blocked which might help you pin point where the issue is (and of course the acupuncture itself could be very helpful for whatever ails her).

I'd also try Reiki and an Animal Communicator for my own animal, but I know that's not a route many people believe in.

I lost a girl last spring to M-Worm. She went down around Christmas and the boarding farm did what you are doing (sling/massage, etc.) all through the winter (God bless them). Unfortunately, they were only able to "sling" her once a day and the loss of muscle tone is I think what sealed her fate. She did improve somewhat toward the end though...so keep the faith!

Lisa Cadieux
Wit's End Farm Alpacas
Rochester, NH
603-335-2831
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