Sick Cria : Labored Breathing/Difficulty Standing 

Dr. Ruthanne McCaslin, DVM is an experienced alpaca veterinarian and breeder. Ask her your questions about alpaca healthcare and nutrition.
Maryalma
Posts: 1

10/23/2014
Maryalma
Posts: 1
Dr. Ruthanne,

We've had alpacas for about 8 years or so and have never really had to deal with this yet surprisingly. We have a probably 4 month old female cria who I noticed yesterday seemed a bit sluggish...slow to join the herd when they move, not very perky. Nothing too unusual. But today I found her laying on her side and not responsive to my prodding her to get up. It quickly became apparent that some sort of internal discomfort existed and she sounded very much in pain when I tried to get her up. She couldn't even really stand. She could cush upright if I put her that way, but usually ended up on her side again. When she was cushed upright here breathing was a bit more normal, but when on her side she especially had very labored sounding breathing, though it didn't seem rapid at all, again indicating she was in some kind of pain I think.

What I did was take her temp, and that seemed fairly normal: 102.3. So it wouldn't seem she had any sort of infection anywhere, which seems like good news. Then I gave her a few ounces of mineral oil in case she had some kind of bloat. I also gave her a little baking soda in case there was some sort of imbalance in her rumen. Then since I had it, I gave her some Nutri-drench just to try to perk her up a little. I also gave her some electrolytes in case she hadn't drank in a while. That's all I have done with her thus far. I don't know if any of that will do anything, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to start.

Since she wasn't getting up on her own, and I don't know if she will be able to, I grabbed her and put her in the barn. I stood her up right next to the water tub and actually at that time she was able to stand and started drinking water which was great. Her appetite for that was good and she seemed to drink a fair amount. She even walked around a little, though very very slowly and like she was walking on eggshells with her back perked up a little like she couldn't stretch out and walk normal because of the pain. We even saw her poop, and the pellets seemed just fine. It was getting dark, but I don't think I saw her pee at all. So all in all there were some good things there with her walking a little and drinking and defecating normally, normal temp etc.

I'll check her tomorrow first thing, but like I said, we've owned alpacas for about 8 years now and we've never had a cria not be able to get up like that, but at the same time not have a temp or anything, at least so far there is not temp. Seems real odd. I'm not a vet, but even though I treated her for possible bloat, considering she seemed sluggish for a day or so before she went down, I wouldn't think it would be bloat, so I don't know what else it could be. All the alpacas as out on pasture. Maybe she got into eating a patch of something bad? Snake-bite? Something twisted inside of her? I dunno. Might seem like I am over-reacting, but again, I mean, she was DOWN and very much in pain. There are some good signs, but its curious. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks for you time!
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