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Alpacas of Somerset Farm

Quality--Selection--Value--Service

Dianna and Jack Jordan
8226 Stoney Creek RdSomerset, CA 95684
530-620-6033
530-744-7474
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January 11, 2021

Measuring Improvement in Drips, Dribbles and Streams

Treating Urinary Track Inflammation/Blockage

By: Dianna Jordan, Alpacas of Somerset Farm

Wisp of Smoke

Wisp of Smoke

The phrase “Urinary Tract Blockage” can send shivers down alpaca breeder’s spines, especially if they have experience with the situation. At the very worst, the condition can be fatal. Full recovery can take a few days or weeks. Days or weeks usually filled with frustration and anxiety.

I was on an extended trip when I received a call that one of our males (11 months old) was straining over the poop pile and only producing an occasional drip of urine. We had experienced this before with one of our males and had been able to turn him around quickly. In that case, we witnessed almost immediate improvement and the male has not been affected since. Although I was concerned I felt comfortable with what to do to start treating the condition. .

With a feeling of some confidence I advised my home team of caregivers to start him on Vitamin C. We started with injectable and then switched to 8000mg (2000mg 4 times a day). Since in our first case there was immediate improvement within 24 hours I became more concerned when the report came back the next day with “no improvement.” I called our veterinarian, Dr. Michelle Ing, for further instructions. She advised us to continue the Vitamin C and start him on an antibiotic (Excede) just in case there was an infection. I kept hoping for daily reports of dramatic improvement like I had seen with our other male. I became more anxious every day the report came back with basically no change. The good news was he was still intermittently dripping with occasional dribbling indicating he wasn’t completely blocked. He was also drinking plenty of water, eating well, and chewing his cud.

I made the decision to increase the Vitamin C to 10,000 mg per day. I arrived home 6 days after his symptoms started. Seeing him the first time was very disturbing. He was straining so hard I was afraid he was going to cause a prolapsed rectum. He would push so long and hard his hind legs would start shaking. He would only stop straining at the pile long enough to eat and drink. He would cush occasionally but when he stood up he would return immediately to the pile.

I decided to continue with the Vitamin C and also added other natural diuretics. I made a mixture (paste) of Dandelion Root, Cranberry extract, Vitamin C and water which I gave to him 4 times a day.

I called Dr.Ing again and explained he was holding his own but all he was able to manage were dribbles and a very occasional squirt. She reminded me that the drips, dribbles, and squirts indicated he wasn’t completely blocked. We were thinking he had stones or crystals that were not able to pass through the ureter. She said she had consulted with a few other veterinarians and a couple of medical doctors and asked if I was willing to try something out of the ordinary. At this point I was looking for a miracle so I figured why not.

Michelle recommended we start him on Flomax which is used in humans to reduce urinary tract spasms and swelling. My only concern was the affect the medication would have on his system. But since most medications we give alpacas are “off label” I figured it was worth a try so we started him on the drug. The dosage was one capsule a day for 7 days. I added the content of the capsules with the paste made from natural diuretics.

Although he was on Flomax and natural diuretics I continued researching natural remedies and found an herb called Chanca Piedra. Chanca Piedra is the Spanish name for Phyllanthus niruri, which translates to “Stone Breaker” or “Shatter Stone”. Chanca Piedra is also still used widely in herbal medicine in South America, it is the most popular remedy for gallstones and kidney stones throughout the Peruvian herbal medicine, and it is also used for hepatitis, urinary infections and as a diuretic. In Brazilian herbal medicine, where it has been used for thousands of years, it is called Quebra Pedra and is an excellent remedy to remove uric acid from the urine and to eliminate stones.

I was anxious to start him on Chanca Piedra but Michelle asked me to wait until he finished the full dose of Flomax. I understood she didn’t want to add anything other possible remedy to the mix so we could try to measure the effectiveness of the Flomax. After 3 doses (3 days) of Flomax we began to see noticeable improvement. In my eyes progress was slow but it was measurable. The slow drips and inconsistent dribbles were becoming short spurts and then 2-3 seconds of a stream. Instead of spending close to 45 minutes at a time at the pile, he was now there for about 30 minutes.

The day after he received his last dosage of Flomax I started him on 2cc of Chanca Piedra 2 times a day. During the next few days there was continually improvement. Spurts became streams and he was spending much less time at the pile. It was close to three weeks from the time the symptoms first appeared until he was back to normal.

We will probably never know conclusively if it was the use natural diuretics, Flomax, Chanca Piedra, or the combination that solved the problem. I do know that Chanca Piedra, Cranberry and Dandelion Root extracts, and Vitamin C tablets are now staples in our medicine kit and will be used at the first signs of urinary tract problems. If I don’t see results in the first day or two I am confident we will start him on Flomax.

I am not a veterinarian and am not giving medical advice. Please use your own judgement and work with your veterinarian. Flowmax is a prescription drug.