Alpaca Infirmary

I've hesitated to blog about this because it's already been a tough week, but I know you can take it, and would want to know. We have two puny alpacas.

Boaz and Micah are suffering from a mystery ailment that has us baffled. Yesterday I noticed Micah wobbling around, very unsteady on his feet. Sometimes he was really staggering, like he was three sheets to the wind. Nobody else seemed affected. I did what I always do when faced with alpaca problems - I called my pals Cyndi and Tim. They immediately suspected a heavy worm load and recommended a good dose of worming medicine. By then, I started to notice Boaz wobble a bit, so I gave him the worming meds, too.

Of course, it was New Year's Day, and all the vets in north Texas had turned their practices over to their answering services. Even the Emergency Animal Clinic was unhelpful, only entertaining calls about dogs and cats. So I widened my search. I called another local, long-time breeder and friend, Amy. Amy wasn't sure it sounded like parasites - her suspicions pointed toward mold or fungus, either in the pasture or in the hay or feed. Throughout the day, the alpacas' conditions stayed the same, so I kept them in the pen overnight and prayed.

This morning, not much had changed except that Boaz was a lot more wobbly than he had been the day before. Amy and I poured over all our alpaca vet books and came up with nothing. Camelid veterinary know-how is very hard to come by, especially over a holiday. So we decided on the shotgun approach: wormers, antibiotics, electrolytes, change of hay. I got more practice giving subcutaneous injections, which is always a little nerve wracking. DH was a big help holding the boys who showed lots of strength, even in their condition. DH also helped me get a better "door" on the stall, since Micah figured out how to crawl through the stall gate the other night. We hope to keep them quiet, and away from the hay I had been feeding. I bedded them down with fresh food, electrolyte water, and a trough full of "candy hay," aka orchard grass. They hay was a big hit.

So please keep Boaz and Micah in your thoughts and prayers, that they can hold on until this ailment either passes, or we can get a vet to help us with another kind of therapy. These little boys are so precious, I just couldn't bear to lose them.

On a happier note, Amy has lots of baby alpacas (crias) coming daily now at her ranch. I got a few minutes to walk up and down the "maternity aisle" at her ranch, admiring all the new additions. Those precious little faces and nurturing mothers sure cheer the heart.


  1. Anonymous9:02 PM

    Oh my! What on earth would be affecting the Suris and not the Huacayas???? We need to find a back-up vet, I think. I noticed when I went by that the vet in Princeton was open today, but I don't know anything about the doctor(s) there. If nothing else, maybe they could do blood work!! I will definitely be worrying for you, and hoping you get to the bottom of this soon!

  2. No follow-up yet!? I'm worried about our guys. Until then, will keep sending them loving and healing thoughts.

  3. Hope the guys are improving. Sending good thoughts and prayers your way.


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