Calling Dr. Herriott...

Today as I was drawing up yet another set of syringes for the little suri alpacas, I was remembering all those awesome stories about Dr. James Herriott. The good doctor would be presented with a terribly mysterious set of symptoms in either a beloved pet or some valuable livestock, in his Yorkshire countryside vet practice. Suddenly, a light bulb would go on, and he then would administer a simple yet miraculous elixir--the day would be saved. "Lead poisoning! Of course! She needs a bolus of magnesium!*" and life returns instantly to the fading dairy cow.

I'm looking for a Dr. Herriott light bulb to go on.

The boys are hanging tough - still wobbly, but eating, drinking and handling all other necessary bodily functions. I got more counsel today from another long-time alpaca breeder; the current best theory is a thiamine deficiency. A big dose of thiamine, and we should be able to see pretty quickly if that was the problem. Trouble is, straight thiamine is not available over the counter, and again, vets aren't at work until tomorrow. I was able to get a B Complex solution over the counter, but the proportion of thiamine it contains is low. But it's the best I have right now, so out I marched with DH to give the boys the biggest dose I dared, firing into the dark.

After we gave the shots (getting our technique better each time) I ran to the store for more syringes and needles hoping for a dramatic change. When I got back, I did my evening chores, and watched the little guys for any sign of improvement. They're still wobbly, but I squinted and tried to believe the wobbles were less pronounced than before. They also look like they may be having trouble seeing (a symptom of thiamine deficiency) but it could be that they are just not coordinated and running into stuff a little. Still eating and all that. In the meantime, I'm sure the little boys feel like voodoo dolls or pin cushions. I hope they don't hold grudges against me for all the holes I've poked into them.

Tomorrow I will track down straight thiamine if it takes all day. I'm praying for the Herriott miracle.
*I made that up. Don't try this at home.


  1. I think it is a good sign that they are eating, drinking and eliminating. I hope the vet can give you some answers tomorrow.

  2. Anonymous8:52 PM

    I'm with Liz. Eating-drinking-eliminating is good. I'm still hung up on the fact that this is ONLY affecting the Suris, but it could be as we discussed, they hang out in a different place - ate something different, etc. Wonder how long it takes mushrooms to get out of your system? With all the rain we've had.... I'm there if you need me, and I'll bring my stash of syringes!

  3. Thanks, Mary. I'm going to call Dr. L first thing in the morning. I may take him a fecal and see if he'll give me Thiamine. This is puzzling all of us. Left A.M. a message, but haven't heard back.

  4. Terri9:49 PM

    Cindy, now that you mention blindness - this happened to one of my goats several years ago. A shot from the vet cleared it up quickly. I'm sorry I can't remember for sure but I think it was thiamine. So looks like you're on the right track and all will be well tomorrow.

  5. I'm holding y'all close in my heart and prayers, Cindy. God bless your loving care of "the boys." AuntiE

  6. Anonymous9:22 AM

    Cindy - You and your alpacas are in my prayers. Let us know what you find out. Alpacamama

  7. Anonymous1:38 PM

    Gosh, I stopped reading for a few days and fell way behind! I used to read Dr. Herriott all the time when I was little! I am hoping that your remedies are starting to work!


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