Alpacas are a prey animal in their natural habitat in the high Andes Mountains of South America. Prey animals know that if they look weak, they will be targeted. As a result, they have honed their skills at looking healthy. They will stand and appear to be grazing, but they are just touching the ground with their noses. If you see an alpaca "down", meaning lying flat out, you are usually beyond the point where they can be saved. As a result, I make observation of my herd a priority, and pay particular attention to those with ADR. That is how I determined Eve was having problems, and Edna Mae was developing a serious infection. I caught both before they got dangerous.
Last October, this girl, Nutmeg, was found down in the field in the morning. The picture above is me holding her in an upright position while DH called the vet. Keeping them upright improves their ability to breathe and the intestinal tract to function. Being a ruminant, that is very important.
The vets arrive and work at putting in a shunt to administer IV fluids and medications.
They also took blood samples. Nutmeg took two liters of lactated ringers with calcium and magnesium before she was able to get on her feet again.
Here we are, Nutmeg standing, shooting the bull while we wait for her to stabilize. The young man in the plaid shirt is a vet student from WSU, my alma mater, doing his internship at our vet clinic.
Nutmeg's blood work showed she was fighting an infection, a few days after giving birth. Same as Edna Mae. But let me tell you, we didn't have a clue until we found her down. Same case as with Edna, I had assisted in the birth. Whenever I have to put my hands into the birth canal or uterus to deliver a cria, I start her on penecillin immediately, even when I have washed up thoroughly. It's an unnatural invasion, leaving the area exposed to infection. The penecillin was not strong enough to stop the infection from developing. A uterine infection isn't always caused by germs. In Edna Mae's case, it seems that the uterus has not contracted enough to regain it's natural size, so fluid gathered inside has turned bad. So, fortunately, I observed that Edna was
"ADR" and got the vet out here before she crashed. She will be back to normal in a couple more days.