Monday, 23 January 2012

Too much sitting...something is wrong with Bahati

There has been no gallivanting this weekend. With an off-colour alpaca to keep an eye on, we haven't strayed far from home over the past couple of days. It was/is Bhahati who has been giving us some cause for concern. We had noticed that she had been sitting a lot but thought that she may have lost her pregnancy, especially as she is often sitting next to the boy's fence line (possibly looking to be mated). However, we spat her off when we were doing the young girls last weekend, and she spat very convincingly. On closer inspection she looks pregnant.

We weren't really too worried, for if she is pregnant then she is entitled to have a bit of a rest. However, on Saturday we felt she really was sitting too much for a female who is not due until May. She was acting so like a female who is nearly much so that I began to doubt myself...I had to really think if there could have been any way that she had been mated accidentally (she has been left open over last winter)...but no definitely not...her first mating was May then she sat again in June.

So should we be worried?

  • Temp 36.2 ...rather cold (although a low temp can also be an indication of infection, we felt that this was most likely to be due to inactivity and the cold weather). We put on the barn heater and laid down some straw, which she promptly sat on (looking every inch like the queen bee!)
  • Respiratory rate 24...on the faster side of normal (possible indicator of pain? However she didn't appear to be in any pain. Chest infection?...I listened to her lungs with a stethoscope...nothing obvious)
  • Heart rate normal range.
  • Body score 4/5 (Still eating but sitting down again straight afterwards)
So possibilities?

  • Possibly a little stiff in back left leg when getting down to cush. No obvious injury (have given Finadyne today and will monitor). Possibly Vitamin D deficient...have given intramuscular A D & E as whole herd were due this week (it would be ironic if this was the case after changing to injectable vitamins from paste...when we had no problems with the paste?)
  • Other deficiencies selenium, vitamin B12? We use a drench containing selenium, cobalt and vit B12 so an additional dose was given to Bahati. However, she did not have obvious symptoms of vit B12 deficiency i.e humped back and weight loss. I checked the inside of her eyes and she had no signs of anaemia (pale) nor jaundice (yellow).
  • Worm burden? She was wormed last month and is up to date with Fasinex (liver fluke) and Lambivac (clostridial disease). However we do not routinely drench for coccidia so we decided to do an egg count. We are fortunate to have our own equipment for testing (we do still do quality control checks with the VLA now and again) and all tests floating and sinking produced nil of note.
  • A stomach ulcer is always worth considering but she was cushed quite comfortably chewing her cud so an unlikely cause of her malaise.
We know that she isn't quite herself, I am sure if anyone else saw her they would be wondering what 'the fuss' was about. Now, the advice should always be if in doubt call the Vet. The only reason that I have not is because I feel that I can monitor her very closely, and I have years of experience as an Intensive Care nurse to guide me. I do feel that she is rather better today but if there had been no improvement or the slightest deterioration I wouldn't have hesitated to call...and may still do so. A blood test might be useful if things are not back to normal very soon.

If I have missed anything, something that anyone else has experienced, please do share.

Since we were stuck at home; we actually got around to making decisions regarding the World Alpaca Conference. We have such a busy April planned it is proving difficult to fit everything in (and expect someone to do all the farm sitting as well). However, we have now made the booking for the Wednesday and Thursday lectures. We have booked a rather nice hotel in the centre of Oxford and plan to combine some wining, dining and exploring, as well as alpaca related stuff. However we have the British Alpaca Futurity to look forward to that will be non-stop is always an exciting time to catch up with everyone after the winter months...that hotel was booked some months ago!

On the subject of farm sitters; Mum and Dad surprised us at Christmas was a lovely painting of some of our alpacas. They had been very good at keeping it a surprise...bringing the artist out to the farm to take photographs in August when they knew that we would be at the Blueberry herd auction. We instantly recognised the cria...

...from left Young Punk Alfie, Beck Brow Quintos (at only a few days old), and Beck Brow Snooty Boots.

P.S Shirley or Robbie...if you read your new blog layout but I don't seem to be able to leave any comments anymore...just to let you know I am still reading!


  1. Hi Barbara, We are having 'issues' with the blog site and when we investigated apparently there is a problem with the Internet Explorer browser. So if you are using Explorer, that may be the present problem (We have no problem with Google Chrome and Safari browsers.) Hope that helps! Shirley & Robbie

  2. The painting is gorgeous and such a lovely memory of those cria when tiny. We would probably consider with your poorly girl, an upset stomach, more so if she hadn’t been cudding. Cudding somewhat mystifies us. It could be the very early stages of an ulcer which from our experience they still cush; only later did our girl have her legs out to the side. The auction itself could have brought on an ulcer. Another female at the same action dropped dead of a stress-related disorder shortly after the same auction, leaving a tiny cria. Our female developed her ulcer several months after coming in from Australia and hasn’t had one since - in seven years. Auctions in draughty great cattle courts are no place to sell alpacas and compounds the effect of poor girls and boys being separated from their lifelong friends. It makes them very vulnerable to illness. We have dealt with ulcers using antibiotic paste and various other things. Something we have used for many years is ProKolin paste just for a gippy tummy. It soothes and absorbs anything nasty. J x

  3. Hope Bahati continues to make a steady improvement,sounds like you have considered just about everything ! lovely picture what a great surprise....fingers crossed for a big improvement soon....Jayne

  4. Thank you for your thoughts Jenny. We will keep a close eye on her for any signs of ulceration. Although Bahati isn't actually an auction purchase, she has been with us since 2008, and is the dam of Pebbles, Pepsi and Poppet. She has had a very successful show record as a junior, intermediate and adult(1st placed brown female at the BAS National Show 3 years in a row!) and like many show alpacas does not get stressed very easily. Actually she probably is even more chilled than Explorer! But it is possible all the same. However, we are feeling that she has improved over the day. Fingers crossed.

  5. Can't offer anything, but crossed fingers Barbara.

  6. Hoping Bahati is improving by now - she is in very good hands.

  7. Fingers crossed Bahati gets better soon, its such a worry and I think knowing your own animals you spot even the slightest signs of feeling under the weather. I do wonder if the up and down weather we seem to be having is not helping. Even maybe the frost? I know we had a problem with a horse who got colicky when we had mild weather then a frost. Hope she's feeling more herself soon.

  8. Hope Bahiti is soon back to her old self. Interesting comment re-the weather as we have am older female who has been a little off-colour although not cushing etc...I just sort of "know" she's not herself, and I wondered if the drastic ups and downs in temperature can play havoc, exaggerating anything that might otherwise go un-noticed. They do keep us on our toes don't they?!

  9. Hi Barbara, How is Bahiti today?