Thursday 16 August 2012

Alpaca Pregnany Induction

This is going to be a blog sandwich...I have started with a pretty photo of Adelle so that other bloggers don't have the next gruesome photo on their reading list...I am going to finish with a cria photo...but the bit in the middle is not pleasant I suggest that you skip this blog if not an alpaca breeder.

Adelle looking as pretty as ever.

Yesterday was not a good day. Some of you may recall that the lovely Lucie had a small prolapse at 366-days gestation. We managed to attach a spoon device (using lot of string) to hold this in, and with the aid of anti-inflammatories and antibiotics things seemed to have resolved by the time the spoon fell out.

However, a couple of days ago the problem recurred. At this point she was 376-days gestation. The spoon did work, but we had problems keeping it in place (normally sheep are in full fleece and there is somewhere to tie it to) It was suggested that she was stitched, and at the first signs of labour this was to be undone. However, I wasn't sure about this. Firstly she has looked like she is going in to labour for days, and secondly Paul was away so I was going to be on my own.

 But something needed to be done. As you can see in the photo; Lucie's tail was rubbing on the prolapse, it was getting dirty and attracting flies. She was having continued antibiotics but I felt that we were putting Lucie at risk.

Lucie's prolapse.

So after spending all night deliberating, we decided to have her induced. This was my call and I knew that their were risks involved so it was a difficult decision.


The cria is under developed - I thought this unlikely at 377 days

The placenta is retained - this is a known risk and we had Oxytocin pessaries and injections ready.

The Mothers milk does not drop - Lucie was bagged up and we have colostrum and plasma at hand

Dystocia - this a problem we had with 2 maidens who went over 365 days last year - we lost both cria so a risk anyway.

Lucie was induced at 12.15 on Tuesday. We were told to expect to wait 24-36 hours for her to go into labour. She went into labour at 18.00 hours yesterday. Amanda was here to help thankfully, as we realised things weren't progressing. I felt inside and couldn't locate the second leg and the cria felt huge. The vet was called (unfortunately the do not live close by). It was a struggle as the leg was well back and the shoulders were so large (Lucie was found to have a fairly narrow birthing canal). Unfortunately the cria was still born, dead less than an hour.

Now we have gone over and over this. Was the dystocia due to the induction? Or would this have happened anyway (as happened last year with overdue maidens). The vet said if the cria had been left to grow any bigger she wouldn't have been able to birth it at all. As it is she has a tear. I think the big lesson learned is that I have to hone my midwifery skills. If I could have corrected the leg, we would probably have a live cria. The after birth was passed without problem and she is on long acting antibiotics. Would I induce again? I don't think that I would dare to take the risk.

Poor Lucie. The vet thinks that she maybe at risk of prolapsing again if pregnant. It is a difficult one as alpacas do seem to get over their loss much better when remated. Our farmer friend has suggested leaving a little thigh fleece on for next year, so there is somewhere to tie the spoon if it does happen. This maybe the best solution for her. We will see how she does.

Lastly on a happier note...what a difference...Lexus at 2 months-old and Paulo at 2 weeks!

Beck Brow Paulo and Lexus


  1. Hi Barbara

    Sorry for your loss.

    If its any consolation, we had a female that would slight prolapse 2 years running with no intervention other than making her get up and move around. It went back in most times but if it didnt, we would poke it back in. Antibiotics are a good idea.
    she hasnt done it since and she does produce big babies and is smaller in stature herself.

    I hope you girl recovers from her tear. They in themselves can be a problem.

    I dont think you could have done anything different. If you didnt induce you would have probably had a dead mother and cria. By inducing, you have a dead cria but this still could have happened if you got it out alive. I think you did the right thing.


    Sharon Warland
    Waradene Alpacas

  2. Sorry to hear the news about Lucie. I agree with Sharon,I think you did the right thing and what we would have done (and also possibly have considered a c-section). Cria can simply get to big to be born easily and too big to move into the correct position for birthing, especially in a maiden. I believe the dystocia was due to the length of gestation/size, not the induction. I was talking with an American breeder who regularly induces at over 360-days. Fingers crossed she recovers from the tear - one of our girls went on to have a further three stunning cria after her c-section and has proved to be very resilient.

  3. Sad news, it doesn't sound as though you could have done anything differently this time, and you probably have saved poor Lucie's life. Hugs all round from Andy and me.

  4. Really sorry to hear this, you did everything you could, we had one with a slight prolapse who has been fine every year since.

  5. Sorry to hear that Barbara, thanks for sharing the experience with us. Dave.

  6. Many thanks for your comments everyone. This has helped us in our decision not to remove Lucie from our breeding programme. She is a beautiful EPC Top Account of Fowberry daughter with the most endearing temperament.

    With hindsight Jenny, we would now do a c-section, but at the time (not knowing the position of the cria) it seemed the most invasive of the two options. It's all a learning curve!

  7. Sorry to hear your news. It sounds as though you did all you could for her. Interesting reading about long gestations as we had a 370 last year but, luckily, the cria was small...we didn't see it born and always felt that something went wrong during the delivery, so maybe log gestations should rise up our "things to worry about!" list?!

  8. Sorry to hear about Lucie, hope she recovers well.

  9. Really sorry about your loss Barabra, but thankyou for sharing it with us , we will all face similar dilemmas at some stage and other peoples experiences do help. Personally , I would have done the same - we live and learn

  10. I am very, very sorry Barbara. What a sad end. For me putting legs and everything else right is far harder on an alpaca than on sheep - and I know you are far more knowledgeable and capable than I am - so you could not possibly have done anymore than you did.
    Every best wish.