Thursday morning 21st May – Enya’s cria is now guzzling down the goat milk and gaining weight every day. She is a mischievous little madam, who doesn’t like being caught, even if it is for feeding; and weighing is also not popular. We are tired from getting up in the middle of the night, but otherwise, all is well.
Thursday afternoon the little lady is sunbathing, and because alpacas always look like they have been shot when they sunbathe I go over to check on her. She looks tired and so we check her temperature, 39.10C. Not a good sign. Action stations, we telephone the on-call vet from Chase View, and they can come within the next couple of hours. This is fine because Madam is still following Mum around so we were not too worried yet.
45 mins later
The cria is now lying on the floor groaning. She does not resist when we move her and has deteriorated very quickly. Fortunately, when we call the veterinary practice again, they have just finished the emergency surgery and can come straight away. The on-call vet checks the cria over but the symptoms do not point to an obvious cause, so he calls the practice alpaca expert Kate the Vet. We know it is not good when he says she is coming out to the farm, stopping at the practice to collect equipment on the way. Meanwhile, the on-call vet telephones the Pet Blood Bank to discuss the likelihood of getting some blood plasma tonight. Kate arrives, and it is looking like sepsis. The Pet Blood Bank has advised that getting plasma would take at least a couple of days and cost upwards of £1,000. So, we decide on a broad-spectrum antibiotic and intravenous fluids. Kate takes blood samples to see if they confirm an infection and we are left about 9pm with the fluids to give into the vein overnight. Kate the Vet telephones to say that the blood test has not shown anything obvious and all we can do is keep giving the fluids and hope she makes it through the night. We set up a hospital pen and give the cria an extra blanket and go to bed, not knowing what we will find when we next check on her at midnight.
It started raining just before I came out to do the fluids. The cria is still looking unwell, but she has repositioned herself and lifts her head when I come into the shelter, which is an improvement on 3 hours ago. After giving the fluids, I try her with a bottle of milk, and she manages 100mls. At 4 am we give more fluids, she is moving around so much we are at risk of dislodging the needle in her vein. By the time Kate arrives the next morning the little madam is on her feet, calling for Mum, and trying to get out of her hospital pen.
We have no idea what was wrong, or why she suddenly got better. We give her more antibiotics over the next few days and Kate calls daily to check if the cria has put on weight and is still eating well. On Tuesday the needle is taken out of her little neck and Tuesday evening we finally remove the bandages.
We have been discussing names for days. Our initial plan was to use Gin brands as a theme and fortunately, we have found one that seems appropriate. So welcome to the world Monkey47. Hopefully, she has seen enough of vets for a very long time!