I have now just about recovered from a significant trauma and am sufficiently composed to blog again. You may know that my favourite alpaca is Bert (short for Roberta) and the dearest, most beautiful alpaca in the whole world (in my eyes).
Bert and I have a special relationship as I have to feed all her cria as she produces no milk whatsoever. When in the mood she enjoys a cuddle and loves having her eyes rubbed - when in a bad mood she can spit and grumble better than most. One day last week I checked everyone and then went up to third field to remove the electric fencing as the sheep had been moved. This took a couple of hours to wind up all the wire and remove posts, and I was very ready for a coffee after that, but as I came back through first field gateway I could hear a very odd noise - a rasping sound which was audible even above the noise of the mule. At first I couldn't make out where it was coming from and it wasn't until I got to the barn that I noticed Bert lying down, neck out and not looking right. I dashed over and realised the noise was coming from her. She was really struggling to breathe and making this ghastly noise. I had to virtually lift her to get her to stand up and when she did she was shaking like a leaf and was back down in seconds. I couldn't think what was wrong with her and there didn't appear to be anything stuck in her mouth or throat but I gave her neck a big rub in case. The vet was phoned but he was going to be an hour or so which meant I gave her the only thing I could think of which was a Penstrep and then dashed home for a hot water bottle (more for something to do than anything else). I left her with her eyes closing, a sound that could be heard from the field gate, shaking and generally on her way out.
10 minutes and I was back and unlocking the field gate. I couldn't see Bert over the rise in the hill . . and I couldn't hear anything. I knew she was going to have died and I was crying my eyes out a I stumbled down hill with a pointless water bottle . . . only to find her up and grazing, perfectly normal and in a VERY bad mood. I rushed to set up a pen to get her in to investigate further and was about to phone the vet when he arrived having rushed to get there. I was so embarrassed - no rise in temperature, no lung problems to be heard - one very healthy, wanting to spit, Bert!
Now the only thing we can think it could have been is that there where two big branches down in their paddock and maybe she had a piece of bark stuck in her throat. Apparently, the gland bits at the side can swell up if there is an obstruction (I think that is what Yohav said - something like that anyway). I had a steroid injection to give to Bert if it came on again - but it didn't. She is fine!
A better penning solution! - After a long "family illness" and a subsequent reduction of our herd, I am back to report a more recent enhancement to Easter-Wood. One of the problems we ...
8 months ago