Monday, October 26, 2015

The Diagnosis

When I received the promised call from Dr. Sabrina late this morning we decided that she should come on out and do a more extensive exam of Took. Rich and I were so sure that Took had a baby in there since she had not only spent a couple of days last month showing signs of  pre-labor stress, but she also violently reacted to Nikko when we put her into his pen a couple of weeks ago. Spit tests are usually accurate in about 80% of cases and have, in the past, been accurate for Took in particular. We watched our Took closely since last Thursday when the vet injected her with a medication that would induce labor and cause her to expel what we suspected to be a dead cria. When she didn't we were worried that she may have a torsion of her uterus which would require expensive and delicate surgery.

Dr. Sabrina, who is a very competent young veterinarian I might add, came out this afternoon and gave Took a mild sedation. Dr. S. set up her ultra sound machine while we waited for the drugs to take effect. Took was absolutely comical, staggering slowly around the barn where I had confined her. Her eyes glazed over and she swayed slightly with each step. She looked like she had been on a bit of a bender!

I held Took, bracing her between the feed trough and myself while Dr. Sabrina shaved a small spot of fleece off of Took's underside in order to provide a clearer picture on the ultra sound. Left side first, then right. Nothing unusual. The vet did a very thorough internal ultra sound next, zeroing in on the uterus and ovaries.

After the ultra sound Dr. Sabrina rolled up one sleeve of her shirt and pulled on the longest latex glove I have ever seen. I knew that what came next would not be pleasant. And it wasn't. Because of the sedative, Took had been extremely cooperative throughout the exam. She exacted a quiet revenge at this point in the exam. Luckily alpaca poo is in the form of "beans" and not the consistency of cow poo.

Dr. S. was able to feel a normal, compact uterus. The final diagnosis is that Took is not pregnant; is perfectly healthy, if a bit overweight; and is ready to be bred again.

Before she left, Dr. Sabrina helped me catch both Dio and Mocha in order to draw a blood sample for each of them. This is required by the ARI in order to register our animals. I'll send the blood cards off tomorrow.

I kept Took confined to the barn until after dinner this evening just to be sure that the sedative had worn off completely. When we released her she joined Mango and little Dio in the pasture where all three turned their backs to us in what I could have sworn was a show of disdain. An alpaca mooning, if you will.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Waiting (not so) Patiently.

Our Took has been pregnant for one year and eleven days as of today. I have been increasingly more worried about her even though she hasn't shown any signs of distress and when we put her in with Nikko last week she violently rejected him, indicating that she is still pregnant. I had called the vet on Monday and she advised me to wait until the end of the week. I haven't seen any signs of activity by the cria in almost two weeks so the vet came out this morning around 10 a.m.

I harnessed up Took and held her while Dr. Sabrina checked her temperature and did an exterior ultrasound. The imaging showed a fetus in there but it was difficult to determine if there was a heartbeat. After some deliberation in which Dr. Sabrina put forth my options I made the decision to go ahead and try to induce labor, with the understanding that we may have a stillborn cria. At this point I just don't want to have to put another mama down because the cria inside has gone toxic and infected her.

Dr. S said to give it 24 hours and then to call if nothing has happened by tomorrow morning. I have been checking Took every hour on the hour since then and four-and-a-half hours later  she is still peacefully munching hay in the barn or hanging out in the barnyard. She doesn't seem to be distressed in any way. I wish I could say the same for me.

Our friends Lisa and Darren were down after school yesterday to visit little Dionysus. The little guy is growing like a bad weed. When Darren, a high school freshman, who is much younger and stronger than I, is handy I have him pick up little Dio and step on the scale with him. As of yesterday afternoon, Dio is 45.5 pounds! The little man is still nursing frequently in addition to grazing in the pasture and chomping hay in the barn. The frisky little guy is always jumping on his mama, Mango, and grandma Took. Mango is a patient mother but Took air spits and air kicks at him to warn him off. As pregnant as she is it's no wonder that Took is a bit testy.

I'm still taking pictures with my cell phone since no one has found the camera that I lost at the Garlo Octoberfest. I guess it's about time to start checking out new cameras.

Check back her or on our Buckeye Star Alpacas Facebook page for updates on Took.