Monday, January 17, 2011

"Fame & Fortune" our special needs Alpaca was down this morning!

Our special girl Fame & Fortune

This morning while doing the chores, Gary had walked into the girls pen first to give them their grain.  He rounded the corner of the shelter and seen our poor Fame laying sideways in the feed trough and shivering. He managed to wrestle her out of the feed trough and to get her into the cush postion.  Fame is a large alpaca and she weighs in at 185 lbs so this is not easy to do all by yourself.

The feed trough that Fame fell in

Fame was shaking. Gary yelled for me (which I did not hear him), so he came out and told me what was going on. He grabbed a blanket and the old sleeping bag. I ran in to see her.  We got her covered up and we both sat down to start rubbing her and to decide how to proceed. She is outside of the building cushed on snow and ice with the wind  picking up. We needed to get her moved into the building and under the heat lamp. I also needed the Alpaca first aid kit, so I could take her temperature. So Gary went back to our house to get the first-aid kit, while I stayed with Fame trying to warm her.  When he got back I took her temp and it did not register on the digital thermometer. I knew then that she was hypothermic. An alpacas normal average temperature is between 98 and 102 degrees. We do not know how long she had been laying there exposed like that. Alpacas retain their heat by cushing in the straw. She could not get up to cush. Also  for their digestion system to function, she needed to be up and/or cushed to regurgitate. She was sounding a liltte raspy.

In order to move her we had to get a blanket under her, with Gary & I on each side to lift and carry her. So I folded one of the blankets and Gary rolled her onto her side, while I pushed the blanket up and under her. He then rolled her back my way and grabbed the end of the blanket. We were able then to put her back in the cush postion. We lifted her and carried her into the building. Then we covered her up, got her a bowl of grain to eat.  She ate the grain which was a good sign. I went back to the house now to get some warm water to see if I could get her to drink. In the meantime Gary was working on warming her up with his propane heater. He would lift the sleeping bag and warm the blanket under it for her, then put the sleeping bag down on top of the warm blanket.. He did this all the way around her several times.

Gary warming Fame
I brought the water back and poured into a bowl for her, but she didn't want any of it.  After about an hour of warming up she started chewing her cud again. She was not shivering as hard.  I decided to take her temp again, but it was still not registering anything. So we kept taking turns staying with her and working on warming her.  She also started to try to eat hay. She still was not trying to stand.  We seen she was improving though and she felt warm under her blankets and on her sternum. She was also under a heat lamp. We decided to leave her covered up and we would check her in a little while. Gary & I went back to the house to warm up as it had been a cold morning. The time is almost noon.  We decided to have a quick bowl of leftover potatoe soup for lunch, then head back down to Fame and the alpacas. We ended up being gone for about an hour. When we got down there, Fame had gotten up and was outside of the building again and laying in the snow tangled in her blankets. Gary managed to get her up again, which she tried to run away. Her legs are still not strong, so she fell again. Gary got her up again and he walked with her while keeping her steady on her feet.  Before long she was walking on her own. We managed to get an adult Alpaca blanket on her as she was still shivering, but she was standing and eating hay.  We watched her again and decided to leave her be. We have been checking her every hour or so and so far she is up and eating. She has stopped shivering. I haven't taken another temp, but that is okay as she would try running from me now. I can't say I don't blame her. Fame is a fighter, that is for sure.  I will keep all of you posted on her recovery.

We are supposed to be under a snow warning and  very cold weather tonight through tomorrow morning. So we will have to make sure that she and all of the other alpacas stay warm by having plenty of straw for bedding and lots of hay to eat tongiht.

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