Sad news - Rob and Tammy's baby alpaca, Babycham, died last week. She'd had diarrhea for a few days, but otherwise seemed totally healthy.
Bailey had had the same thing but got through it after 4 or 5 days. We put it down to the spring grass - after lots of rain and warm weather, it had grown rather lush and was maybe too rich. The other reason could have been that the babies had just been weaned from their mothers and were in a separate field. Stress can often cause symptoms like this.
Poor Babycham was taken for an autopsy, and the laboratory asked for poo samples from Bailey and his Mum, Cerise, who had also had the diarrhea. When the reports came back, they showed that Babycham had massive amounts of worms in her system, more than they could count. They were all wormed three months ago, so that was the last thing we thought of. She also had some sort of bacteria in her bowel and pneumonia. How could she be so ill and not show it? That's alpacas for you - they hide all their symptoms until they're too ill to treat.
Bailey's tests showed that he also had too many worms, but only a quarter of the amount that Babycham had. He's now having treatment (anti-bacterial I think) for his bowel problem, and also for the worms. The laboratory tested the worms to see which drug would cope with them best and came up with Praziquantil. All the animals on the farm are now being treated - let's hope it works.
Bailey's Mum, Cerise, is really not well at all. Rob thinks that is a totally separate issue. She was pretty thin after feeding Bailey for six months, but is still not putting on weight. The vet has tried various treatments, but she doesn't seem to be responding. She's getting very weak and a bit shaky on her legs. When she sits down she doesn't have the energy to get up again. Rob has to help her several times a day. We're hoping for a miracle here, but don't really expect it to happen. We think she may have eaten a lot of acorns in the late autumn/early winter. The poison could have caused internal damage which can't be cured. Fingers crossed. In the meantime, Bailey is back in the field with his Mum and the other female alpacas and is staying very close to Cerise. It's almost like he's looking after her.
My favourite photo of Babycham and Bailey. Rest in Peace little one.