Arriving home from work Friday, I noticed Moose at the dung pile. Ten minutes later, she was still pushing and moving uncomfortably from one pile to another. I called Granbury Animal clinic and scheduled an appointment for Saturday morning with Dr. Naylor.
Moose was aptly named for her stubborn personality. If I touched her lightly, Moose kicked and scurried away. She is the largest alpaca in our herd and the first to vocalize warnings if she senses a threat. Now, our big girl allows me to stroke her side and tickle her chin. She takes the halter and is led without difficulty. Moose is a beauty with quality fiber, grace, and a big personality.
One of the challenges of obtaining alpacas with no history is not knowing the animals’ health status. We didn’t know if Moose had a fetus blocking her intestine, worms, or was simply constipated.
Calmly cushing (resting on her haunches) in the round pen after morning chow, Jim Bob haltered and easily led her into the trailer. Stopping once during the one hour drive to check on Moose in the trailer, Jim Bob said she was relaxed and checking out the view.
Granbury Animal Clinic is an impressive facility. The lobby is large and clean with friendly staff. The back contains all kinds of apparatus for managing sick livestock. Waiting in a back room, Moose was nervous but calm. Barking dogs, technicians walking in and out, and the increasing heat and humidity would have unnerved most animals. But Moose was a trooper.
In a word, Dr. Naylor is awesome. We met him last February at the Alpaca Extravaganza in Ft. Worth where he taught a class on the dangers of worms in alpacas. He is the only vet anywhere close to us with knowledge and experience of camelids. Dr. Naylor is also a really nice guy. After a thorough exam, Dr. Naylor determined Moose is likely not pregnant. The little bit of poop the tech was able to collect showed no parasites and or worms. He believed she may have an irritation or stomach ulcer.
Dr. Naylor left to get medication for her ulcer and Moose began pushing and struggling
again. When he returned, the good vet put on a glove, reached in her anus and pulled out a large clump. After that, Moose once again expelled healthy beans. Phew.
The solution – Moose needs more fiber in her diet. We will still give her the medication and add alfalfa to the herd’s diet.
Moose is home and happy. Enjoying the alfalfa with her herd mates, I feel relief that Moose had an easy fix. Of course, it may take another six months before I’m deemed trustworthy again. Moose refuses to enter the round pen to eat if I’m inside. But that’s okay. I’m just relieved she is healthy.