Right now in Colorado there is small alpaca fighting for his life. His name is Arkady. He is suffering from a blocked urethra, which is normally fatal for male alpacas. But, Arkady is lucky, you see, because he has some humans who are willing to fight right along side him. His owners are committed to helping the little guy and their vet is willing to take a chance and try something new. She showed empathy for the alpaca and was there to go beyond the boundaries of current thought.
Here is Arkady's photo from a few months ago taken shortly after he was born:
The good news for this Thanksgiving Day is that after 60 hours of painful straining and trying and suffering and tireless effort by his people, he pee'd. We can give thanks for that and we sure hope that his recovery continues.
Thanksgiving evening I got an update and the Colorado Kid is peeing frequently now and seems to be thriving. Yipppeeee!!!!
In North Idaho, three alpacas survived this ordeal, each using a similar protocol of drugs. And, each survived because their owners and their vet were willing to go beyond the normal limits and try something different. None of us was willing to quit. Like Arkady's owners, the Idaho alpaca breeders cared and refused to give up. When told to euthanize her cria, one owner said, "He'll have to die. I'm not going to kill him." Today, he is a strong, active male alpaca.
Each of us in Idaho had the same experience: The university vet school people said to euthanize them. Our vet (at first) said, "I will give him a shot to make him comfortable then come back tomorrow and put him down. You will be asking me to do it tomorrow."
Arkady is a cria, weighing only 35 lbs, or so. Two of the alpacas in Idaho were youngsters, as well, weighing 50 and 80 lbs. The only adult, is Pedro Armendariz, a big herdsire tipping the scale at near 200 lbs. As far as we can find out, Pedro is the only adult male to survive a completely blocked urethra. Here is a photo--
Pedro shears 12 lbs of fleece yearly--
So, for any of you out there who encounters this problem, don't give up. Call me and we can talk about what we did that worked for the three in Idaho and looks like is working for the Colorado Kid. The key, however, is that you must catch the problem early and take immediate, aggressive action. To wait or to be timid will most likely be fatal for your alpaca.
In a future blog, we'll get into the details and name the drugs and offer our unscientific advice on what to do. For now, let's all send our positive vibes out to Colorado and wish for Arkady's continued and full recovery. What a trooper. I can't imagine the pain of suffering with a blockage like that for 60 hours.
All my best,