Saturday, November 14, 2009


We are at the tail end, I hope, of a nor'easter. This year has been horrible with all the rain. We feel like we never had a summer due to all the rain! The poor alpacas have been water logged all year since our fields are mostly in low ground. Luckily, the girls and cria's were moved to the back pasture for the winter and that is higher ground. However, I didn't get out there before the rain started and my poor Hope and Spook'tacular got soaked. Not a good combination with the winds, too. Yesterday, it didn't rain long enough for the alpacas to dry out so I put coats on the two cria's. Now, they can stay warm and dry.

Spook'tacular is looking fantastic! He is a handful. I think he is hanging out with Silver Streak and Eliza too much as he is picking up their personality not his dam's, who is calm. Spook'tacular is the strangest cria I think we have had born on our farm. He is so independent. You only see him around his dam when he is nursing. Most cria's that we have had born here are near their dam's alot and cush by them. This guy prefers to be alone or with Eliza & Silver Streak.

Hope is doing wonderful!!! She is steadily gaining weight, finally. I think the antibiotics were hindering her growth. Her body size is not increasing, but we expect that since the growth plate in her leg was compromised. The vets warned me she would be a slow grower and not as large as a normal alpaca. However, the weight gain is wonderful! She also feels bigger. She has some bulk to her bones - if that makes any sense. Her fleece has alot of bundling and long staple length. There is alot of luster down at the skin, too. I don't see much crimp, but once again normal due to the antibiotics she was on. Once again, the vets said her fleece would not be good due to her length of time on antibiotics and other drugs she was on during her first 2 months of life.

We are just so happy to see how great she looks! She is using her leg more every day. She still has a limp. I think she will always have this. Maybe, as she uses it more and more each month that it will slowly get better and the limp will go away. I can hope, can't I?

One final note, we have started posting our alpacas on different websites. We have our website at . We also have 2 other websites. Check them out.

Have a good weekend & Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Hallowen! It was Spook'tacular!

Halloween was a fun day around our house and it wasn't from trick or treaters. Which we don't get in the country. It was from my foundation female going into labor. She started at 8AM with her typical humming and at 1:50PM a gorgeous md/dark brown male cria was born. He is everything I wanted from the breeding, except I would have preferred a female. Otherwise, he is a nice looking, healthy, active male. Dense fleece with long stable length, straight legs and lots of curls. Here is his picture and yes we named him Spook'tacular!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hope's One Month X-Rays

Our vet was out on Friday to take x-rays of Hope's leg to send to New Bolton. I have to say I didn't know that they made portable x-ray machine and how NICE they were. The vet comes with everything - even the iron apron you need to wear. Hope was very patient for the x-rays and the vet got great images. The nice part is that the images can be emailed, copied to CD and viewed right there. We had fun blowing up the photos and looking at them. We also got a CD of the x-rays and the software with the images allows us to blow up the x-rays and view them. Pretty cool, Huh!

I called New Bolton today since I hadn't heard from anyone. I was told someone would call me back later once surgery viewed the x-rays. Dr. Norton, who was one of the vet's on duty during her stay, called to discuss everything. She said there is no sign of active infection in the joint. Great. She said the growth plate was compromised and that she may be small overall or the leg may not grow the same length. The good news is that we could allow her to go out with the rest of the herd, stop the antibiotics and just keep an eye on her leg and weight.

I mentioned her weight. She is not gaining as she should be. This is disturbing to us and the vet. There are several reasons why this could be: stress, antibiotics, infection, or maybe not enough milk from the dam. There is no active infection so that cause is taken out of the equation. We are all thinking stress or ulcer since they were alone for so long and we have been catching her every 3 days and injecting medicine into her. We will watch her weight now that she is off the antibiotics. We will only need to inject her once a week for another 2 weeks with some medicine our vet put her on to help the cartilage. That will be over in a few weeks. I am also giving her probios every few days to help with the stress/ulcer and Vitamin ADE&B12 every 2 weeks. We will see if she starts to gain better.

I let her out tonight. I watched her running and pronking in the field with Silver Streak and Dawn. She was having such a ball! I have never seen her so happy. I was worried she would get hurt as I don't want her to strain the leg since she has been inactive on it since birth. However, I let her run as she wanted. I did notice she started to limp when she was done. I left her out with the herd tonight. Tomorrow I only want to leave her out a few hours and then move her and Bellafina back in. I want to slowly give her time out so she doesn't overwork that leg.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New Herdsire

Yesterday was the Magical Farms Auction. If you don't know Magical Farms is one of the largest farms in the US and maybe THE largest with over 1600 alpacas. They usually place first or second in all the major shows and many times come out with a color championship or reserve championship. Why wouldn't they? They have over 1600 animals and can take their best to the shows.

Anyway, I have been wanting a herdsire all year but could not find one I liked. Then, Hope was born and I spent the money for a herdsire and even future breedings on getting her well. I have been trying to figure out who to breed Crystal and Bellafina to and if we could afford it. I didn't want to put Marauder on my top female, Crystal. He is nice, but I don't want to make white out of my dark brown. I want dark brown out of my dark brown. I was figuring I would put him on Bellafina. Unfortunately, I wasn't sure who to breed to Crystal for this year.

I solved my problem yesterday. I am usually very picky about my selection for a future herdsire for the farm. I want a specific crimp style, fineness, and luster plus perfect conformation. I had my eye on two males at the magical farm auction. One of these males, dark brown, did not have a fleece sample posted on-line so I had no clue what his fleece might look like. However, he did have a color championship from MAPACA (Level 5 show) and a few first place ribbons. Obviously, a decent male. The other male, medium fawn, had a fleece picture posted. It looks nice. It is not the high frequency crimp I have been looking for in a fawn or brown, but still nice. You cannot tell fineness without a histogram or touching the alpacas (to see if you like his handle). I signed up for phone bidding on the two males. The first one to come up was the medium fawn, Microman. After that, I didn't bid on the other male. One I couldn't afford two males and two I only needed one male.

Microman is related to two of my girls. One girl, Dawn, already has a scheduled breeding next year and the other one is a white girl. I can always use Marauder on my white girl and had planned to use on that female in the future anyway. Hopefully, by the time Dawn needs a breeding either Silver Streak will be breeding, Dawn may be sold, or Microman is producing solid cria's and we can exchange breedings with someone.

I do have a fear that he isn't as nice as I would like. I would have MUCH preferred to have seen him in person and put my hands on him. However, with a 4.5 wk old baby just not possible to go to Ohio for a weekend and do an auction. We shall see what he looks like when he gets here. This male has 3 color championships, multiple first place ribbons, and two seconds. Obviously, several judges liked him. We shall see. He will be breeding just about my entire herd once he arrives here. He has already settled females at Magical Farm so he is ready to go.

I will post pictures of him once he arrives on the farm. I am waiting on a call from the auction agency to sign paperwork and arrange transport here. I just hope it was the right decision.

NJ Alpaca Classic

We had a great time at the show. Benjamin was a wonderful baby and slept most of the time. He was a bigger hit than the alpacas. Everyone wanted to see him and stopped to ask how old he was. One guy asked me if he was microchipped and what class he was in. Lol.

The first alpaca to go through the ring was Marauder. I was worried about taking a 2-year old breeding male to a show with females all around, but he did great. His class had 6 alpacas in it, but one was disqualified due to a registration error. I like Marauder because he is a big boned male, great conformation and density. In his class, he placed 3rd. Which I consider great since it was his first show and he is 2 years old. He also placed above a male we had considered buying last year so that me feel good, too.

My other alpaca to go through the ring was my medium fawn female, Cassiopeia. We absolutely LOVE Cassie's fleece. Fawn is a very hard class and is always a large class. Ribbons go from 1-6th so inevitable someone or more than one person always walks with nothing. That was the case with Cassie. We walked. It is hard to say why since the judge only comments on the ribbon winners. Cassie would not walk into the ring without some help so I am sure the first impression wasn't all that great. In his reasoning for the placements he commented on fineness and crimp. This judge liked the high frequency crimp, which I know that Cassie does not have. She has a medium frequency crimp, but it is consistent. I feel she did well for her first show, though. We need to work on her walking through the ring and being comfortable so that her conformation shows well. We will put her back into the ring in the Spring show circuit and see how she does. I am confident she will follow in her dam's footsteps and be a ribbon winner. Her dam only has 1st or 2nd place finishes in over 20 shows and one third place in a spin-off. Her dam was very consistent in the show ring for halter and fleece.

Overall, a good show. It was our first show so it was a learning experience for me. It was also a huge learning curve on what we needed to bring, setting up with a baby in tow, color checking, registration, etc. Atleast, now I am better prepared for the next show. :-)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

NJ Alpaca Classic & Hope update

I don't want to be optimistic, but in the last few days it looks like Hope is starting to bear more weight on her leg. She still holds it up when standing, but it looks like she is using it more and putting more weight on it when she walks. The vet was out to finish my health certificates for the show this weekend and took a look at her. She said if Hope walks like she is now for the rest of her life she will be happy. Hope holds it slightly out to the side and limps around on it or uses it as a balance. Like, I said since then she seems to be using it more. My imagination or real? My vet also started her on Adequain, which is a medication to help with cartilage. She has had good luck with horses using it. I figured it can't hurt. We need to give it to her until the bottle is gone (about 5 weeks). It is only one shot per week. My only fear is injecting it into the muscle properly. Her hamstring is so tiny. We will figure it out - we always do.

This weekend is the NJ Alpaca Classic. We had planned on showing 3 alpacas, but had to pull Patriotic Star. He is just too thin and we felt he wasn't representative of our breeding program. Maybe, next spring when he bulks up some. He has had a hard time with weight since he was weaned this spring. The pulled a fecal and blood work. We are treating him based on the results so I hope it helps.

Cassiopeia is going to the show this weekend. She is a juvenile female out of our foundation female Crystal. Crystal has won over 20 ribbons in fleece and halter shows so I hope Cassie can follow in her dam's footsteps. I absolutely LOVE Cassie's fleece. I have high hopes for this girl in the show ring. My only disappointment is that we have had so much rain this year some of her leg fiber has come off so it isn't as full as it used to be. Oh well. They are farm animals. Cassie has tough competition in the show ring so we will see how she does. I know some of the girls she is against and it will be tough competition. I will be happy placing at all.

The other alpaca is our 3 year old junior herdsire, Marauder. Marauder has never been in the show ring before so I wanted to see how he would do. My only fear is that white is a tough class - period. He will be competing against accoyo bloodlines. Accoyo is usually the finest fleece. We will see how he does. We like Marauder because of his density and lineage. I am thinking of breeding him to Bellafina this year. I need to save on breeding fees and overall cost in general due to the $7200 vet bill for Hope.

I will post my impressions of the show and how my guy/girl place next week.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Everyone is Home

For the first time since May, all my alpacas are home. Now, I have alot more work to do. :-)

Let's talk about Hope and Bellafina first. We finished up a new area for Hope that is a small paddock connected to the back barn. We have been remodeling the back barn on and off for a year now. We originally had plans to make a birthing area with a small run so we could move close due females there a few weeks before delivery. We opted this spring not to put it in this year since I couldn't really help Rob do it with being pregnant. Obviously, having a premature cria changed those plans. Hope needs a small area where she can recover and be observed for a month or possibly more. When we found out we needed this when we brought them home we went to work. We created a small pen inside the barn with panels, then Rob cut a hole in the side of the barn and framed it in so they could get in and out to the pasture. We fenced in a small 10x15 area of grass for them. It is larger than Hope should be in, but Bellafina needs to be able to stretch her legs and I can still keep an eye on the cria easily. Some pictures of the area are along with pictures of Hope are above.

When we picked them up on Saturday I couldn't believe how big Hope had gotten and feisty. She was struggling to get out of the vet's arms and onto the ground. It was so great to see her. I haven't seen her since before I gave birth on Sept. 4th. Last time I saw her she still couldn't get up on her own and was still on oxygen and IV's. We put Bellafina in the trailer and the vet put Hope in. Hope immediately got up and it was quite obvious that her leg was still in bad shape. She puts it on the ground, but doesn't bear weight on it. When she walks she holds it up like a dog would with an injured leg. She also walks like a few days old cria and not a 3-wk old cria. Given everything she has been through it is amazing she is still here and able to walk.

When we got home I got the scale ready and we weighed them. Hope was born at 14.9 lbs and she was 17.8 yesterday. She isn't too far behind the weight gain she should be (1-2 lbs). We walked Bellafina over to her new paddock; Rob carried Hope. When we released Bellafina it was like she was in heaven. She went and just started to roll in the grass. It was funny. Every few feet Bellafina would lay down and roll. It has been over 3 wks since she has been outside since they were housed in an A/C building and stalled with straw/hay. This was Hope's first time in grass EVER. She tried pronking around in it. She fell once, but overall could run around on 3-legs pretty well. We now know why her front knees are missing fiber and calloused. She falls forward on them and puts alot of weight on them to get up. Hopefully, that will get better as she starts to use all 4-legs. We watched her for awhile and it was cute to see her trying to eat mouth fulls of grass. I forgot to check if her teeth erupted, yet. We gave Hope her shot of antibiotics and Bellafina her Dectomax and left them alone. I also decided to start Hope on AD&E vitamin paste to see if it will help with her bone healing. We typically give it to cria's for the first year of their life anyway.

Later that evening, I decided to coat Hope since it was going down to the mid-40's last night and this being her first night outside. Her fleece is dense, but she is patchy in places where they had to shave her fiber. Also, from the stress of everything she is shedding her fiber like crazy. Rob's shirt was covered in fiber and I could see tufts of it blowing off her. At 1AM, we went out to check her temp to make sure she wasn't too cold and her temp was 100.2. I will have to remove it today so she doesn't get too hot.

The other big event yesterday was the arrival of Tiptoes Lightly or Tipsy (as I call her). We sent her to Oregon in May to be bred. When we bought her she came with a breeding. We decided we would ship her out to get some west coast genetics into our herd. The transport guy showed up at 12:30AM this morning with her. I wish he had shown up earlier so I could talk to him since he is really a great guy. He and his wife dealt with a cria similar to Hope on their farm this year (one of their boarders animals). I know that their cria is fine now and they say you can't tell she had a problem with her front leg. He said she was "lame" on it for awhile. Their cria lost all her fiber so I wonder if Hope will do the same.

Now, we have our work cut-out for us the next few weeks. Hope will need an injection every 3 days for atleast 2 wks (possibly more). We have 4 areas set-up to care for - boys field, Hope/Bellafina's area, Tipsy and Mischievous are in the front girls pasture, and the rest of the girls are in the back pasture. We have to keep an eye on Tipsy for disease/worms from the transport, Mischievous needs some treatment for mites, Hope's injections, and I have to work on halter training for the show in 2 weeks. Cassie is pretty good on a halter, but not good enough to take into a show ring. Marauder is good on a halter, but also needs to be walked around to make sure he will stand properly and show teeth. I am not working on having his testicles looked at/touched. The judge can figure that one out on his own. We decided not to take Patriotic Star since he is still so thin. His fiber is awesome, but right now I don't think he is ready for a show. Maybe in the spring. I am going to try to substitute Armani for Patriotic Star if they let me.

I will let you know how Hope does over the next few weeks. I am just glad everyone is home. Hope seems happy to be outside and gets around well on the stone dust and grass. I just wish it was alittle warmer for her.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Getting Ready for Hope

We got confirmation that Hope and Bellafina can come home tomorrow afternoon. Now, we are rushing around to get a space ready for them. Hope will need to be confined to a small area for a month or more. We do not have "stalls" just shelters opened to 1/4 to 3/4 acre plots. We are working on the back barn, which was slated to be the girls winter barn since it is larger. This past fall we tore off the siding and gutted the barn and put up new siding. In the spring we finished running fencing and stopped since I was pregnant. About a month ago, we put in stone dust to make up the floor of the barn and installed a gate onto the shelter to make a herd health area and an area where we can put hay, grain, etc.

Now, we are sectioning off a small area for Hope. It will be the sick/birthing area in the future. There will be small section inside the shelter and then an opening into a small run so they can get some pasture and sunlight time. It is a small area, but that is what Hope needs right now. Right now, we have posts in and will start running the fencing. We need to cut the hole in the wall and finish off the A at the top of the barn. Alot of work to do, but we have today and tomorrow to work on it. They also suggested using straw to help her footing so we need to buy some. We typically don't use straw in the barns.

I have not seen Hope since before our son was born so I am looking forward to seeing her again. It looks like her care is to keep her confined for a month or more (depending on how the leg heals). Antibiotics injected under the skin every 3 days for 2-4 wks. New Bolton said 2 wks and my vet said 4 wks. New Bolton wants x-rays redone in 4 wks to check on the leg.

Apparently, the surgeon didn't want to do surgery on the leg since she was getting around well and trying to use the leg. He felt it would be better to wait to see if she could fully recover the use of the leg. His theory was that they could always do surgery later, if needed. We will see how she does when she is home. I will need to keep an eye on the leg to make sure the swelling doesn't get worse, but I think we can handle it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Surgery was scheduled and Cancelled by the Surgeons

Sorry for not blogging about Hope, but my new son is keeping me busy. Anyway, on Thursday (last week) I was told Hope would be the clinical round focus on Friday for the surgical unit. She was not responding as well to the treatment so they were looking at other options to help her leg. On Friday afternoon, I got a call with my "options" for Hope. These were tough options when you consider the financial and time involved with each option. I was assured with each option that she could still be a breedable alpaca. However, due to the antibiotics she has been on and her premature status she may end up being a small alpaca. The leg will be non-functional and would be used as a peg leg for her entire life. I was told she would still be able to cush and get around well no matter what option we did.

Option #1- Long term antibiotics. Hope would come home in a week or so, but would be on antibiotics for up to one year. I was told that the joint is so far gone that eventually it would fuse together and she would use it as a peg leg. She may still need surgery later.

Option #2 - Surgery. They would go in and scrape the joint to get most of the infection out. They would put in a bone graft from her hip and help the joint to fuse quicker. They would also put in antibiotics directly there while they were in there. This would speed up the joint fusion and she would spend less time on the antibiotics. She would need about 2-3 wks of antibiotics and confinement for 2-3 months.

We decided to talk to our vet about the options. We asked her to talk to the vets there and the surgeons. After talking to her, she assured us either option is do-able and we could even look into herbal remedies if we choose option #1. It was up to us. She said the surgeon is very good and she has confidence in him. On Monday, we talked to the surgeon ourselves and then debated some more. After alot of discussion, we figured we came this far we might as well go all the way and do the surgery. Why spend all this money and stop here. Plus, a year's worth of antibiotics seemed excessive to me. I talked to the vet and gave permission to do the surgery.

I got a call on Monday afternoon saying she would be operated on Tuesday morning and they would call Tuesday afternoon with updates. Tuesday mid-morning comes and the phone rings. I figured something went wrong with the surgery. No. They evaluated her that morning and decided it was NOT in her best interest to help the joint fuse at this time. They said she has full range of motion in the joint and is comfortable with it. She is getting around well on 3-legs. So, they recommended waiting 2-3 days and see how she does and they would do some physical therapy on the leg. Okay... now I am confused.

Today, I get a call and am told she is doing well. She tip-toes around on the leg, but gets around well. She is gaining weight, nursing well, everything looks good. They said today they would move her off the IV antibiotics onto a sub-Q injectable and if she looks well tomorrow then she would be able to come home Friday afternoon.

Needless to say, I am happy that she is doing well and doesn't need surgery. However, I am confused about what changed between Mon and Tues. Also, today they said they think they are on top of the infection, which is contrary to what they have said on Friday. When I asked about her care when she came home, I was told 2 wks of antibiotics (every 3 days for the injection) and then to come back or have our vet do x-rays in 4 weeks for them to see how the leg looks.

As you can see, we have been busy with decisions and then trying to figure out why opinions changed there. I guess new vets came on or clinically something got better. I am not sure, but happy to hopefully have them home soon. Tomorrow, I need to get a stall space ready since she will need to be confined for a few weeks to a month.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hope is on the way to recovery Finally!!!

It looks like Hope will be at New Bolton atleast this week and maybe most of next week, but she is finally responding to treatment. I talked to the vet shortly on Friday, but I was in the hospital in Labor so it was a short conversation. Today, I talked to her in more depth. The cria is doing well. On Friday, they were worried because she was starting to refuse the bottle. Apparently, Hope has decided she doesn't want a bottle she wants to nurse off the dam. They left her in with the dam Sunday night and she nursed on her own and gained weight. They are going to wean her off the IV nutrition and fluids so she can be in with Bellafina full time.

Hope is also getting up and down on her own finally. She is putting her inflamed leg down, but not bearing full weight on it. However, the infection has went from a white cell count in the joint of 250K to 75K so we are finally going in the right direction. Hopefully, it continues to go down quickly. They will redo x-rays in a few days. They are flushing the joint and injecting antibiotics directly into it every few days. They give a break to limit the inflammation from them manipulating the joint.

The lung x-rays on Friday showed that they are recovering and the damage is not as severe as it was. They took her completely off oxygen supplementation last Thursday evening.

Hope will continue to stay at New Bolton until the infection in the joint is gone and she is bearing full weight on her leg. She will be there atleast for this week and probably part of or all of next week. Atleast, she is going to make it and it looks like she will be able to keep her leg.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Leg Infection Not Responding to Treatment

The news this morning was not good. They have been flushing the joint every day and directly injecting antibiotics into the joint. Last night, they pulled fluid from the joint again to see if the white blood cell count in that area was going down. No such luck. It actually went up. The x-rays showed that the area next to it, which is the growth plate, had more inflammation that the last set of x-rays. Thus, it is actually spreading. Not good news. Her prognosis went from good back to guarded again.

They need to more aggressively treat this. They are going to put a tourniquet onto her leg today and inject antibiotics directly into the vein and leave the tourniquet on for 10-15 min and then remove. They are also going to put two different antibiotics into her blood stream via the IV to get it through the entire body and not just the joint. She was getting Naxcel only to treat the lungs/septicemia. They think the septicemia in the blood is gone, but that it settled into this particular joint. We will have to wait for 2-3 days to see if this new treatment is working. If not, the option is probably to put her down. The vet wasn't too optimistic about her life if this new treatment doesn't work.

There is some good news, but it really means nothing if the leg infection doesn't clear up. They have been slowly decreasing her oxygen supplementation. As I mentioned yesterday, her breathing sounded better to me. They took her completely off the oxygen last night and she is breathing fine on her own. Dr. Norton said she is much happier without the nose tube in her. She is also putting her leg down and trying to use it. However, I think that is due to the pain meds she is on.

She didn't gain any weight the last day. They are going to increase her milk again. She thinks that she is using all her reserves to fight the infection.

Today was not the turn for the better I was hoping to get. Will the outlook for Hope ever turn? Is her body strong enough to fight the infection and beat it? I wonder if everything is just too much for her. She is officially 1 week old today and still struggling.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Progess Forward

Once again today I drove up to New Bolton to see my little Hope and her dam. The vet was all smiles when she saw me. I was alittle annoyed with her since she doesn't update me as much as her predecessor did. Anyway, she said overall she saw an improvement in Hope. She tried to put her rear leg down instead of holding it up. She also is gulping down the milk they are bottle feeding her so they are increasing the amount she gets each time.

I spent some time in the stall with them and I have to say even drugged out she seemed better. Her breathing could be heard, but it didn't seem raspy to me like it did just 2 days ago. When she held her head up it was steadier and her ears are starting to be erect instead of floppy. The ends are curling slightly, but atleast they are not flopped back on her head like they have been since birth. She was pretty out of it when I was there since she had just had a dose of pain meds about an hour before. However, I was petting her (I know I shouldn't be, but she is so sick) and she leaned into my hand. She seemed to know I was there and talking to her.

They are helping her stand every 2 hrs when they feed her. The vet was hoping that they could pull more fluid and run today to see if the infection is getting better. She had to talk to the surgon who flushes the joint tonight when he shows up to the procedure.

I am hoping today is a turning point and from here on out we see that she is getting better each day. Hopefully, the infection doesn't spread again. We shall see what tomorrow and the next few days brings. I think tomorrow they are going to do x-rays of the lungs and leg to see what changes, if any, have occurred.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Infected Hock - rear leg joint

As I mentioned in the post yesterday, Hope had started to stop bearing weight on one of her rear legs. They took x-rays yesterday and did a nerve test and things looked normal. They wanted to pull fluid from her joint and test for infection since in horses the septic conditions can go into their joints. Not really normal for alpacas. This morning, I was told that the joint is infected with a white blood cell count of 150K in the fluid joint. *sigh* One step forward and a huge step back. The concern now is to get it treated and hope it doesn't spread to other joints or the bone. They flushed the joint with saline and injected it with antibiotics. They will do this every day. She said Hope is sore and they are giving some pain meds to her. At noon, they are increasing the pain med dose because she seems uncomfortable right now. She said they don't want to increase this med too much because it is also a sedative along with a pain med. If this evening she still seems to be in pain then they will use banamine or another pain med. They don't like to use these in neonates since it has effects on the kidney's - a more serious problem.

In a day or two, they will take x-rays again of both the leg and lungs. Hopefully, we will see improvement in the lungs and leg. They will pull fluid from the joint in a day or two, too, to check the levels and make sure they are on top of it.

Poor little Hope. I hope she has enough fight in her to fight this next infection. Unfortunately, it also means that there is no time frame on when she can come home. Keep this little one in your thoughts and prayers.

The good news is that she is really taking off on the bottle so they will increase her milk consumption. Her weight isn't going up, yet. Hopefully with getting milk it will put some weight onto her.

Monday, August 31, 2009

I went to see Hope today....

Today, after my Dr. appt, I drove over to New Bolton to see Hope and Bellafina. Hope was very tired and could barely keep her eyes open while I was there. She had just come from radiology and had a busy morning. They also were finishing up bottle feeding her when I walked in. Poor little girl. She was shivering when I walked in. I asked them to put a blanket on her. They said it was probably from being on the metal plates in x-ray and it is chilly in that building. Anyway, she actually drank from a bottle today. They said as she gets nutrition from the milk they will back off the IV nutrition. Thankfully, Bellafina is co-operating and they are milking her out so Hope is getting mom's milk. Bellafina hates her abdomen touched, but she is letting them milk her out. When I tried to take the plugs out she screamed and spit and started to cush. Of course, they have been milking her out since Friday so I guess she is getting used to it by now. As they milk her, she just stares at her cria. Poor mom.

Today was the first day that Hope accepted the bottle. She drank the entire contents of the bottle. She isn't stable enough on her feet yet to stand under mom and I will talk about this soon. They said when she is taking 10% of her body weight in milk then the IV nutrition will be stopped. As she increases her milk consumption, they will back off on the IV nutrition so she gets less and less from the IV and more from the bottle. Thankfully, she is getting mom's milk.
Her lungs are sounding the same as yesterday, but better than Saturday. They will retake the lung x-ray in a few days to see how they are doing. Hopefully, it will show less disease. They have backed off the oxygen some and she is doing well with this. I noticed she was raspy sounding when she breathed, but not as bad as she was on Thursday. Her breathing was what prompted me to take her to New Bolton to begin with. They said her lungs sound less watery when they listen to her. She won't be able to come home until her lungs heal so I hope she continues on the right path and they get better each day. Although, I know it will take time.

The new development is that she took a few steps today! However, they noticed she won't weight bear on the one back leg. This is odd since she was weight bearing on them when she was born. They tested her reflexes and nothing showed nerve damage. They took her to get x-rays of the leg and that didn't show any structural abnormalities. The next thing they wanted to do was take a fluid sample from the joint and see if there was an infection in the hock. Apparently, this is common in horses when they are septic, but not so much with alpacas. I should have the results tomorrow- if they could get enough fluid. I understand why the need to do this, but the leg was fine before. I am wondering if she could have just tweaked the hock when she was only using her rear legs to get up and stand. She took several tumbles. However, I don't want to not do the test and then she ends up with a bone infection too. We shall see. I am just happy that she is standing for 10 min at a time and finally took a few steps. She still cannot get up on her own, but they think once she weight bears on that back leg she will have an easier time balancing and getting up.

It seems one thing gets better, but something else comes up. I asked about when she might be able to come home and there is no answer on that. She needs to be able to be off the oxygen and getting up on her own. I am hoping the end of next week. I was hoping the end of this week, but that isn't going to happen.
I am happy to see that her chance of survival is much higher right now. If her lungs would just clear up I think she will be a normal cria and pronking in the field in no time. Praying for the best! I will be visiting her again on Wed and I hope to see more improvement. Until then, I await the morning updates. As long as I don't get a call in the evening or overnight she is doing well.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Update - Star of Hope

We decided to name this cria Hope.

Hope is doing better today and has definite improvements. She is steadier with head movements, standing, etc. Her heart rate is stable and strong. Her blood work is all in line. Her suckle reflex is stronger than it has been (good to begin with) and more coordinated. They are going to keep her on IV nutrition today, but try to add milk to her diet tomorrow. The septicemia is responding to the antibiotics. The best news is that her lungs sound slightly better today. Overall a very good update.

They have been milking Bellafina out in hopes to feed the cria the milk when she is ready for it. Her milk supply did go down due to the stress of the hospital setting and the cria not nursing. However, they gave her domperidone and it has went back up again. Bellafina is one of those moms that will dry up and then get her milk back if the cria wants to nurse again so she should be good on milk supply.

We are optimistic about the progress today. We hope that Hope will continue to improve and not suffer any set-backs. I plan on going up tomorrow to see for myself how they are doing. I also want to see if I can take a few pictures to post here.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cria Update - Saturday

I just got off the phone with the vet. Our little girl is holding her own, but is up and down. The good news at this point is that she can stand on her own for 3-4 min at a time and it actively looking around and alert. The blood work shows that they are making progress on the septicemia, which is great. The bad news is that her lungs are not improving at all. She is not moving air very well through the lungs and they are not showing signs of improvement. She said the outlook is still unknown on whether she will improve or crash. She said they are keeping a close eye on her and at this point won't be changing her treatment. They are hoping she doesn't get worse as this is the critical time period. As usual, no news is good so now I have to wait for tomorrow's update unless something goes wrong.

Alpaca Alarm - Starved Cat

First off, no word from New Bolton today. They said no news is good news. I assume when the main vet comes in tonight I will get a call with a progress report.

Second, I was looking out at my alpacas and saw one of girls alarming at the back fence. I looked around to see what she saw. I saw this orange/fawn animal on the ground and it looked like it was in their fence area. Okay... I don't have a new cria due until the end of Oct and that female was in the back pasture grazing. I decided to go out and see what the foreign creature was.

I found an orange cat cleaning itself between the girl's pasture fence and the old fence that we left as a property marker. I startled it when I walked up, but after calling to it the cat came up to the fence to be petted. It is very thin, but friendly. I decided to walk over to it and see if it would follow me back to the house to eat. I left the pasture and walked all the way around the field to get to the cat. I kept calling to it and it followed me to the house. I got some cat food and put out. The poor thing ate like it hasn't eaten in ages. I left it to eat.

I am not sure what to do with the poor thing. It is either a drop-off or wild. I have attempted to adopt a few kittens here, but they always disappear within a month. My husband is not a big cat fan and would prefer not to have them around. However, I like to have them around the barn to eat the mice since I hate snakes. He would rather have the snakes. We shall see if it hangs around. If it continues to hang around and isn't too much of a tease to our dogs then I will take it to the vet and get it shots, wormed and fixed. Not sure if it is male or female since I didn't look. My guess is our current barn cat will chase it off since she likes to be the only cat. I feel better that the poor thing got some food in it, though. Very pretty orange cat.

I just thought I would post something upbeat for a change. Oh yeah, the alpacas alarmed the whole time I was coaxing the cat to follow me. We were not even in their field or near them. Lol. For some reason, my girls don't tolerate cats very well. They don't mind the deer or turkey's, but those cats are another matter.....

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cria update

Progress is guarded, but she is clinically stable at this point. They said she could crash and they are waiting for the 48 hr crash period to pass. Apparently, they have had animals there that are stable and at around 48 hrs they crash.

She has advanced pnemonia from aspirating fluid at this point. She is also septic and they are keeping an eye on this to make sure it doesn't go to her eye sight.

She would not take a bottle today or nurse so they have changed her IV fluids from a dextrose solution to a total nutrition IV. They said she is a "dummy cria" in that she was deprived of oxygen after birth. She could turn out to be normal or not. Time will tell.

She is not out of the woods. She needs to overcome the infection. The good news is that she really doesn't realize she is sick. They said she is getting more alert each day (small steps) and she does try to stand up on her own, but doesn't have the coordination to do it. Also, after her second transfusion her IGG is up to 1000. They will recheck it to make sure it stays up.

I was looking on alpacanation tonight and it seems that a few people have had "dummy cria's" that are good now. A few did not have any luck and they had to be put down because they never figured out how to nurse/eat.

She needs all the good wishes and prayers you can send her way. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better news.

Pray for our Newest Female Cria

Yesterday was not a good day. The events started sometime in the wee morning hours and ended at 11PM last night when we got home. Actually, it is still on-going.

I woke up yesterday terrified that I would miss the next alpaca birth, which was due on 9/15. Last year, Bellafina went 10 days early so that would have put her birth and my due date within days of each other. Can you imagine being 40 wks pregnant and trying to deliver or take care of a newborn cria? Bellafina has been acting strange the night before and I told Rob I didn't think she would make it to September for the birth. Well....I was right.

I got up with Rob at 4:30 AM. I peeked out the window and all alpacas were happily in their shelter. Wonderful. I stayed up reading a book and around 7:45 AM decided to go out and feed everyone and replenish water since I had a Dr. appt's and needed to leave. Normally, I was going out much later in the morning to do this. I took care of my boys and grabbed grain to head to the girl's field. I noticed when I looked over to the field that I was missing 3 alpacas. Okay, so 3 decided to stay in the barn instead of going out to graze that morning.

I walked up to the girls shelter and 2 of the girls ran off. That left 2 in the barn - Bellafina and a newborn cria. Holy crap. I was thinking it was a month early, but it was only 19 days early. However, this poor thing had been born hours before. The sac was dried on its body and still covered its nose/mouth. Thankfully, it had broke and the cria was getting oxygen somehow. It was cushed and shaking. We have been leaving the fans on all night because of the temps/humidity. I immediately turned them off. Locked Bellafina and her cria in and then took off the dried sac. I then ran into the house to get my cria kit, which wasn't even prepared yet! Can you see a 38 wk pregnant woman running?

After grabbing the kit, some towels, my hair dryer, cell phone, and making solution to dip the umbilical cord I went back out. On my way, I tried to call the vet whose message said she was out of town. Wonderful. :-( I then called a local farm to ask for their assistance. Luck was on my side because her husband, Rich, could help me out. He said once he finished his chores he would head over. I also called our mentoring farm who told me they had a cria born that early and it was okay and not to panic or put myself into labor. At this point, Peggy (Rich's wife) called me back to say that Tanya was indeed off vacation and to leave her a message. I did.

I then proceeded to dry the cria off by toweling her dry and using the hair dryer. I also tried a temp, but my thermometer said "Low". Never had that happen before. I tried to syringe in some Karo syrup too to jump start her. Rich showed up and he got his thermometer and her temp was at 91 degrees. WAY TOO LOW. While he made a hay bed, I came into the house to get bags filled with warn/hot water. I went back out and we packed the cria in the hay bed with the water bags and a blanket over her. We also ran the hair dryer a few times under the blanket. She was shaking pretty bad. Her temp was slowing going up at 1-1.5 degrees per 30 min. Good, but not quick enough.

I had some powder colostrum so I came into the house to make up a batch of that. During this time, I had talked to my vet and after her 10AM appt she was heading over once she located some plasma to do a transfusion. My pet sitter, Megan, also showed up to help us out. Needless to say, I cancelled my dr. appts. Rich and I were talking about what to do. He offered his trailer up so we could take mom and cria to New Bolton, if needed. I agreed so he left to get his trailer. Megan kept an eye on the cria while I ran into the house to get dressed- just in case we ended up driving to New Bolton. The cria was not doing very well. While I was in the house, her breathing was getting erratic. I told Megan to start rubbing her chest and neck to get some blood moving. It seemed once she laid her head down she had trouble breathing. The good news is that she could keep herself cushed and she would try to get up. However, her legs wouldn't support her.

I will mention she is very premature. Her ears are floppy, no teeth erupted and lack of muscle control. She did weigh 14.9 lbs, which is a healthy sized cria.

Rich showed up with his trailer and the vet was right behind her. We actually had 2 vets. They have a new vet training that came also to help Tanya out and learn about the alpacas. Rich grabbed the cria and I took Bellafina and we walked them up to the trailer to be worked on. Everyone was fabulous. Rich held the cria while the vet did her stuff. I grabbed supplies as she needed them. The cria was tube feed 4 oz of the powder colostrum I had made and 1/4 tablet of kerfate. It was also shaved for the transfusion (my vet does it through the abdomen and not via IV) and the transfusion was started. After which, the cria got a shot of Naxcel. We put her down to rest and be with mom.

At this point, Rich and Megan left along with the second vet. Tanya gave me a list if instructions and said if I couldn't do it then we should think of New Bolton, but it would be a $3-5K vet bill for the 24 hr care. We decided to do it on our own. Feeding every 2 hrs by tubing, naxcel 4x/day, kerafate 3x/day and keeping a close eye on her. She did try to get up a few times and within hours of the transfusion looked much better.

Around 1:30PM, I tried to tube her and couldn't tell if I was doing it right. I tried to bottle feed her and she wouldn't take the bottle because her suck reflex isn't quite strong enough. Rob finally came home and we tried. Finally got it. At this point, I also had Rich back over to help too. I had to get her fed or the vet said we would lose ground. Another 2 oz in her. I headed off to try to find some smaller nipples, buy whole milk and yogurt. I got home around 5:30 PM. When I looked in she was mouth breathing. Not good at all. I got the feeding supplies and tubed her again. Another 2 oz in her this time with kerafate added. I kept an eye on her and I was very concerned with her breathing and she wasn't as perky as she had been an hour before. I finally convinced my husband to drive us to New Bolton. I wasn't sure she would live through the night.

I called New Bolton so they would be expecting us and called the vet to leave a message about the breathing and what we were doing. The vet also called New Bolton to tell them what we had done that day so they knew what to expect when we got there. New Bolton is an hour plus drive. We had the cria in the cab with us and Bellafina in the trailer. I was happy to see the mouth breathing stopped once she got into the A/C cab for awhile. However, it was still raspy.

At New Bolton, they were very efficient. The cria was immediately given oxygen and evaluated. They put a catheter in her to draw blood and for future medicines. We were talked to about treatment plans, cost, and basically told it could go either way. We left and they said they would call when the initial blood work was back.

Not long before we got home, the call came in. The blood work was concerning. The IGG was 400 and white blood cell count 1400 (normally 5000). This was a concern to the vet because it means a weaken immune system and infection. They checked Bellafina and she did not have an infection so whatever the cria had was really early and picked up after birth. I told them the cord hadn't been dipped much at the beginning because we were more concerned with temp. She said they are concerned about sepsis (with any premature cria but especially with her levels) and they would monitor that. They had a blood culture going. They were increasing the Naxcel and going to give another transfusion overnight. She said we did everything we could and in a timely manner. There was nothing else Tanya or I could have done. It is up to the cria now to see how she reacts to the treatments. She also said we were good to bring the cria in to them and not wait longer.

Now, we are waiting. I should get an update this morning on how she made out overnight. She seems to be a fighter and has very alert periods and then losses it. The vet said it could go either way. She has alot in her favor, but the two biggie's against her. We are praying for this little girl. We hope you will keep her in your thoughts. She is a beautiful medium to dark fawn female with dense fleece. Everything we were hoping to get from this breeding.

I'll keep this post updated.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Eliza's cria has a name

We have finally decided on a name for our new little boy. My husband came up with the name and it really does fit this little guy. His name is going to be "Silver Streak". I still need to go into the ARI database and register him, but as long as nobody has this as their farm ID we should be okay. I will probably do this tonight. I also need to update our website with pictures of this gorgeous male. He is growing well and is so independent and active. He likes to jump on his mom and the others to try to get them to play. They just ignore him. I feel bad for him because he doesn't have a buddy his own age around. Next year, we should have females due around the same time as each other so the cria's will have buddies to play with. We have been breeding them in pairs.

Speaking of other breeding's, we have 3 females off farm right now for breeding. Two are up in Ringoes, NJ getting bred and the other one is in Oregon. I haven't gotten word that any of them are pregnant, but hopefully soon. I know that two of them should be having ultrasounds done in the next week or so.

I really have to say that I miss one of my girls that is off breeding. Her name is Dawn and she is our light fawn female. Dawn is my buddy. Whenever I go into the field, you can see her running towards me. She always has to be the first to get some of the grain before I give it to anyone else. She eats out of the grain bucket or my hand. The only problem is that if you don't give her what she wants she can get an attitude. I have been spit at because I wouldn't let her eat from the bucket or if I am late getting to them. She doesn't always do this, but occasionally....
I bring this up because last night we didn't do the evening feeding. We had a labor and delivery class until 9PM and didn't get home until 10PM. I couldn't reach my pet sitter so the alpacas didn't get their nightly grain, which really isn't a big deal since they are on the heavier side. I was thinking this morning as I was walking out that IF Dawn was here she would probably be spitting on me for not feeding them last night. Lol. I guess it is good that she is off being bred. However, I do miss having her run up to me every time I go out into the field.

I guess that is all for now. I will post pictures of Silver Streak as soon as I get them downloaded onto my computer. I will also be updating the website sometime this week or weekend so check that too.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Our First Breeding on Farm

We have one maiden female that is ready to breed. We booked a breeding for her to a local herdsire who has won multiple championships and has awesome fleece. We will be breeding Eliza to this same herdsire.

We have had to behavior test this female several times to make sure she is receptive. Of course, we have never done this before either. We have several males that are ready to breed so we took the oldest one, Marauder, haltered him up and walked him over to the female to be tested. In this case, it is Mische'vious a medium silver grey dam. We had her penned up in an area by herself. Our first test occurred last Wed evening. We took Marauder in and he was so excited! He started orgling at her and trying to jump onto her. At first she seemed confused and then finally dropped to the ground. At this point, he is ready to mount her when I pull him off. Poor guy...

It turned out that the breeding farm couldn't make it that night so she asked us to check the female again on Sunday. Sunday came and I took Marauder over to the girl and this time with just alittle bit of orgling she went down. Once again, I pulled him away. As you can imagine this male is not happy with me for not allowing him to breed. He really doesn't want to leave without his dues. However, the well-trained alpaca that he is he is easily led away. Now, it is Wed and if she is receptive today then the farm will bring the male over to breed. So, once again I take Marauder over and this time she drops even faster. As I am leading Marauder away he decides he doesn't want to go and cushes in the middle of the field. Lol. With alittle bit of tugging on the lead he finally gets up and follows me out. We feel quite bad for him, but right now we don't have a female we want to breed to him. He is white and we don't have any white females we want to breed. In the meantime, he is our behavior tester. Rob thinks it is cruel to tease the guy like this.

Once we confirmed she was receptive, I called the farm and they headed on over. I was quite surprised at how easily this maiden went down for the male and stayed down. She is quite a handful in general and was pleasantly easy for breeding. Other than the interruption from the dogs barking, the breeding went well. She cushed quickly for the male and he did his thing. We forgot the watch, but it was about 20 min.

This was our first time breeding and seeing a breeding. I have to say it was quite entertaining. The woman was helping the male and making sure he found the right hole. I'm not sure I would want to be getting involved down there, but one day I guess we will have to do it too since we will eventually own our own herdsire and have to do breeding's.

Hopefully, our girl took on the first breeding. However, if not then the male will be back for another date with her. We will use Marauder in 7 days to test her. Poor guy is going to have the most frustrating summer of his life.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Eliza's Cria has Arrived!

On Tuesday, Eliza seemed to be doing fine. She was off grazing with the herd most of the day. Towards the late afternoon, I decided to hose off the alpacas since it was hot and I knew they would love to cool off. Crystal is my water hog. She is a dark brown proven female who has won multiple ribbons for her fleece. She is also one of my favorite girls on the farm. As I was hosing them down, Eliza was standing there as she normally does to get her front legs soaked. Then she went and cushed into the dirt. I took a look at her tail while it was up and she looked to be starting to starting to swell and bulge more in the rear.

A short time later, as I was preparing to paint our nursery I was looking out the window and saw her off by herself. I decided I should go look at her since that was unusual. When I got to the field I could easily see that she was in labor. It was 4PM. I immediately ran back into the house for my cria kit and to grab my cell phone. On my way back out to the field I let my husband know that she was in labor. He came out a short time later. We sat in the field waiting for the cria to come. Since it was after 4PM, I also called and left my vet a message because there is the theory that if labor starts after 4PM then problems could develop - as this is late for them. I wanted to be prepared just in case something was wrong.

As we watched Eliza, we saw the nose to start to come out. Eliza was quite uncomfortable and kept cushing and getting up to walk around. We decided that we would prefer her to be in the shelter in case something went wrong and we had to help her. Rob went to get some grain and put it into the shelter. Everyone, except Eliza went in at first. Eventually, she decided to head in too. Once she was in the shelter area I shooed everyone out while keeping Eliza inside.

At this point, we saw the head emerge put the sack had not broke. I put a call in to our mentoring farm and was told that it was normal and not to worry about it. I also called about 6 other people. We could see the cria's head and one leg in the sack. Rob was getting nervous that the cria would breathe in the fluid from the sack and wanted to break it. I wasn't sure. After some time, I decided to break the sack and see if it would help her get the cria out better. I gloved up while Rob helped Eliza and I ripped open the sack. You could hear the cria start to breathe the air now. At this point, we let Eliza go and waited again. She got one leg fully out and another only partially along with the head. It seemed at this point that she was tired and that the contractions stopped. I was panicking now. I could hear the cria gasping/breathing, but nothing was progressing. I tried to help by pulling the other leg out fully, but could not get the leg to come out. I didn't want to do too much since I didn't want to hurt her. My vet hadn't called back nor had the vet on call. I finally called another vet's emergency number and he called right back, which I thought was wonderful of him since we were not clients of his.

He asked if I was seeing 2 front feet or a front/back leg. I told him it was 2 front feet and that she seemed to have stopped contracting. I also thought it looked like she was starting to tear and I didn't want to hurt her. He said the important thing is to get the neck fully out and to do that I have to unlock the front leg that was locked. He said to wiggle the legs until the one could be gotten out. He said he would call back in 30 min. We caught Eliza again, which she wasn't happy about. I can't say that I blame her. I put on a new pair of OB gloves and lubed up really well. Rob held her and she cushed as I tried to work on the cria. This made it easier on me. I tried wiggling the legs, but nothing. I remembered from our neonatal class last year that sometimes you have to push the cria partly back in in order to work fixing the problem. I pushed the fully extended leg back in. I was really starting to panic since I could see the cria's eyes turning hazy and I knew I didn't have much longer to get it out.

I pushed the fully extended leg partially back in and then reached up into Eliza and started tugging/moving the other leg. I purposely reached inside Eliza slightly in order to get ahold of the leg higher up. After a few seconds, although it seemed like much longer, the leg could be moved out and I pulled the cria's neck out. You could hear it start to breathe much easier at this point and it started moving around. I guess Eliza had another contraction or the cria wanted fully out because next thing I knew the cria come out in one big rush. It was wiggling its back legs as it came out. By this time, Eliza had been in stage 2 labor for 2 hrs. It was 6PM. I was so relieved to see the cria alive and healthy. Within a few minutes this little one was cushed. I knew it would feisty because of all the movement in her abdomen the last few weeks.

We started to clean off the sack and rub the cria down. Eliza was so happy and nuzzling her cria. I felt back for her because I knew that she had torn slightly while I was working on trying to get the cria out. The vet said not to worry about it because they can stitch her back up, but the cria needed its neck out immediately. We were so busy cleaning it off and making sure it was okay that we forgot to check the sex of the cria. We finally looked and saw that Eliza had produced a beautiful male.

The funny part was that as soon as I got the cria out and we were drying it off all the vets that I called finally called back. The one that helped us had his back-up come out to check Eliza over and stitch her up. He showed up around 7:30PM. He didn't see any external tears and said it was probably internal, which they don't fix. He recommended antibiotics and told us to follow up with our regular vet. I am really appreciative to these two vets for their help. My vet, it turned out, was in a dead area and quite a distance away.

This little boy was up and running (not walking) within 30 min. He was looking everywhere to nurse and tried suckling everywhere on Eliza. After 40 min of watching him we decided to help him out. We caught Eliza and I made sure she had milk and the plugs were out. Then I put the cria under her where he needed to be and he eagerly drank.

He is absolutely adorable. He has grey on his ears and a grey spot on the back of his neck. His main body is either a rose grey or medium brown. His face has white on it and he has two white socks on his front feet, although I think they have some grey mixed in with the white.

This was our exciting Tuesday. We have not come up with a name for the cria, yet. I'm looking for something with some spunk since he is an active and adventurous one. This was also our first dystocia and I have to say it is alot harder than the neonatal class implied. When you are in that situation it is hard to work on a dam who doesn't want you to interfere and there is very little room to work. We, thankfully, had a great outcome. I am so thankful my husband was home at the time or else you may have lost the cria. I could not have done it without someone holding her while I worked and as you read I couldn't get ahold of anyone locally to help me. Even the vet I had help me on the phone was an hour away.

In the aftermath of all of this I realize we were very lucky. We got the cria out alive and Eliza is doing well. I didn't think about it at the time, but I am 7 months pregnant. I put myself right in the line of possibly being kicked at without thought for myself or my pregnancy. Luckily, Eliza is not a kicker and did not start. I also dodged a bullet on that one, but we had no choice since I can't hold Eliza (too strong for me) and I have smaller hands than my husband. Maybe our baby will grow up to be a veterinary thanks to my experience while pregnant.