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Sedgeberrow, Worcestershire, United Kingdom
Breeding and Selling Quaility Huacaya & Suri Alpacas.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Strange & Sad Love

We had a very strange and sad situation. Its not a recent thing but I came across some photos and thought I would write about it. Especially as we lost the alpaca concerned through it.

Along with alpacas we have several horses and one of the horses, a mare, Rica quite often grazed out with the big boys. She's a lovely gentle mare that loves being with any animal.

Well back two years ago one of the cria we had, a little boy called Galaxy (we called him galaxy because he was the colour of the chocolate bar!) took quite a liking to Rica, it started when my daughter used to take Rica across the alpacas field to her paddock, Galaxy used to love to come and say hello to her.

Then it happened when she was riding out in the main field where the girls & cria were grazing, he would come over and wanted to say hello. We though it was so sweet, and he was such a lovely natured boy.

He was weaned at six months with several of the other male cria and a yearling we had kept from the previous year, he seemed to settle down quickly without mum. Then we sold the three boys he had been weaned with and he was left with the yearling. Galaxy was around 18mnths old now and a big boy, he seemed to hold his own, so we then put him and the yearling in with the older two males we had, as they also were very nice natured. They all settled well together, with the occasional play fight and we never saw him being bullied at all.

Several months later we had to move fields around and so we put Rica in with the boys, and they all settled well, where Rica grazed the boys were never far away (especailly Galaxy) Then one day my husband called me and said Rica kept squeeling but he wasnt sure why.

I stood and watched, and couldnt believe my eyes!! Galaxy was trying to feed from Rica! and her squeeling was her way of telling him off. At no time did she kick out at all. He got the message and moved away and all settled down.

The next morning while I was feeding the girls, I heard Rica squeeling again and he was again trying to feed, and looked like he was nearly succeeding.

The next photo is not very good as I took it on my mobile at quite a distance away, as I thought no-one would believe me!

So I had no choice but to move Rica into the paddock next door, I couldnt risk her getting fed up with him and kicking out (although she had never showned any sign of doing so), Galaxy walked the fence a bit and would say hello to her over the fence, but did go off to graze with the other boys, so I though all was ok.

A couple of weeks later, I went to do the evening feed and called the boys into the barn to be fed, but Galaxy didnt come, he was down in the cush position which I though very odd. I went out and he got up and came in, I took his temperature just to check and it was fine.

The next morning at feed time, he didnt come in again, again he was down in the cush position, this time I had to get him up and manage to get him into the barn, checking his temperature it had gone up, so I called the vet, he told me to keep him in the barn with hay and water and monitor him, and he would get to me about 2pm. I went out ever hour to check him but he didnt move much and was drinking but not eating. I went back out about 12.30 he was still in the same position, but he had diaraha coming from his back end. I immediaetly called the vet again and he said he would be with me within the hour.

He arrived and examined Galaxy, he told me he suspected an ulcer, and did an ultra-scan which confirmed it. This was a critical situation, we had three option, put him to sleep, treat him with everything we could or try to get him to the vets for surgery.

The vet felt he probably wouldnt make it to the practice as it was about 45 mins away. I didnt want to give up on him. So he was treated with everything the vet could give, including pain killers. He said the next 24 hours would tell us either way.

We got him into a warm stable with a deep straw bed, and left him to rest. I went out a half an hour later, he was on his side and it looked like he was fitting. I immediatly called the vet, he had just got back to the surgery and said he would be straight back. But by time I got off the phone he had gone, we were devastated, my daughter was distraught this was the first animal she had ever seen die and even worst he one that she was very attached to.

The vet took him away to postmortme we needed to know what killed him, I was paranoid it was TB!! It was the worst couple hours to wait and find out, the vet phoned around 7pm to confirm it was a burst ulcer, not a big one and he had a full stomach so it hadnt been going on long, and his heart and lungs were fine, and no
sign of TB. We were relieved it wasnt TB, but devasted we had lost our gorgeous Galaxy, you know what its like you question yourself, had you missed something, if only you knew and had done something sooner.

The vet said, its wasnt an uncommon thing to happen to alpacas, and was probably stressed induced. He said it was usually bullying, but I am convinced he wasnt bullied, I never saw him being picked on. And I am convinced it was the seperation from Rica that caused it, but we will never know.

I feel this experience is worth sharing, and wonder if anyone else has experience anything like this?

RIP Gaxaly, you were a lovely boy.

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