John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-551-7219 (cell)
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The Sick Alpaca

Alpacas are very stoic creatures and may not show overt clinical signs of illness until they are very sick. Any subtle change in behavior can be significant early in the disease process. Signs of a problem can include but are not limited to:

  • Behavioral changes
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia (not eating)
  • Weight Loss
  • Slow to come up to the barn
  • Temperature (too high or too low)
  • Does not get up when you come over (and usually does)
  • Will not get up even when encouraged
  • Not chewing their cud
  • Not drinking
  • Not urinating or defecating
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing

If a alpaca has any of these signs or a combination of these signs the alpaca should receive veterinary attention. The alpaca who is down and will not get up is more seriously ill and should be treated as such. Cattle and sheep which are down can be treated less aggressively with reasonable success. This is not the case with alpacas. A down alpaca requires more aggressive medical attention to survive. Do not treat them passively or adopt a "wait and see" attitude. Many more alpacas will die with this type of treatment.

Never hesitate to call your veterinarian if you have any question about your alpaca's health. You know your animals and should trust your instincts.

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"A stout man in an alpaca jacket and panama hat was seated on the bare lawn, his back to the sun, reading a newspaper. He tried in vain to avoid the glare of the sun on his reading..."

D.H. Lawrence
The Trespasser
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