Our Alpacas are due and so we have been keeping a close eye on them. The other day I came home on the tractor at lunch time and noticed Sapphire on the hill above the road and I could see that she was pushing so I raced in to tell Ged and we drove up to have a look.
Immediately I could see that the cria was dead. Nose poking out and nothing else and so I tried to wriggle my hands in but I couldn’t get any purchase so I made Ged go in. I don’t know how he got his hands in there let alone made sense of what was there. It was all so tight and cramped. He managed to pull while Sapphire was pushing to get the whole head out and some of the neck but then he could make no more progress.
So I had to try with my smaller hands. It was so hard to feel what was what but definitely something was stuck. In James Herriot they say to push it all back in and start again so I tried that. No luck. It was stuck fast.
I had to try small manipulations to try and make some sort of difference and then pull. Finally the cria came out. Ged was not convinced but I could see that it was long dead. Not in utero, but just from being stuck. I don’t know how long she had been pushing for. She is a maiden and this was her first. I don’t really think she knew what was happening, or what she was losing. She just knew that she needed help.
Ged tried swinging the cria around but I knew it was pointless. Then he raced down to the house to get Emergency Essence and Penicillin and to check on our sleeping boy. Thank God Ben was asleep – I don’t want him to have to witness all these still births. Why is it that we have to help birth dead babies before we can have live ones? You can imagine how neurotic we are about all the other expectant alpacas now . . . they get checked almost on the hour!
I stayed with Sapphire and reikied her and talked to her and waited for the placenta. I needed that placenta before I could think of leaving her. She took her time but finally a long almost skin like, grainy stocking came part way out so I reikied and waited some more. In the end I very gently and slowly pulled and the rest came away. It looked intact but I was worried she might have prolapsed with all that pushing.
We left the baby with her for the rest of the day so she could get her head around what had happened. She didn’t leave him. At the end of the day I took him away and told her what I was doing and found a resting place for him (beautiful bright white boy baby). I told her to go back to the herd. But she refused to leave her birthing spot.
By the morning she was back in the herd and I was able to catch her at feeding time to inject her with penicillin. I also checked out her nether regions and saw maggots in her vulva so a hasty call to Ged and then to Pamela for help for the morrow because clearly I needed to clean those out.
Pamela came and somehow managed to get her 2WD over our hill (some people just won’t listen and stay at the gate to be collected!) and we herded the alpacas with some difficulty into the house paddock and then up into a corner where we built a makeshift fence to keep them in. Pamela held the head end while I got into the other with a jar of hydrogen peroxide, a worming syringe and my fingers. Ugh! I hate maggots at the best of times and this was definitely not the best of times.
I had to find each one and get it out. It looked like she had a tear from all the pushing (I know about that!) and the baby maggots were in there so I had to flush and pick them out. Then I found one huge maggot worming its way inside her vagina (OMG!) and then just kept picking them out until I could see no more. I don’t know that H202 was a good idea in that delicate area but I probably overreacted at my horror of maggots. I am squirming just thinking about it.
Dr Google has just informed me that maggots are essential for healing and only consume necrotic or dead or infected tissue and leave in their wake fresh, clean tissue so maybe I should have just let them be and let Mother Nature do her own sweet healing. Clearly it is only my antipathy to maggots which forced my own intervention, and my abrasice techniques may well have made Sapphire worse. I don’t know that she will ever conceive again. She has had Penicillin for almost a week and now won’t let me near her with the needle (so surely she is feeling better?) Time will heal and tell.
Here’s hoping for live alpaca babies soon.