It’s funny how you become aware of things, before you realize you’ve noticed. You get that nagging tug at the back of your mind; something is different here. You start to look around trying to figure out what is out of place, what triggered this feeling.
I had that out in the barn last week. I was feeding the alpacas. Everybody was eating. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary,
Then I noticed Inara was eating while kushed. Her mother, Godiva, use to do that all the time, but this was not typical for Inara. She hopped right up when I walked over to her and went to eat out by another feeder. I chalked it up to her just being lazy and left.
The next day, once again she was kushed while eating. This time when I walked up to her, I noticed that she seemed a bit unsteady on her legs as she walked away. I checked her temperature, which was normal, but there was definite tremble in her back legs.
My first thought was PEM, (thiamine deficiency induced polioencephalomalacia). The typical treatment by injection large doses of thiamine, or fortified B complex into the affected animal. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any injectable thiamine on hand. A call to Linda, my vet, resulted in her ordering some for me, but it wouldn’t be in until Monday.
The reason it is preferred to give thiamine by injection vs oral, is that coccidian protozoa, a parasite of the intestinal tract, uses thiamine to reproduce, thereby decreasing the amount available to the body. If you give Vitamin B orally, you’re basically sending it straight to the critters that are stealing it from the alpaca. By injecting thiamine, it goes straight to the blood stream and bypasses the gut all together.
But since Inara was already showing neurological problems, and some Vitamin B was better than nothing, I started giving her tablets.
After three days of vitamin slurries, Inara is showing improvements. I finally got the injectable B complex, and I’ll switch Inara to that until we get the results from the fecal to see if we need to be treating for coccidia as well.