Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Stuff Happens.....

(Tube-feeding a cria- the mustard bottle is good for solo tube-feeding, I learned this from a Twitter friend!)

.... and sometimes it all turns out okay!

We had a cria crisis on Saturday when Mirian discovered a 2 day old cria in a violent seizure. I had checked on that group twice already that day, and he was as bouncy and normal as could be just two hours earlier. When I arrived at the barn, the cria was still convulsing and his temperature was 106.9 degrees! Vets couldn't be reached, wouldn't you know it was right before the start of the UK game and after regular Saturday hours?

We had a similar situation a few years ago, and short of a vet of putting in an IV catheter, I did everything I could remember to try. We wetted the cria down to help bring down his near-fatal temperature, I gave him some banamine to reduce inflammation, and he got a shot of Naxcel in case he had infection going on. After what seemed like forever (but was probably about 10 more minutes) the seizure subsided and his temperature then plummeted to 97. In fact we had to warm him back up with a blow dryer and cria coat in the warm stall!

The cria appeared to regain strength fairly quickly, but it was immediately apparent that he was now blind. I gave him a shot of thiamine, put a bit of karo syrup on his gums for energy, and left him to rest for a bit. Two of the three vets eventually returned my calls, and both confirmed that we had done everything correctly and to continue to provide supportive care including feeding (Thank you, Dr. Evans and Dr. Lipp's partner who was on call, the third vet never did return my call, and is getting very little of my business any more!)

We began the tedious regimen of milking out the dam (who wasn't exactly crazy about the idea- we had to lay her down each time) and tube-feeding the cria every 2-4 hours... night and day. We gave him as much of the dam's milk as we could get, and supplemented with Vit D milk as well, as we always use.

By the next day, he was much more bright, but still completely blind as we continued with the Naxcel and banamine for 3 days which the vets advised. By yesterday, it was clear that his vision was returning as he ran around the pen and turned as needed. Last night, we encouraged him to nurse and he just about hooked up- bless her heart, the dam was practically shoving him up under her (she'd MUCH rather he take the milk himself rather than us two-leggeds wrestling her for it!). We tubed him a little less than usual one more time and skipped the middle-of-the-night feedings. Hallelujah, this morning he's nursing!
So, what caused this? Dr. Evan's Field Manual says that it could have been caused by an electrolyte imbalance or infection, and isn't all that uncommon in 1-3 day old crias. He also said that if the seizure didn't recur pretty quickly, it will probably never happen again. The cria didn't have the tell-tale signs of septicemia (such as reddened membranes), and his temperature stayed stable once the seizure ended, so it wasn't likely an infection. So, we'll never really know. We will of course monitor the little guy even more carefully than usual, weighing him daily, etc.

I guess when you've had enough crias (we figure over 400 born on the farm over 18 years!), you'll see just about everything at least once. We are so thankful that this one turned out okay, and are grateful that we had the experience to know what to do this time, with some phone help from our vets. (The other cria that had the seizure a few years ago was fine as well).


linda said...

Wow Lindy,that is an amazing story! So glad you knew what to do! Congratulations on a happy ending.

Dianne MacDonald said...

Yikes! Good thing you know what you're doing. Hope the little guy will be just fine now. (you know Mike's favorite saying..."It's always something!")

WonderWhyGal said...

The first time I saw a tube feeding was at a large Suri farm and I was amazed how calm the owner took to task taking care of the cria. The next time was at Dr. Dewitt's NeoNatal Seminar where I practiced on a stillborn cria. I'm glad that you knew what to do and will be wishing strength to you and your cria.

Alpaca Farmgirl said...

Goodness what a case! That's amazing that he's okay Lindy. Congrats, so glad he is doing well now. Hooray!

Loco Lindy said...

Thank you all for your comments... unfortunately some of you didn't hear the "rest of the story", which is that unfortunately I spoke too soon and the little guy died after having a very strong rally... it was sooo sad! We did take him for a necropsy, so hopefully we'll have some answers. We do try to learn from every negative situation, and hopefully the experience will help us to do better in a future situation, or for someone else to learn from it.