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Rumen8tions - D8 Blog
Monday, June 01 2009

This is the next in a series of blog entries from Double 8 Alpaca Ranch.  Today's topic is Dystocia births. 

Double 8 Remembrance (Remy) hails from our Elvira line of females.  His mother is an Elvira daughter, Hearts on Fire.  You can read about Elvira ->> This was Heart's first cria.   Heart was running a bit late at 358 days gestation, but we were not really worried about that.  She was not in any distress and we saw plenty of movement.  For days, little Remy had been pushing on Heart's anus and had protruded quite a bit under her tail.  All normal things you may see prior to delivery.  On birthing day, Heart showed all the normal signs; a couple trips to the dung pile, rubbing her side on the fence (just as Elvira did),  some scratching at the ground (just like her mom, amazing how similar they are). 

The birth began with the normal nose and toes.  So far so good.  Then one leg came out followed by the head.  What was odd about the presentation was that one leg was much farther out than the other.  The other leg had only a foot, bent at the ankle out. The hardest thing about delivering crias is to just sit on your hands.  But we kept just sitting. Twenty minutes had gone by, no change. Thirty minutes, no change.  It was time to take a look at what was going on.  Bonnie first tried the "traction" method described in the previous blog entry.  This time that other leg did not budge. Maybe it was just stuck at the lip of Heart's vulva.  Some OB gloves and some lube should help.  Bonnie put two fingers in and tried to massage the leg out the opening.  Still no further movement.  Looks like we are going to have to go in and find out what is going on.  First a call to the vet.  Perfect, Dr. Nancy Lee is only ten minutes away (This stuff always happens on a holiday weekend).  Bonnie reaches further into the vulva opening and and tries to unstick Remy. He has one leg folded as if he were cushed and it is crossed under the leg that is sticking out of mom.  There isn't enough room for the leg to unfold and it can't come out unless it gets straightened.  Right on cue, Dr. Lee arrives.  The vet was able to push the other leg up to its shoulder back into the birth canal (where there is more room to manipulate the cria) and then, with both hands inside Heart up to her elbows, Dr. Lee was able to manipulate the leg so that it was parallel with the other leg.  Once both were pointing in the same direction, out came Remy.

This was a hard delivery for Heart.  She was in a lot of discomfort afterwards and stood for a good part of the day and evening.  We administered banamine for the pain and swelling, which helped her relax and cush for the night.  We also started her on antibiotics since both Bonnie and Dr. Lee had to go inside.

A quick word about the cria.  Our veterinarian came out the following day to do our normal dam/cria check, and she also examined the cria's legs.  His leg ligaments seemed to be a bit over stretched.  He must have been growing in the womb with his legs crossed.  When he stood, his legs would just fold inward like a gumby doll. The vet recommended to keep him quiet (leaving him and mom in the 12 X 20 pen for a few days to allow the ligaments to strengthen without doing any damage to the cartlidge) By day four, the legs had started to strengthen and straighten out, and as I look at him eight days after being born, he is a straight as he should be.  The crias tend to bounce back from these things pretty quickly.  Never underestimate their fortitude.

If you would like to talk more about this birth or have any comments please feel free to post a comment or call us at 609-758-7560

-Bonnie and Doug

Posted by: Doug Kittrell AT 06:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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    Double 8 Alpaca & Llama Ranch
    13374 SR 671
    Purcellville, VA 20132
    Phone: (571) 577-8579