Monday, December 31, 2007
This is Dash. He's seven months old, just weaning age, and he went into kidney failure last week. We rushed him to the vet when we noticed him laying down, listless and acting too friendly for an alpaca. Blood tests showed that he had a pretty severe infection--what and where we don't really know--and that his kidneys were shutting down. How can this happen so fast? The day before, Dash was running around the pen with the rest of the herd and eating and drinking.
Happily, Dash is recovering nicely and his body seems to have healed from the infection, thanks to a brilliant vet, some stout antibiotics, 500 units of I.V. fluids a day, and very dedicated intensive care nurse--me.
He's got some ground to make up with putting some weight back on, but he's been out of his warm little sick room and out with the herd in the barn. It's pounding snow outside, so the barn doors will be closed to keep him inside. It's amazing to me how quickly an animal will perk up when he sees his herd. Dash was barely moving around, scooting from place to place because he was too weak to get up on his own, wetting himself for the same reason, and when I took him outside with me while I fed the animals in the barn, he saw his mama and started wobbling around on his feet. Now, three days later, he's getting around so well that I can't catch him, he's eating everything he can get to, and pushing to get to the water. He's not 100% yet, but very nearly. The turning point was getting him back out with his herd mates.
So, 10 days after the initial crisis, Dash is up and seems to be healthy, albeit more than a bit thin for the experience. He hates me now. I think he keeps waiting for me to grab him and poke him with needle or force something down his throat, just like I have for the last 10 days. I'm sure he thinks I caused it all, and who's to say I didn't? I'm responsible for the well being of my herd and if I dropped the ball, I guess he has every right to hate me. He'll be my reminder to remain vigilant and on guard for parasites, infections, and disease. It's my job after all and I'm so thankful that Dash has come through it alive and well. Tragedy averted.