On Boxing Day, I was enjoying a quiet day when I got a telephone call from one of our clients who thought that their alpacas might have eaten some poisonous plants in the rhododendron family. The alpacas had managed to get into the garden and had eaten some Pieris. Although they were only ringing for advice, I quickly jumped into the car and went over to their place to help.
It is a pretty awful thing seeing alpacas suffering from plant poisoning. They froth at the mouth, writhe around on the ground in obvious pain, loudly vocalise in a pitiful way and when things get really bad are unable to stand.
Obviously you must call the vet asap. But what can you do before the vet arrives? The answer is tea, tea and more tea. And I don’t mean Earl Grey or any of the fancy fruit teas (if that is what you can call them!!). No what you want is a good old strong builders’ brew. And I mean strong! Get a large pan on the hob with lots of teabags in and keep it simmering away. Take a large syringe and administer the cooled tea in the form of a liquid drench. In my experience, there is no such thing as too much tea in this situation.
On arrival, the vet administered injections of saline solution, steroids and vitamins. In an ideal world, the alpacas would have been put on a drip, but unfortunately the vet on call on this occasion had little experience of alpacas and was unable to get a line in.
Thankfully the alpacas survived, although I was not confident that this would have been the outcome.
It’s easy to say that this would never happen to your own alpacas but it possibly could. Gates can be left open, fences blown down.
So, I wish you and your alpacas, a HEALTHY, Happy and Prosperous New Year.
God Bless you all!