Overall, alpacas are healthy creatures. Keep them safe, and many alpacas will never have to see a veterinarian. However, we have had the occasional dystocia, broken leg or some other issue that needed to be addressed. The difficult part about many alpaca vets is that they are few and far between. Not many vets have had the opportunity to work with camelids. Plus, many are scared of the market price - especially compared to a sheep - and would rather not take on the liability. We do try to reassure the vets we work with that we have confidence in their abilities and are willing to work with them. In order to help all of us, we have purchased several books for our vets, including the alpaca field manual and a surgical guide for camelids.
Talk to your veterinarian prior to purchasing or receiving your alpacas. Request an appointment and spend time discussing with the doctor your interest and plans.
Do not try to impress your vet with your knowledge. While most vets do not have the time to take a lot of classes specific to alpacas only, they are trained in the fundamentals of medicine and surgery that make it possible to work on alpacas. Most vets are willing to learn. Care of your herd should be shared knowledge and a shared learning experience.
Reasons to call you vet:
- Prolonged (days) anorexia (inability or refusal to eat) or has rancid breath
- Failure to void feces or urine for more than 12 hours.
- Any alpaca that can not rise.
- Any alpaca with seizures.
- Any alpaca with difficulty breathing (rapid, noisy, labored)
- A body temperature (rectal) elevated above 104 degrees F
- Any sever hemorrhage.
- A swollen muzzle (can compromise airway)
- Any obvious deformity of limb(s).
- Any female that lies on sides or bleeds after birthing.
- Females that retain placenta more than 6 hours after birthing.
Mother has no milk.
- New born cria that can not stand after 2 hours.