Expert vets at a top Staffordshire practice have been praised for saving the life of a prematurely born Alpaca.
The cria – the name for a baby Alpaca – called Delila was born two weeks early and struggled to feed from her mother, quickly becoming weak, floppy and unable to stand.
Concerned owner Angela Wilson called in Linnaeus-owned Shires Vets, which has practices in Stone, Stafford, Eaton Park, Eccleshall and Gnosall, who performed an emergency plasma transfusion directly into Delila’s jugular to save the day.
Angela, who runs Acton Hill Alpacas in Newcastle-under-Lyme, said: “We now call her ‘our little miracle’ because her recovery was so amazing.
“Within 12 hours she went from being so weak and in desperate danger to literally jumping up and bouncing around.
“She was so much stronger and energetic. Her legs straightened out and her muscles strengthened, it really was remarkable. We can’t thank the team at Shires Vets enough, they were brilliant.”
It was Shires’ associate clinical director Jennifer Roberts and vet nurse Lorna Motherson, from the Eccleshall branch, who dealt with the young cria’s cry for help.
Jennifer explained: “In a normal birth, the cria should be standing within the first 30 to 60 minutes and nursing within the first two to four hours of life.
“This feeding is critical to enable the cria to receive adequate colostrum (the first milk the mother produces) as it contains antibodies and nutrients essential for life.
“Without consumption of the colostrum Delila’s immune system would not have been able to defend the body from infection.
“She was very weak at birth, so we took a blood sample to check she had received adequate colostrum from her mum.
“However, the blood sample revealed her total protein levels were low, therefore a plasma transfusion was required as plasma is the part of the blood which contains antibodies.”
Fortunately, the Shires Vets team has spent years working closely with Angela and her husband Stuart, who breed Alpacas at their Acton Hill site, and had stored a supply of plasma taken from the family’s herd.
Jennifer added: “Without intervention there is a strong chance that Delila’s immune system would not have been strong enough to cope and she would have become progressively weaker and weaker and her condition become even more critical.
“Happily, a plasma transfusion makes a dramatic difference very quickly. She was only with us for just over an hour and there were already positive and encouraging signs.
“Lorna held her whilst I placed her intravenous catheter and closely monitored her heart rate, respiratory rate and general demeanour during the transfusion to ensure she did not show symptoms of a transfusion reaction.
“Everything went well and we were able to reunite Delila with her mother and with Angela and Stuart later that day.”
A relieved Angela said: “We are absolutely delighted with her progress and have very high hopes for Delila now.
“She is out of one of our top Dams (females) and fathered by a top sire so she has a superb pedigree and is looking terrific, despite her early scare!”