Cria poep!

Een interessant artikel voor menig startend alpacahouder bij de geboorte van de eerste cria's. Het lijkt een lang verhaal maar het leest goed weg.

Uit: Alpacas Magazine artikel “Getting the Real Poop!, geschreven door Dr. Ruthanne L. McCaslin D.V.M

So your very first cria has just been born! Congratulations! Let me tell you a little secret. Just like when you become the parent of a two legged baby, you are about to become preoccupied with poop. Right now you are all excited about her first step and her comical attempts to figure out how to work the milk machine but before long you are bound to start thinking about poop. It is inevitable. Now some folks like to rush right out and give every cria an enema in its first few hours of life. I have to tell you, I’m a lot more laid back than that. If it ain’t broke, I try not to fix it. Or break it! As long as she is bright and alert and strong and lively, I just let her bond with her mum and enjoy the sunshine. If she nurses early and often, she won’t need an enema. Colostrum is a natural laxative. Within the first 18 to 24 hours she should pass her meconium. It is dark brown to black in color and very thick and sticky. A cria who is nursing 10 times a day and passing urine freely six to eight times a day should have no difficulty passing her meconium. Now if you happen be there when she passes it all is well and good. However, crias are born with plans in their heads to drive you nuts. They much prefer to wait until you turn your back or run into the house for a bite to eat. Then they arrange for some of the adult alpacas to trample it into the manure pile until it is unrecognizable. Then you get to play “Did she or didn’t she?” Once the meconium is passed, nothing much happens for a day or so. On her highly digestible liquid diet it will take a while for her to produce much solid waste. When she finally does start producing “beans” they are itsy bitsy teensy weensy pale yellow beans. They are also Magic Beans – Magic because they can just disappear so easily. They can disappear into the tall grass. Even short grass! They can disappear into the manure pile where they are dwarfed by the adult beans. And apparently livestock guardian dogs consider them to be a rare delicacy. The Disappearing Magic Beans drive the Human Beans stark raving bonkers. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself organizing search parties to look for this elusive little product. You might even resort to watching through the window with binoculars to catch a glimpse of the Magic Beans in midair moments before they vanish, never to be seen again. You could become a Bean Counter without even getting your CPA. Just because you aren’t seeing beans doesn’t mean they aren’t being produced, but even though you know it can be perfectly normal to go several days without ever seeing a single bean, the longer it goes on the more you worry and wonder. There are a few very bad things that can cause the beans not to be passed at all. These things are rare, but can be dangerous, so you don’t want to miss them. You may find yourself tempted after days of apparent beanlessness to give her an enema “just in case”. Giving an enema to a cria that does not need it is NOT harmless. It can create discomfort and distress and in a few cases can lead to much more serious consequences.

How can you tell the difference between a sick cria and one who is just really good at Hide the Beans? I’m going to tell you. First you look for the Three A’s: Appetite – Whenever output stops, input stops also, or at least slows drastically. If she is nursing about ten times a day and seeming satisfied afterward she is probably just fine. Activity – If she periodically goes bounding around the pasture like a four legged pogo stick and then runs full tilt into her mum’s side only to bounce off like a fleece-covered rubber ball, you have a normal healthy cria. Attitude – If her eyes are bright and she stands up straight and tall; if her curiosity is about to get her into trouble any minute, you have a normal cria. If the cria is active, alert, nursing well and urinating freely at least 6-8 times per day she is probably just fine. A cria in need of an enema will be lethargic and depressed; just not as bright and playful as she should be.

If you think your cria (or any other animal) needs an enema, do this procedure first:

Dr. Ruthanne’s Handy Dandy Thermometer Test

Take her temperature using a well-lubricated rectal thermometer. Pay attention to what you feel as you insert and remove the thermometer.
If you feel a thick, sticky material – thicker than peanut butter – and if you see lots of very dark colored sticky material adhering to the thermometer when you remove it that is the meconium. If the cria is more than 18 hours old and still has not passed the meconium it may need an enema (detailed instructions to be given later).
If you find a bit of yellowish material adhering to the thermometer, that is normal fecal material for a nursing cria. Do NOT give an enema. Instead celebrate the happy occasion by showing off the lovely yellow material to all your friends and family members, especially if you have teenagers who already think you are crazy. This will convince them beyond all doubt.

If you encounter some tiny little yellow “beans” this is also normal. Proceed with the same celebration described above.
If you encounter VERY hard, very dry, very tightly packed little beans your cria is constipated. (This is extremely rare, but can happen) If this happens wait and watch for 10-15 minutes. Often the lube on the thermometer and the stimulation of the insertion will be sufficient to take care of the problem. If not, she may need an enema. (Detailed instructions to be given later) You may also wish to give 5cc of Light Karo Syrup once as a stool softener. If you encounter no resistance and the thermometer comes out covered with fluid, especially blood-tinged fluid, your cria has diarrhea. CALL YOUR VET. Newborns can crash very quickly. Don’t wait til morning!If the thermometer meets little or no resistance your cria has an empty bowel. Often you can wiggle the end and feel that it is in an empty space. The meconium was passed when you were not looking. (or the beans if this is an older cria you are worried about) Do NOT give an enema to a cria with an empty bowel. It could create serious problems. Now an empty bowel can mean one of three things: 1) 99% of the time it just means you missed the big show. The poop was there but now it’s gone. The cria makes a cute little cria noise that means “Ha Ha! I gotcha!” (in alpaca). It then goes bounding off across the pasture to play bumper cars with the other crias. 2) Very rarely it can mean that no beans are being produced. This is lack of output caused by lack of input. Remember those three A’s you were supposed to check? Yep, Appetite. That’s the one. Now if you already checked the appetite and you say “Dr. Ruthanne, her appetite is huge! She is under there nursing all the time!” then it is time to check mum’s milk supply. Constant nursing is the cria’s instinctive response to a lack of supply. 3) Last of all, least frequent of all and most dangerous of all is obstruction. Those beans are being made, but just aren’t able to proceed through the “pipeline”. It usually doesn’t take very long for an obstruction to shut down both input and output. The abdomen may be tender to the touch (or not). Early on the cria may be “just a little off”, not quite as lively as yesterday, but they can go downhill very quickly. If you even suspect obstruction CALL THE VET!!!!!!!

Oh, and don’t forget to read the thermometer after checking to see what it is covered with. It’s a double-duty source of important information. Your cria’s temperature should be over 100 and less than 102. I recommend that you check your cria’s temperature three or four times the first day of life and twice a day for the first week. If after all this you are really, really sure your cria needs an enema, here are the aforementioned Detailed Instructions Take a pediatric Fleets enema. Dump out all the contents. Now fill the nifty little device with warm water. (about the same temperature as a baby’s bath water) Add two or three drops of dish soap such as Joy. Lube the end and GENTLY insert. Very slowly administer about half of it. Withdraw. Dump out the rest. Wait. When beans are produced, celebrate!

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