There's me saying there is nothing much to write about and we go and have a medical emergency yesterday!
The girls all came up for their late morning feed and all tucked in to their usual alfalfa and peas. I was busying myself moving the Eglu to a more sheltered spot and was looking near the alpaca feeding area for a possible location when I noticed that one of the alpacas was not feeding with the others.
Lily (why oh why does it always have to be our favourite alpaca in the whole wide world?) was standing motionless between the two troughs, very odd. On closer inspection I could see that she was drooling heavily and struggling for breath, classic choking signs. I shouted for Sue and we quickly got her into a small handling pen. She was definitely choking so I squirted a couple of pints of warm water down her throat to try and shift it. Normally that does the trick. This time it didn't something was stuck and needed shifting. We called the vet and he was on his way from Salisbury straight away.
Lily by this time was really struggling for breath and was shaking, presumably from the stress of it all. We put a coat on her, there was a bitterly cold wind, and tried more water to no avail. We then just kept her calm until the vet arrived. Just prior to his arrival Lily had a huge coughing spasm and I saw a small piece of white matter fly through the air. Lily, however was still struggling for breath and making an awful grunting noise. Something was still restricting her breathing. The vet passed what seemed about 6 feet of tubing down her throat and Lily made various grunting, gasping and bubbling sounds. The tube out she was still struggling for breath. Her heart rate was normal, her lungs sounded clear, she seemed bright enough she was just gasping for breath.
The diagnosis was that she had been choking but the blockage had now been removed either due to the coughing or the tubing. The blockage had caused an inflammation in her throat which was now causing her problems. The vet gave her a large dose of anti-inflammatory intravenously and the reaction was almost instant. Within a minute she was breathing better and five minutes later she was grazing.
Throughout the whole incident Lily was the best behaved alpaca in the world. She stood next to us whilst we waited for the vet. She accepted the stomach tube with hardly a fuss and allowed the vet to examine her as if it was a daily occurrence.
She is a special one that Lily, a special one indeed.