Be careful with a hard start

meIn this article the most common syndromes of KRIs during the first week of life are described.

Antibody deficiency

Krias are born without antibodies, which are of great importance to the immune system. These antibodies must be fully absorbed via colostrum (first milk). However, the intestinal wall of the newborn is only able to effectively absorb these antibodies for a limited time. This makes adequate intake of colostrum at the right time crucial. Animals that fail to absorb adequate antibodies have very low immunity, making them susceptible to infection. This deficiency of antibodies in and of itself is not a disease
in itself,
But it significantly increases the risk of disease. Insufficient intake of colostrum can be due to both the mother animal and the cria itself. The general weakness of the pumpkin also prevents the intake of good colostrum.

Camels are usually very quick on their feet and immediately look for the udder. Often they are able to drink actively within an hour. If the animal has not drunk within 3 hours, colostrum should be added. The reason for the
Passive transfer failure
It can also lie with the mother animal. For example, she is unable to produce any milk or insufficient production. Likewise, dams do not let the kris drink if they feel uncomfortable due to general illness, difficult childbirth, or because the birth remains for a long time. Stress in the mother animal can also cause a lower intake of colostrum.

colostrum supplement

If the mother animal still has enough milk, it can be milked. If there is still a plug present in the nipple duct, Cria has not drunk anything yet. The milk obtained can then be given via the bottle (60-90 ml every two hours), as the animal should have absorbed 10% of its body weight as quickly as possible. This should be done no later than 12 hours after birth.

If the mother animal does not have enough milk, then goat or cow colostrum can be given. Goat colostrum is preferred. Some diseases, such as paratuberculosis, can be transmitted, so it is best to look for free carriers. Alternatively, you can also give freeze-dried goat or cow colostrum. Other colostrum substitutes are usually ineffective. The best alternative is frozen colostrum from other alpacas, but it is very difficult to obtain. If the period when the intestines can absorb the antibodies has already passed, the veterinarian can still administer them via plasma transfusion. Various tests are available to determine which animals can be helped with this.


Alpacas have a very variable gestation period (330-360 days), which also varies depending on the season. In addition, features of prematurity were also observed in animals born after a normal pregnancy. Both preterm animals according to gestational length and animals showing these features of prematurity are best considered as preterm.

These animals often weigh less at birth than other cresses in the herd, have floppy ears and a silky coat. Failure of the anterior incisors to emerge is also a sign of prematurity. Early antibiotics are often too weak to absorb colostrum in time. In addition, it is difficult for them to maintain their temperature. As a result, these animals suffer from a significant decrease in the immune system and suffer from hypothermia. In addition, lung immaturity can also be prevented, as a result of which the crias cannot absorb enough oxygen. Additional supplementation of colostrum and milk by bottle and monitoring of temperature and respiratory rate of these animals is highly recommended. However, in many cases this is not sufficient and intensive care in a veterinary clinic is required. These treatments include plasma transfusion, infusion therapy, and oxygen therapy.

Sepsis has a great effect

In this serious disease, the bloodstream is extensively infected with bacteria. These bacteria often come from the environment. They manage to get into the bloodstream through various primary sources of infection, such as the intestine and the navel. The primary infection is often the result of a weakened immune system, particularly due to Passive transfer failure† Since bacteria can circulate freely in the bloodstream, this infection can spread quickly to different organs, making the effect very significant. Despite this, the first stage of this can easily go unnoticed. Sometimes weight loss or stunted growth are the only symptoms. In other cases, this is accompanied by weakness, unwillingness to drink, rapid breathing and / or pumping, high or low temperature. Blurred or painful eyes, diarrhea and a swollen belly button can also occur with septicemia.

Although the symptoms may be very subtle, early treatment is critical to the animal’s survival. It is therefore recommended to monitor the weight of each kriya on a daily basis. In the absence of growth (less than 200 g/day), the cause should be investigated. On the other hand, this can be the result of a very low milk intake or the presence of a pathological process. In many cases it is indicated to check the mother’s milk production and blood tests in the blood by a veterinarian. He can then start the necessary treatment or refer the animal to a clinic if he needs intensive care.

You can take various preventive measures on your own. First of all, colostrum management is critical. In addition, it is highly recommended to disinfect the navel with chlorhexidine or tincture of iodine after childbirth, since this is often an entry port for infection. Hygiene around the foal and in the first weeks after birth is also very important.

Dehydration caused by diarrhea

In the first week, diarrhea is a very important finding, as it can coincide with septicemia and therefore be life-threatening. Soon after delivery, diarrhea is often caused by bacteria, which then reduce fluid absorption and thus cause dehydration. A visit to the vet is highly recommended so that they can start the appropriate treatment with antibiotics and fluids. Moreover, blood analyzes and a test to determine possible Passive transfer failure It is recommended to specify. In some cases, permanent infusion therapy is required, which can be given in a veterinary clinic. In addition to an infectious cause, diarrhea can also be a result of diet. In Cria, this is mainly seen when sheep’s colostrum or milk is added due to the high fat content in this milk.

atresia funnel nose

Compared to other animal species, birth defects are common in criss. A common defect is alimentary atresia. There is also a spacer between the nasal passages and the pharynx. Since alpacas breathe mainly through the nose, their breathing is very limited. There are many variations, but most of them are not applicable. Affected animals breathe with their mouths open and their cheeks often appear swollen with each breath. A suspected diagnosis can be confirmed by radiography of the nose. Surgical correction of this condition is rarely possible and has a low chance of success. Re-breeding with the same group of parent animals is not recommended, as genes seem to play an important role in the development of this defect.

vulvar deformity

In the case of a deformation of the vulva, there is no very small opening at the level of the vulva. This prevents the animal from urinating. A few hours after birth, this is noticeable due to swelling in the buttocks. Swelling consists of urine. This condition can be treated relatively easily with a simple procedure in which an opening is created. If this condition is observed and treated in a timely manner, the animal will not bother it much. However, when there is a long-term accumulation of urine, adverse effects can occur, such as bladder rupture or kidney failure. A genetic predisposition to this defect is also suspected, and it is strongly not recommended to breed with these animals, as well as with the same parent group.

This squeak suffers from deformation of the vulva. This condition can be treated with simple surgery. – Photo: UGent

Umbilical hernia and inflammation

In the case of an umbilical hernia, there is a defect in the abdominal wall and the muscles of the abdominal wall. This allows the intestines or part of the stomach to come out and swelling occurs under the skin at the level of the navel. In some cases, an umbilical hernia can cause an entrapment of the intestine, making the gastrointestinal passage impossible. The animal may show colic and make little or no manure. In these cases, emergency surgery is required.

In other cases, surgery is not always necessary and depends on the size of the fracture. Small fractures usually heal on their own or with the help of an abdominal bandage. Swelling in the navel can also be caused by an infection (bacterial). Similar to diarrhea, this condition often occurs with sepsis. Here, too, it is very important to start treatment with antibiotics and make the necessary diagnoses by a veterinarian.

meconium constipation

If a newborn animal does not make compost within 18 hours of birth, this can be due to several reasons. The most common is clogging of the first manure (meconium). This can be treated by giving one enema or several enemas. Another reason is the absence of the anus or other part of the intestine. The former can be surgically corrected in some cases. Surgery is often unsuccessful if no other part of the intestine is present.

The need to follow closely

Due to the seriousness of diseases that can occur during the neonatal period, close monitoring of the dam and the neonate is critical. If you notice diarrhea, swelling of the navel, blurring or eye pain, lack of growth, weakness, drowsiness, unwillingness to drink and lameness, it is best to consult a veterinarian for the necessary diagnosis. In severely ill animals (extreme weight loss, weakness, hypothermia, prematurity, very watery diarrhea, strong regurgitation of breath) hospitalization in a veterinary clinic is indicated. After an accurate diagnosis, the animal will receive the necessary medications, infusion therapy, oxygen therapy, and plasma therapy. In addition, this is done under constant monitoring, so that treatment can be quickly adjusted.

Justin Klinkwart, UGent

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