In the latest installment of Alpacas at Elmwood, Victoria has given birth a couple weeks early again this year. Floppy Mark II is a wee bit more together than Floppy I was, and bonus: she’s a girl.
The drama? Her umbilicus was one of the bits that wasn’t quite “done”. Three times she’s knocked it open and started gushing blood. And I mean gushing. Okay, the first one was definitely gushing, the other two weren’t quite as flood-like. The first time it happened, we got the umbilicus tied off and breathed a sigh of relief. The second time, it was bleeding from above where the umbilical cord meets the skin of the small hernia she has (not uncommon in newborns), so we couldn’t tie it off. Stephen held it pinched shut while I rang the after hours emergency vet line and drove them up to the clinic (this was a Sunday night). Julia stitched the artery closed, gave her some vitamin B and antibiotics, and we drove home, breathing a sigh of relief. Then when Stephen went out to give her a last feed for the evening, he rolled her over and saw a puddle of blood, and not a small one, either. Another panicked call to Julia, and we stuck an umbilical clamp over the whole thing, hernia and all.
The amazing thing is that each time she’s started bleeding, we’ve been there to notice and stop it. We’ve heard only just recently of a few cases where seemingly fine newborns have been discovered dead in the paddock having bled out through re-opened umbilical cords.
So, we tucked her into a box in the bathroom under the heat lamp, and got up every two hours during the night, checking to make sure she hadn’t started bleeding again, and to try and get a little glucose and/or colostrum into her.
As of this morning, she’s weak, but she has drunk a little bit of colostrum from the bottle. Later in the morning, we’re going to take her back up to the clinic to get a stomach tube put in, so we can feed her even if she’s too tired to suck. Until then, hourly feeds and keeping her warm.
Wish us luck.