Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dreaded Flystrike! An alpaca owners nightmare!

We were feeding the girls one morning and for some reason noticed that Cassandra's tail was slightly raised, luckily it allowed me to see she had blood around her bottom and vaginal area. My first thoughts were that maybe she had suffered a prolapse. It was around 8.30 am so I phoned our vet. I asked him if Alan could come and get him, you may remember he does n't drive, he sounded a little hesitant and said errr around 11 am I can come. That was fine with us, Cassandra did not seem to be in any pain or discomfort and she was tucking into her food.... nothing new there, so that was fine. As summer here can be particularly flyey, (how on earth do you spell flyey?) we decided to spray around the area with an insecticide, that we always keep in case an animal gets a cut or graze. One of the fears when you are an animal owner is the dreaded flystrike!

Alan collected Andres at 11 as arranged he explained he had been watching his little daughter in her end of term show of Grease, we now had his full attention though! Whilst we were checking on Cassandra, spraying her with insecticide etc we did notice the infected area seemed very swollen. We could not understand what she had done, if it was an internal problem or a cut on the outside, we just knew there was a lot of swelling! We could also see some minute white things, our fear was that they were fly eggs that would turn into maggots!!!

OK it get's nasty now, put your noodles down! I held Cassandra, as now when we do treatments on the alpacas sometimes I struggle with doing injections, their skin is like a tight drum and some antibiotics are very thick and I have to admit there are a few jobs in life that Alan can do better than me and so I do the holding/ cuddling. Andres knew exactly what he was dealing with and as he went to his Black & Decker box, also known as his medical box, I did n't want to look in case a scalpel was involved. A scalpel was not involved but a blooming big pair of tweezers were. Sadly what we thought may have been eggs were in fact the tails of maggots that were already inside her. We were totally devastated, although Andres was not at all perturbed, I guess he is used to dealing with it. I learnt a lot about maggots during that morning, whilst he took about 20 out of the cut, and the swelling seemed to reduce with every one he removed. He explained to us that the maggots were only 2 or 3 days old, which he could tell from their size and all from the one egg as they were all the same size too. We also learnt that as they eat dead and infected tissue or skin whilst they are inside the body they actually breathe out of their rear end, so what we could see was their tail which they breath of out. I still hate the little blighter's but it was interesting to learn about it.

To this day we don't know what Cassandra had done, she could have sat on a sharp stone or caught herself on a branch, we just don't know. However she healed remarkably quickly once the maggots had been removed and she had a course of antibiotics, plus an antibiotic cream too. Thankfully she is fine now, but we are always keeping our eyes open for slightly raised tails, as I'm sure you can imagine! Poor Cassandra!

Our gorgeous Cassandra

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