When you own livestock, including alpacas, you have a responsibility to ensure you can care for them correctly in times of need. Below is a list of the recommended items for a livestock first aid kit. Please discuss additional items with your vet and always take your vets advice for treatment of your alpacas.
Contents of First Aid Kits
The size and contents of your alpaca first aid kit will depend on how many alpacas you have and if you are breeding them. As a starting point the following items should be considered:
- gauze swaps, cotton wool or pads;
- absorbent pads;
- 2 rolls of vet wrap and bandages – various sizes;
- Betadine – concentrated bottle and a 20% Betadine 80% water mix in a spray bottle;
- saline solution;
- adhesive tape;
- scissors or pocket knife;
- smaller bucket or container;
- tea towels or cloth nappies;
- Centrigen or Chloromide spray (commonly known as Purple Spray;
- eye ointment (obtain from your vet);
- 3ml and 5ml syringes (including needles 18, 19 and 21 gauge);
- a couple of 60mls syringes (for flushing out wounds);
- electrolytes for rehydration; and
- halter (see note below about halters).
Store in a large bucket with a lid and mark the outside with “First Aid Kit”. It is also worth considering having a torch with spare batteries and your vets’ phone numbers in your kit – which are both great to have in an emergency situation.
If you are breeding your alpacas then the following should be considered for your kit:
- flutter teat and bottle;
- glucose powder;
- umbilical clip;
- powdered colostrum powder and Divetelac milk powder (store in freeze);
- Cria coat;
- old clean towels;
- weighing scales for cria; and
- quick read thermometer.
Once you have the basics then you can add to your kit when a treatment is required. It would also be a good idea to discuss your requirements with your vet. They will be able to advise you what additional items you may need.
The ability to halter your alpaca during treatment is extremely important for both your safety and that of your alpaca. Alpacas, when in pain due to an injury, are often harder to handle and one that is not halter trained can be dangerous. It is important to train your alpacas to wear and walk in a halter. You and your alpacas will benefit from this when an emergency situation arises.
There will be treatment situations that you will be able to handle without assistance from your vet and the more situations you face the better equipped you will be. However there are some situations that require emergency vet assistance and they include:
- entrapped in fence;
- refusal or inability to eat for more than 24 hours;
- rapid, laboured, noisy breathing, breathing with mouth open (with the exception of immediately after a spitting session);
- discharge from one or both eyes or reluctance or inability to open the eyelids;
- straining at the poo pile without producing a foetus, urine or faeces;
- frequently voiding of small amounts of urine or faeces;
- symptoms of colic, groaning, grinding teeth, up and down frequently, refusal to rise, kicking at belly, arching the back, straining, tense abdomen and frenzied behaviour;
- lameness or extreme weight loss;
- paralysis or seizures;
- rectal or vaginal prolapse; and
- severe bleeding.
It goes without saying that if your alpaca is unconscious, not breathing or bleeding severely then you need to call you vet ASAP.