Diseases of the Newborn Cria

Posted by Stephen Mulholland December 31, 2013 0 Comment 2625 views

Click here to read this PDF article by Professor Andrew Dart. BVSc, DVCS, Dip ACVS, Dip ECVS.; DISEASES OF THE NEWBORN CRIA (90 kB)

A summary of the article is below. Click on the link above for the entire piece.

There can be a tendency for owners to interfere with the natural process of birth and the subsequent period of bonding between dam and cria . To put this into perspective for those owners who wish to be part of this process, animals gave birth for thousands of years without the need for human intervention. For those who argue that many newborns are saved by simple intervention that might otherwise lead to the death of the newborn it is impossible to know how many deaths are caused by unnecessary intervention interfering with the natural process. Human intervention should be from a safe distance, reserved for when it is clear it is needed and efficient and unobtrusive.

Alpacas should be provided with a clean protected paddock around the time of birth. Once the cria is born it is important to allow the dam and cria to bond. Many books recommend dipping the umbilical stump in antiseptics such as 2 or 3% iodine. This is unlikely to make a substantial difference to infection rates provide the environment is clean. The umbilicus can be briefly inspected for excessive bleeding. If the bleeding is substantial then 10-25 minutes of pressure or a ligature around the umbilicus will usually be sufficient to stop the bleeding.

Many problems in crias can be avoided by ensuring the cria is able to get sufficient colostrum (the first mild produced by the mother) in the fist 24 hours after birth. Like foals crias depend on the transfer of antibodies (proteins that enhance the resistance to infections) from the mothers blood into the colostrum and then into the cria during the fist 24 hours of life. The ability of the curia’s intestine to absorb these antibodies declines over the first 24 hours of life after which time there is no further absorption. The cria relies on these antibodies for the first 3 months of its life. Gradually over the first 3 months the crias immune system matures and it is able to make its own antibodies.

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