Cardiac Arrest

cardiac1It’s October and we are anxiously awaiting the last two crias of the year. As with the majority of crias in 2014, this particular one was overdue. Each evening before retiring we checked each expectant dam for signs of labor. Nothing unusual being noted, we left the barn with a plan to be in the
barn early to check again.Being October and anticipating a heavy frost, my husband went to the barn the next morning to check on the herd earlier than usual. As he passed by the stall where the expectant mothers were he didn’t notice anything unusual. He continued to the opposite end of the barn to see the remainder of the herd resting comfortably and not anxious to move from their warm spots.

When he came back to the mom and cria area, he spotted something red…a
placenta. Someone had delivered a cria! As he entered the area for closer
inspection, low and behold he saw a lifeless cria in the middle of a manure
pile. He picked the cria up and headed to the vet room shouting to me to come
quickly. Chocotini had delivered her cria and it was stiff and lifeless.

As I met him at the entrance to the vet room, he announced the arrival of
Chocotini’s cria and declared it dead. As I rubbed the cria and to see if I could
get any response, I concurred that the cria was dead. As I was trying to get a reading on the thermometer (no temp registered) suddenly a newsletter article from years passed flashed into my head. I decided that at this point it was
unlikely I could do any harm. I started hot water running in the large sink and after placing the cria in a garbage bag with it’s head out I submerged the covered body into the hot water and began chest compressions. Within minutes the cria’s mouth began to move as if it was trying to breathe. My heart skipped a few beats and I could hardly believe my eyes. As I continued the chest compressions, the attempts to breathe became stronger and more regular. Realizing that mom was still in the barn and could perhaps help us encourage this little being to fight, my husband went to the barn to get mom. When she finally smelled the cria (we had placed him in the garbage bag to preserve his scent) she began communicating with it. By now the cria was
breathing weakly on its own but the water was beginning to cool. I took the cria out of the water to give mom better access and to check to see if the temperature was high enough to register. At that point hot water was resupplied as well. The temperature was still too low to register but we took the opportunity to discover the cria was a male.

During the next hour or so we continued to warm him in the water and alternately with a hair dryer. Throughout this time we watched him become stronger and his temperature increase. At the hour point, the cria was able to cush and hold his head up. About 90 minutes after we found this lifeless being, he finally registered a temperature of 97.3 degrees. At that point we helped him to his feet and put him under his mother. Fortunately his mother is experienced and knew just how to encourage him to nurse. He walked under Chocotini as any newborn does and began nursing as if none of this had ever occurred.

It was a miracle! 5C’s Cardiac Arrest has never looked back. Thanks to Ian Lutz’s article in the newsletter probably 10 years ago, this little guy is alive and will likely see the show ring in 2015. I sincerely hope this story helps someone else in the future.

For those who don’t know, here at Cinco C’s Alpacas we name all our crias with names beginning with “C”. We’re not sure whose cardiac arrest he is named for – his or our own. We call him Heartbreaker and we hope you’ll visit us at the Farm or at a show to see why.

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