Alpaca Update ~ 10/20

Things are getting frustrating and sad with Alpaca. Though he continues to act in high spirits, he is still not eating. His stomach is empty and you can hear it. It sounds like an empty barrel whenever the gases move around. I know I said it appeared he ate the alfalfa yesterday, but since no one saw him, I can’t say it was him. But what could have happened to it? Did another critter steal it?

I watched him rub his nose and mouth into his hay and his food dish. He’d wiggle his nose, and make noises like he wanted to eat, but his mouth never opened. I was wondering if the only problem was that he couldn’t open his mouth. I opened it up and looked inside. His tongue was moving, so I no longer think it’s paralyzed. I took a few pieces of alfalfa and stuck it into the front part of his mouth. Immediately, he began to chew, but nothing was moving. It was as if he no longer knew how to eat. Something is not working properly. He isn’t pulling the hay back into the back of his mouth to grind it down and swallow. I tried putting a very very thin piece of carrot into his mouth, he basically threw it out.

I honestly have no idea what is going on with him. I did so much reading today just to see if I could find something. I opened up my “Field Manual of Camel Diseases”. I read it from cover to cover…. nothing. I searched random words on the internet. The closest thing that I could find today was something called Apraxia… more specifically, oral apraxia. Apraxia is a neurological disorder characterized by loss of the ability to execute or carry out learned purposeful movements, despite having the desire and the physical ability to perform the movements. It is a disorder of motor planning which may be acquired or developmental.

I have no idea if animals can suffer from Apraxia. If it’s a neurological problem, I figure why not? We all have the same set up in our heads. Apraxia can be caused by, but is not limited to, things such as strokes and trauma. Or they can be developmental.

Right now, all I can say is, he’s just not eating. He should be an extremely hungry animal, so I can’t imagine that this is him being picky.

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