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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

COLOSTRUM REPLACER Experiences. (LaCroix Alpacas)

Paradiso's MARS de LaCroix, a beneficiary of maternal colostrum replacement.

Paradiso's MARS de LaCroix, a beneficiary of maternal colostrum replacement.

Although I had not needed a colostrum replacer once in a ten-year period, having on hand an excellent source of colostrum in case of an emergency had been a concern of mine; and due to several "colostrum" emergencies, I finally resolved to find a reliable and readily available source of colostrum for my next-year’s crias.

Within a period of 30 days in one year, I found that I needed an emergency colostrum replacer due to the birth of 5-weeks premature twin crias and a cria born a few days early to a maiden whose milk did not come in until 36 hours after his birth. One of the twins was stillborn but the other did receive the necessary colostrum [a frozen source] and a precautionary and expensive plasma transfusion although he was so young and tiny that he survived for only a week. The second event occurred during the Labor Day holiday when, it seemed, EVERYONE was taking a holiday. The “local colostrum” that I was able to obtain proved to be inadequate, and another expensive plasma transfusion was required. Thankfully, the weather was ideal for a cria. Although our cria did rest more than a normal cria would, he always seemed healthy, despite a critically low IgG: only 287! In fact, because he appeared to be healthy and strong, the veterinarian, who administered the plasma transfusion, was quite surprised by his critically low IgG level. Thankfully, the post-transfusion IgG test result was a very respectable 1204 IgG.

BUT THAT DID IT! Unreliable colostrum sources and expensive plasma transfusions had cost too much in money, time, and worry. I became determined to find an excellent-quality, maternal colostrum replacer to have on hand in case of an emergency. In my search, I found helpful information on the internet in an exchange of e-mails between alpaca owners. I contacted the alpaca owner experienced in using a powdered colostrum replacer and, subsequently, contacted the company that manufactures the colostrum replacer and purchased the powdered, plasma-based, maternal colostrum replacer, in anticipation of future cria births.

Amazingly, my next cria did need a colostrum replacer! He was born a few days too early and his maiden dam had no colostrum yet. [No genetic relationship to the previously mentioned experience.] This was quite a surprise since his dam's dam had always had plenty of milk for her crias. Nonetheless, being able to administer a quality, plasma-based, maternal colostrum replacer, that was handily on my shelf for emergencies, was a relief. Our cria didn't miss a beat, and he grew into a very macho little guy with a beautifully fine and carpet-dense fleece!

What did I learn from my experiences?
That there is a complete maternal colostrum replacer in powdered form on the market. Just be careful that you select a COMPLETE and PLASMA-BASED maternal colostrum replacer.
That plasma transfusions are VERY expensive and time-consuming [vet visits & tests].
That a complete maternal colostrum replacer is VERY economical, easy to use, and safe.
That it is wiser to have a maternal colostrum replacer on my shelf for that rare emergency, even if it is not used by its expiration date [two years], than to worry about the availability and quality of fresh or frozen colostrum.

I do realize that some breeders have excellent and readily available sources of fresh or frozen maternal colostrum. However, this blog is written to help those breeders who have not been so fortunate. I welcome any questions or comments that you may have.
MARS with his dam, TEMPEST, at sunset.

MARS with his dam, TEMPEST, at sunset.

Mojito's RAMBEAU with his dam.

Mojito's RAMBEAU with his dam.