Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Alpaca Ulcers

Alpaca Ulcers

Over the past several months, we have watched one of our girls - Gemini- rapidly decrease in weight.  Her body score is now a 1.  With once an enthusiastic appetite for pellets, she now cautiously takes a pellet in her mouth, chews it slightly and spits it out.  She has been throughly checked and treated for worms.  She more than usual has the foam around her mouth, a byproduct of sugars being digested.  This isn't uncommon, but she can be seen like this at least every three days. Because of the onset of rich grass and decrease in hay within her diet this past Spring turned Summer, we feel she has ulcers.  She is unable to eat because it literally burns her stomach.  She will eat hay, but doesn't want to be be without the herd, so she sits in the pasture grass, not eating.  So, we have started a new program that will hopefully turn around her malnutritioned state.

This is some of the only research we have found regarding this issue:

Efficacy and Pharmacokinetics of Pantoprazole in Alpacas

Geof Smith, DVM, PhD, North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine
In this study, 6 adult male alpacas were anesthetized and fitted with a third compartment cannula for measuring gastric pH.  Following recovery, alpacas received 1 mg/kg pantoprazole intravenous every 24 hrs for 3 days or 2 mg/kg subcutaneously every 24 hrs for 3 days.  All alpacas received both IV and SQ pantoprazole, with a minimum of 3 weeks between treatments.  Third compartment pH was recorded at regular intervals and plasma samples were taken for pharmacokinetic analysis.  Pantoprazole induced a slow but sustained increase in third compartment pH when given by both the IV and SQ routes.  Baseline third compartment pH (1.81 + 0.7) increased to 2.47 + 0.8,  3.53 + 1 and 4.03 + 1.3 at 24, 48 and 72 hrs following IV administration.  Third compartment pH increased from 1.73 + 0.6, at baseline to 3.05 + 1.1, 4.01 + 1.4 and 3.61 + 1.6 at 24, 48 and 72 hrs following SQ administration.  This study showed that pantoprazole represents a safe and effective drug for increasing third compartment pH in alpacas.  It is likely an effective treatment for third compartment ulcers and might be useful for prophylactic administration in stressed camelids at high risk for developing ulcers.
 
http://www.alpacaresearchfoundation.org/research/successes.html


* As an update to this story:  After 2 months, the female we gave 2 regimens of the Pantoprazole to went from 107 lbs and a body score of 1 (skeletal) to gaining 23 lbs in one month and gaining.  She still has a ways to go, but is making amazing progress.  She was so sick, she still may not come out of it fully, but I do feel this medicine was worth it for us to try on her and it seemed to work.