Don Perignon is a 6 week old Alpaca who presented to us late one Sunday night. Don Perignon had been attended to by his regular vet, after getting something stuck in his oesophagus.
Being only 6 weeks of age, he was still suckling on his mum, but starting to explore (and chew) the wider world. At home he was becoming quite distressed and trying to relieve the blockage himself with continual swallowing and gulping. Because of his age and size Don was sent down to the hospital to see if we could identify and remove the obstruction in his oesophagus. The oesophagus is a very delicate tube, which is easily damages and any obstruction needs to be removed as soon as possible. The equipment we usually use for cats and dogs would be required to relieve the blockage.
Don Perignon was given a general anaesthetic and a small tube placed into his trachea (via his mouth) to enable us to continue to deliver anaesthetic gas to him. Using a small endoscope (a small long flexible camera) we were able to find a small plum stone lodged in his oesophagus at the entrance to his chest and remove it. The challenge for us was because alpacas have such a long skinny neck. The small stone was located about 50cm from his mouth. Don recovered well from his anaesthetic and was quickly re-united with his mum. Although we deal mostly with cats and dogs, occasionally something different comes along, but though our training and first aid principles we were able to help Don Perignon to continue to enjoy the month ahead.