Inner ear infection in alpaca:
About a month ago DMAR Siriano was acting just a tiny bit off. The only symptom was that he wasn’t eating as much as he usually does. I started to guess at what could be happening. He had been treated for mycoplasma hemolamae before so could it be a reoccurrence? Loss of appetite is a symptom but mycoplasma hemolamae only comes on strong when the alpaca’s immune system is already supressed. I could see no reason why it would spark now. I gave him probiotic paste and called it a night.
The next day I saw no improvement in Siriano. I tell Tom that we should treat for mycoplasma hemolamae just in case. I give Siriano a shot and more probiotic paste.
Siriano let’s you know when he isn’t feeling well. When he is let out into the pasture he doesn’t remain with the other males but instead paces by the gate longing to go back to his paddock. So on day 3 when he was still pacing I was really racking my brain as to what the issue could be. When I let Siriano back in I started to watch him and that was when I noticed the goop on his right ear. I called for Tommy to help me after I put on a latex glove. The goop was hard and didn’t peel off easily. I admit I was grossed out; however, I realize that what was bothering Siriano was an ear infection. His ear was wet under the dried crud so I cleaned it out with a tissue. I contacted my vet by text messaging and she advised to apply triple antibotic ointment.
I treated Siriano for about a week. At one point I found the exact location of the infection because I pushed on it and a large squirt of puss came flying out. Again, I was disgusted. Siriano flinched but after that seemed to be relieved by the lack of pressure. Eventually I could no longer clean out any goop as it was gone. Siriano was acting normal again so I left things alone.
Fast forward to the beginning of this week. Siriano is again acting slightly off. He was again pacing by the pasture gate and not hanging with the other males. His eating was slightly off too. I thought his face looked a little off as well so I was planning on asking Tom about it later. I also noticed that when he was eating his chin was wet. I started to prod in the soaked fiber thinking perhaps it was an abscess that erupted but I couldn’t find anything. When I let Siriano back into his paddock Tom beat me to the punch by mentioning that Siriano’s face was off. It looks slightly twisted. I brought up that his chin was still soaked the same as the morning. I now started to prod in Siriano’s mouth looking for some type of infection. I found nothing. Both Tom and I observed and noticed that the right side of Siriano’s face had dropped and he was holding his right ear down. This is the same ear that was infected a month earlier. I put on a glove but found no evidence of infection in his ear. I applied triple antibotic ointment anyway and gave Siriano probiotic paste. We left him to eat and for the night.
The next morning the drool under Siriano’s chin was worse. A new symptom popped up which was he was slightly imbalanced on his legs. After going through all the symptoms I deducted that Siriano had an inner ear infection. I texted my vet who said she wanted to see him. I made the appt for later that evening.
When Tom got home we finished up with the barn chores and left with Siriano to the vet. She agreed his face had dropped but when she looked in his ear she didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. She was able to pull up a small amount of wax on a q-tip to look under a microscope on a slide. My diagnose was correct as she found a lot of bacteria on the slide. Siriano did indeed have an inner ear infection.
The vet prescribed 3 days of banamine 2x daily and 10 days of Baytril. The banamine is to reduce the swelling and the Baytril is to help rid the infection.
Siriano has been on the meds for 2 days now. His face has not recovered but I definitely see improvement in the amount of drool. Before his chin would be soaked and now it is only a little wet.
I’m hoping that Siriano is able to make a full recovery. Throughout the whole ordeal he has continued to eat which really helps the situation.