He began showing signs he was not feeling well while Jeremy was gone and I was doing chores solo. We had just had one of those huge rainstorms that caused some flash flooding in our area. I worried that his lethargy and altered appetite was because of the drastic change in temperatures from cooler and rainy to hot and humid. An animal with a black coat has extra risk for heat-related stress.
Jeremy came home early to keep an eye on Wes and we monitored and doctored for a week. He seemed to be on an upswing when he suddenly took a turn for the worse. We are fortunate to have a teaching hospital nearby and we made a call for a farm visit from a vet from K-State and several vet students. They began some treatment at our farm and decided it best to transport him to the hospital. He made the trip, but died of cardiac arrest on the table.
We were all torn up about it and went over and over how we could have cared for him differently. Was is colic or pneumonia or an infection...we just didn't know. Jeremy asked for an autopsy. If we were doing something wrong, we wanted to know. The results came back to say that it was cancer that had spread to all his vital organs. Cancer is always bad news, yet we were relieved to know that any course of treatment would have resulted in the same outcome.
The good out of a bad situation - he was a good boy for us. Out of his pair, our two free alpacas from a local couple, he was the first to warm up to the herd and us. He ate with great gusto and always gave us a good laugh as we watched him eat hay like a champion. His condition helped the vet students learn about alpacas and that will help other producers with their animals.
We will miss our boy, Wes.