Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Endophytes on the Mind

Who knew? The county extension agent tells us we can test for endophytes in our pasture grass (yes, I've got endophytes on the brain). Endophytes are fungi that live symbiotically in fescue and apparently are bad for alpacas to eat during the last trimester of their pregnancies. They can cause abortions, thickened placenta, and other problems with the pregnancies. But we can send a sample of the pasture grass into a lab at the University of Kentucky to test for endophytes in the fescue that makes up the majority of our pasture grass. So now I have this mental image of some lab worker taking a scapel to a piece of grass and slitting it open to find a horrible little alien looking wormy thing inside that jumps out and hisses (ATTACK OF THE ENDOPHYTE!)

I was looking through my collection of alpaca pictures and found this one of Valentina with her cria Wailea on the day that Wailea was born. Wailea was born with one normal kidney but the other kidney was not attached to the bladder so when the abnormal kidney filled the urine would just disseminate into her little body causing horrible infections. We would treat the infection with antibiotic but the infection would reoccur every two weeks. When she was two months old, we had the vet remove the abnormal kidney. She seemed perfectly fine and looked like she was going to have a totally normal alpaca life until she was about six months old when the scar tissue from the kidney removal operation blocked her intestines. She died at six months.
Excuse me, I'm going to go have a little cry now.

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1 comment:

  1. I think attack of the endophyte would make a good sci-fi movie :) Poor poor Wailea. She was a very pretty baby.