View Full Version : ryegrass staggers in alpaca
19th March 2013, 04:16 PM
I have a cria aged 5months affected quite badly with ryegrass staggers.
Have tried 3 days with;
a)thiamine/B calm injections
c)Been in barn off pasture with mum
She is still no better ...any ideas as on what else to do.its distressing me and alpaca mummy now and cria not feeling well either.
is there anything else it could be?
19th March 2013, 04:44 PM
Hi, if she is affected quite badly as you say, it may take a couple weeks for her to get back to normal. The best thing you can do is keep off rye pasture and continue with the B-calm injections. Ensure your hay is not full of rye grass as this will continue to aggravate the problem.
Could also be due to paspalum grass or magnesium deficiency although most likely to be rye grass.
19th March 2013, 04:46 PM
I'm so sorry to hear that. If you are feeding hay have you checked it doesn't have rye grass in it? I was told that feeding willow can speed recovery but I don't know how true it is. It has taken several days for the symptoms to subside when mine have had it so hopefully you will see improvement soon. The symptoms get worse with stress/handling so maybe he is feeding when you aren't around?
I hope he gets better soon.
19th March 2013, 05:28 PM
stress exacerbates the symptoms. Are you stressing hovering and pfaffing around them all the time - if so then stop ;-)
now how about a little herbal remedy - thyme
if all these feed additives and injections are causing stress to then animal then you SERIOUSLY need to question if they are worth it. they are an aid and NOT a miracle cure...so if they ain't aiding then they could be making the stress side of things worse!
19th March 2013, 05:49 PM
Sorry to hear about your cria [:(]. I've got no helpful advice I'm afraid, I remember going to look at alpaca at Invermay about 15yrs ago and seeing a couple in the herd with staggers, it looked like they had Parkinsons. We were told at the time that it was not curable, and decided at that point not to consider having alpaca as I couldn't cope with seeing animals like that, it was heartbreaking. So I really feel for you having a wee one with staggers. [:(]
19th March 2013, 09:09 PM
cant say i know much about alpaca but one of my horses regularly gets it and it can take a week or two with him before he gets better, people say it gets worse and some say its incurable but i have found that some years hes real bad cant move for a week i guess for fear of falling over, other years just the odd head shake, I have found feed aid to be helpful which has toxin binders but they are just an aid the solution is to remove access to the toxin which is normally at the base of rye grass, you can get rye grass which has been treated so that it dosen,t produce the fungus but avoiding rye altogether is probably best.
19th March 2013, 09:42 PM
If you can seperate her from mum then keep trying the microsorb in Coolfeed. With one of our donkeys, he is on fulltime antistaggers stuff, 2 teaspoons per day with a bit of the Coolfeed to stick it to. Antistaggers stuff can be got from CRT in the horse section. As stated, it will take weeks rather than days for the symptoms to reduce.
20th March 2013, 11:10 AM
Thankyou everyone ive had alpaca with ryegrass staggers before;but none as bad as this little cria.She is a little better today,in a darkened stable with mum. she and mum are eating microsorb with pellets...i fiquired if mum is feeding her she may absorb some in mums milk as well.
Can i put microsorb in their feed as a preventitive at times of high rates of ryegrass staggers,will it do any harm.Seems ok for the donkey above.Many thanks for all your help.
cowvet ....alpacas are loving the thyme...[:)]
20th March 2013, 12:56 PM
The staggers preventer I use for a mini mare that is susceptible to it, is a modified yeast cell. The cell wall grabs onto the mycotoxin and it passes harmlessly through the horse. So its pretty darn safe. I don't think it would work through milk but then again the toxin could be passed through milk for all I know so maybe its best to keep mum on it too. My mini mare had a shot of B12 as well which helped extremely quickly. I have read that supplementing magnesium and potassium helps for horses, but I don't know whether this is safe for your cria. Maybe google it? I found this which may help http://www.llama.asn.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=137:resource-library-ryegrass-staggers&catid=41:nutrition-and-feedng&Itemid=41 Hope the wee one picks up soon, as others have said it does take time.
20th March 2013, 01:04 PM
one of my horses regularly gets it and it can take a week or two with him before he gets better, people say it gets worse and some say its incurable but i have found that some years hes real bad cant move for a week i guess for fear of falling over, other years just the odd head shake, I have found feed aid to be helpful which has toxin binders but they are just an aid the solution is to remove access to the toxin which is normally at the base of rye grass, you can get rye grass which has been treated so that it dosen,t produce the fungus but avoiding rye altogether is probably best.
Um, you do know that every episode causes further neurological damage eh? One of my horses is VERY susceptible too so I do EVERYTHING in my power to avoid him getting staggers at all! It DOES get worse & it IS incurable so prevention is the ONLY satisfactory option for managing horses like this.
Paspallum is also bad for causing staggers & is rife at the moment in some areas.
sarniagirl, if they're able to eat Mycosorb (I know nothing about alpaca) then you can add it to their feed. You can buy the straight Mycosorb made by Alltech which is the best sourcce. They supply it to all of the other companies who add it to their supplements but you can't guarantee what other fillers/additives they put in their versions. Check with your vet or Alltech for correct dose rates. If alpaca are anything like horses, she'll need a loading dose for a couple of weeks first before you can back off to the maintenance dose.
20th March 2013, 06:14 PM
Ring Penny Brooker (google Flexwell products ) she is a fountain of knowledge about all things... mycosorb, toxin binders, magnesium etc and her products are pure with no fillers and very reasonable prices ...Penny's phone number is
09 292 4606 ...she will be able to help and advise you. Hope your wee alpaca comes right.
20th March 2013, 06:30 PM
i second Penny's knowledge and ability :)
Did wonders for my old dog :)
20th March 2013, 07:22 PM
I think its REALLY important to remember that the toxin binders (such as Mycosorb) are NOT miracle cures. They will bind the toxin that is in the GI tract but will NOT undo damage that has already occurred. Magnesium is also commonly used...it acts as a sedative and it does not undo or hasten recovery. The VERY BEST approach to ryegrass staggers is to limit intake of the toxin - so remove them from the problem feed.
I live in the ryegrass staggers capital of the world! years ago it used to be a real issue on commercial farms but now we hardly ever see it - improved pastures and alternative pasture types has seen it almost disappear and shows it is a manageable issue. Get rid of the high endophyte pasture and you will see the end of the ryegrass staggers
20th March 2013, 08:54 PM
hey glo pony you state "(Um, you do know that every episode causes further neurological damage eh? One of my horses is VERY susceptible too so I do EVERYTHING in my power to avoid him getting staggers at all! It DOES get worse & it IS incurable so prevention is the ONLY satisfactory option for managing horses like this")
its almost as if you actually know this as a fact, when there is very little if any evidence at all that rye grass staggers causes permanent neurological damage in horses, its not inconceivable of course but it is no where near a proven fact.
of course it is curable just as any poisoning is, its a case of stop taking in the toxins,
Paspallum does not cause rye grass staggers its a different toxin altogether.
I absolutely agree that some animals are bound to be more suseptable to toxins than others and the only way to avoid animals getting staggers is to avoid the toxin ie don't feed rye grass.
and it would seem logical that the reason that some years are worse than others is simply that some years there is less toxin in the grass or the weather conditions are different ie this year we have drought and virtually no grass at all, so when the new grass starts to grow the animals we be grazing very low to the soil and therefore be exposed to more toxin than they would if we had a decent length of grass to feed them,
time will certainly tell as last autumn we had loads of grass and plenty rain and very little evidence of staggers this year is the opposite, so im expecting that in a week or two my poor old standy might well be not feeling too great unless i avoid him eating the very short grass which may well be easier said than done.
Hey Glo pony Im not getting at you it just annoys the crap out of me when people make statements that sound like facts when they are opinion albeit experienced opinion,
21st March 2013, 10:04 AM
Thankyou every one for the invaluable advice,its not a nice thing to watch.
I have other alpaca friends whos alpaca are droppping like flies with staggers on grassless paddocks that once had kikuyu.
Vet came today to register a stud alpaca and noticed i had alot of Paspallum in my lawn.I had been keeping the alpaca next to the house as its the only paddock with a bit of green..kikuyu of course..
cria a bit better and back in paddock a long way from house...I have another older alpaca showing signs so will keep on treating all i think until danger has passed.
Many many thanks LSB friends for the support.
21st March 2013, 11:57 AM
Mikethebike - it is indeed fact! There is plenty of research to support it if you Google. Check out TheHorse.com for starters.
I understand that rye grass is different to paspallum but they both cause endophyte/mycotoxin induced staggers. The only difference is acknowledging the source of toxins. It's the same toxin that causes hallucinations in LSD.
Cowvet's statement "They will bind the toxin that is in the GI tract but will NOT undo damage that has already occurred." sums it up perfectly! It's not good enough to wait until the animal is affected & then treat, as every episode causes further damage & makes them even more susceptible.
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