This animal is gasping for breath, its lungs already destroyed by this disease, are now seriously compromised. This is not pretty.
This is the reality of tuberculosis - speeded up to 'end stage'.
Prior to the tuberculin antigen skin test jab, this alpaca appeared perfectly healthy. She was euthanased and found to have generalised TB. Dianne Summers tells us that she too had an alpaca react in this way:
"I had this happen on one of my animals and it is horrific when you experience it. He recovered fully the next day BUT as with all the others was found at postmortem to be riddled with TB".NB: Dianne also explains that on the video, when the owner describes an 'injection' he means the tuberculin antigen jab, given on day 1 of the intradermal skin test.
Dianne's small group of 28 alpaca owners who have experienced this in their animals, report 22 instances. In four cases, the animal either died or was euthanased on welfare grounds before the reading of the skin test, 72 hours later. All the animals in this group had appeared, as we described the animal on the video clip, perfectly healthy prior to the jab. All of the animals who experienced this reaction were subsequently found at post mortem, to have generalised tuberculosis. Of the 22, only 3 had failed the skin test. Most passed - if they were alive for it to be read. Of the animals remaining, some subsequently failed a blood test, some died and others were volunteered to AHO after showing signs of TB.
We are grateful to the the Alpaca TB Support group, for this information, and to Di Summers for patiently collating it. Ms. Summers would like us to add, that the importance of monitoring alpacas after a skin test should not be underestimated.
She strongly recommends that owners isolate (with a companion) any animals showing this type of reaction - even if they appear to have recovered. The data gathered thus far would indicate that this 'reaction' to an introduction of tuberculin antigen in the skin test, is far more accurate than the test itself. All the animals affected have proved to be riddled with tuberculosis, regardless of the measured result of the test.
The effect of Tuberculosis on lungs tissue is illustrated in this pm slide of alpaca lungs. Very little of the lung remains able to function: the examining veterinary pathologist estimated only about 20 per cent.
If you remember - and we do - the RSPCA, in a considerable underestimate of its descriptive powers, described tuberculosis in badgers as 'A slight wheeziness' helpfully adding that:
"In the few badgers that do have symptoms, they are wheeziness and loss of weight and condition. There may be some skin ulceration."
So that's OK then? OK for badgers to die, drowning in their own body fluids, - as long as that death is unseen and its route progress airbrushed?
Anyone still under the impression that tuberculosis - or consumption as it used to be called in human beings - is a small inconvenient blip, or that any mammal suffering its end stages is not actually 'suffering', needs a reality check.