Tips on Umbilical Cord Care for Newborn Crias

Umbilical Cord Care for newborn crias is an important consideration to plan for ahead of birthing season.

What, why and how?

After crias are born, you should spray the umbilical cord with an antiseptic solution in order to prevent infections from tracking up the umbilicus to the bladder and liver. Fortunately umbilical infections are quite rare in camelids compare to other farm animal species. However that could be because their owners are vigilant! Always make sure that you spray the entire surface of the umbilical cord 360 degrees around the stump. Don’t just spray from one side!

If you prefer to “dip” the umbilicus, use something like this teat-dipping cup with a non-return valve. Make sure you discard any used dip solution from the cup after use as it becomes contaminated. You therefore get a bit more wastage of solution with this method. Check out this link if you want to check out the teat-dipping cups on Amazon where you can buy if you wish – this was the cheapest I found *: https://amzn.to/3WwV4X9

Some people recommend treating the umbilicus 2-3 times daily for 2-7 days. Clearly this is not always going to be a practical suggestion but may be worth doing for any sick neonates, those that have failure of passive transfer, hospitalised neonates, and those that are spending increased time lying down.

If you keep alpacas and llamas due to give birth in the cleanest pastures, that will help to minimise exposure to harmful bacteria. When they are giving birth outside on grass in spring/summer during good weather, this will increase the chance that your crias get a good clean start to life. If dams need to be indoors to give birth, give them a clean indoor area or stall bedded with fresh, clean straw. You should avoid reusing these indoor birthing areas without cleaning between use.

What solutions can you use for dipping or spraying the umbilical cord?

Ideal qualities of antiseptic used for this purpose is that they should not be toxic to the tissues, be antibacterial, and hasten the cord-drying process. Chlorhexidine and iodine solutions are great for being antibacterial, but do not dry out the umbilical cord. Iodine should be a 2% solution. Be aware that you should NOT use scrubs for dipping an umbilicus. Scrubs contain detergents or foaming agents and these are designed for use on intact skin only as they will cause irritation to the tissues.

Super 7 Navel Spray is a really great alternative to standard antiseptics. It is used to dry out the umbilical cord after birth and therefore to help protect newborn animals from infections. This effective and completely safe formula has been developed strictly for the purpose of animal umbilical cord dry-out. The formulation contains ingredients that are safe for animals and the environment. It dries the umbilical cord up to 50% faster than other products. https://www.ukalpacavet.com/product/super-7-navel-spray/

[*The Amazon link above will take you to the product page on Amazon.co.uk. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases – essentially, if you pay after following this link, it won’t cost you any more, but Amazon gets a tiny bit less and I get a tiny percentage for letting you know about the product! Seems fair to me…hopefully it seems fair to you too!]

Sign up for our latest courses, resources and news Sign up