19-year-old alpaca dies Thursday at Brevard Zoo after battling chronic kidney disease

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A 19-year-old alpaca died Thursday after battling chronic kidney disease for several years and recently struggling to walk, Brevard Zoo said in a statement Friday.

Carletta, who came to Brevard Zoo in August 2008 with her son, Casper, and fellow alpaca Rosita, was considered geriatric, zoo officials said in a statement.

Carletta, a 19-year-old alpaca at Brevard Zoo, died Thursday.
Carletta, a 19-year-old alpaca at Brevard Zoo, died Thursday.

Carletta dealt with chronic kidney disease, which staff managed by monitoring her bloodwork quarterly and urine values monthly since her diagnosis in October 2019. She also had a chronic inflammatory response. The zoo's veterinary team believed this may have been caused by her kidney disease but has not confirmed it yet.

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As a geriatric alpaca, she was given regular quality of life assessments. Zoo staff checked regularly on her comfort and health. Recently, she began to exhibit "abnormal behaviors, including difficulty walking," zoo officials said in a statement.

The issues worsened in the past few weeks despite pain management. The animal care team ultimately decided euthanasia was the most compassionate option to prevent further suffering.

Her keepers described her as sweet, gentle and calm, saying she loved to walk through the sprinkler in the zoo's Barnyard. Em Waitt, one of Carletta's keepers, said the alpaca never got all the way in the kiddie pool but often enjoyed sitting halfway in it.

Carletta, a 19-year-old alpaca at Brevard Zoo, died Thursday.
Carletta, a 19-year-old alpaca at Brevard Zoo, died Thursday.

Carletta lived in the Barnyard with many other animals, including armadillos, goats and the other alpacas. One resident, a chicken named Penny, could often be found hitching a ride on Carletta's back.

“She will be greatly missed,” Waitt said. “We will be giving Rosie lots of love and attention because she and Carletta spent a lot of their time together for many years.”

Finch Walker is a Breaking News Reporter at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Walker at 321-290-4744 or fwalker@floridatoday.com. Twitter: @_finchwalker

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This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Geriatric alpaca remembered at Brevard Zoo