Born here at Cornell University in July 2012, Contender is one of our most adorable and memorable patients. He and his mom, Cereza, did well following his birth and returned home where he grew into a handsome young alpaca. However in January, after a particularly cold couple of days, he was seen straining to urinate. His owner, Carol, rushed him to Cornell along with his friend and companion, Abby. Although Contender exibited all the signs of a male animal suffereing from bladder or urethral stones, his friend Abby helped us to discover the true cause of his discomfort. When Abby also began straining to urinate during Contender's exam, we realized something else was going on. After testing and analysis, both alpacas were diagnosed with bladder inflammation ("cystitis"). We think that the combination of alfalfa that the alpacas were eating and the cold weather caused them to drink less water and may have resulted in the formation of struvite crystals in the urine. These crystals irritated the urinary tract and produced the signs we saw in both Abby and Contender. After rehydration with fluids and medications to relieve their pain, both were discharged and are happy and healthy at home. Infact, Contender recently was awarded "Reserve Color Champion" at the 2013 Best of the U.S. Alpaca Show in Columbus, Ohio. We are so proud of Carol and Contender, and we wish them all the best!