An alpaca was presented with a history of respiratory difficulty and death. Histology of the phrenic nerves and diaphragm revealed degenerative changes consistent with denervation atrophy, and a diagnosis of diaphragmatic paralysis was established. No gross or histological abnormalities were observed in the spinal cord or other organs. The etiology of the phrenic nerve neuropathy could not be determined. The need to examine phrenic nerves and diaphragm in camelids with respiratory distress is emphasized, as failure to examine these samples will preclude a diagnosis of diaphragmatic paralysis.