What is going on? 49

You can’t be sure what you will find the next time you go down to the alpaca corral.

This week I found a young female with a limp – was it time to call the vet or could I deal with it – and what was I actually dealing with?

Here is a simple approach I took to assess and do a differential diagnosis of her condition. Hopefully it might prove useful to you too should you discover something unexpected when you next visit your alpacas.

General points

  • Are you out of your depth already and need a vet?
  • Do you need someone to help you?
  • have you got everything you need? (e.g. headtorch or disposable gloves, or water)
  • ———————————
  • Separate off the animal for examination if possible.
  • Small spaces are better than large – use a catch pen constructed with alpaca hurdles (taller than sheep hurdles).
  • ———————————
  • Start with the obvious – blood, pus, wound, thorn
  • Clarify the specific location of pain or problem – knee, foot, joint, pad etc.
  • Be gentle and move the joints checking for a response
  • keep calm
  • ———————————
  • if not severe or acute, can you wait and observe later
  • do they need to be ‘kept in’ with a companion
  • think when it started and if there was anything different at that time – e.g. hedge trimming

Take aways

  1. Am I out of my depth and do I need assistance?
  2. What can I do to check the nature of the problem and narrow down its source? Start simple.
  3. What can I rule out?
  4. Next steps? e.g. watch and wait; arrange for a vet visit; ask someone for advice.


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