Treating Bloat or Belly Ache in Llamas


Discomfort in the abdomen may be colic (belly ache) or bloat.  Signs may be obvious discomfort, laying flat out on the side with neck stretched back, changing sides often, kicking at the abdomen, straining at the poop pile , and maybe producing dry looking "beans", or grinding the teeth.

Camelids may have numerous causes of abdominal discomfort or colic.  Signs of pain or colic may be pronounced and include active kicking or rolling.  More commonly though, signs are more subtle and include increased time in the kushed position, particularly with the hind legs extended to the side rather than directly underneath the animal.  They will often switch from side to side and may lie in lateral recumbency but not overtly roll.  When standing, if they have colic, they may have a hunched back posture when standing and may react to abdominal palpation with discomfort.  Often, the two primary causes of colic in camelids are enteritis and intestinal obstruction.

Treating Bloat in Llamas

from Ellen Prosser, Northeast Llama Rescue, Inc.

     The symptoms of bloat can sometimes be confused with the symptoms for choke/mega-esophagus.  To determine if your llama is experiencing bloat, you can gently palpate the abdomen - if it is tight, like an inflated rubber ball - it may be bloat.  If you are in doubt of the diagnosis, please consult your veterinarian.  Both bloat and choke can be life-threatening. 

     A helpful way to prevent bloat, especially when animals are turned out onto lush pasture is to keep out a pan of baking soda so that it is available to the llamas at all times.

     "One of our absolute top items in our medicine kit is extra strength antigas - any brand, generic, drug store brand.  It MUST say antigas, and I believe the active ingredient is simothicone.  We use it at the first sign of digestive upset, usually from mild hiccup like grunts to out and out thrashing sideways like they are going to die (bloat).  It's worked every single time we've used it.  It's on our info list for newbies.  It's like magic in how fast it takes effect. We use sixty CC's of the extra strength antacid/ antigas product by our local drug chain for an adult llama. Usually take care of things."

Doseage:  60 cc for adult animal

Also See ..... Stomach Distress


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