QUESTION: Greetings. One of our older llamas lost his sight on Christmas day. The vet has not yet been able to determine why. Other than his blindness he appears healthy: eating, bowel movements, hearing etc. We have confined him to a 10 x 10 pen in the barn with permanently affixed water bucket, feed dish and hay rack. The pen has a door that leads to the outside where we've made a small 10 x 10 pen so he can enjoy the unseasonably nice weather we are having. He comes and goes freely between the two and with each day gets more confident. In the spring we will fix a larger outside pen for him. We also walk him for exercise. Our goal is to keep him comfortable and safe and to make sure he has a quality of life. I would appreciate hearing from anyone else who has had a similar experience. Any info and/or suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you, Cathy
RE: You are to be applauded for the careful attention to this senior animal. I haven't had a personal experience with this but I have heard of people attaching a bell to one of the other "buddy llamas" to enable the blind llama to follow the herd. He'd probably be happier in with the other llamas. Maybe we'll get some other suggestions here. Good luck with him.
RE: You didn't say what you were feeding them. Are you feeding them any type of pelleted or crumble llama feed? Along with some good quality grass hay, a llama supplement feed should keep their weights just fine. For weight gain in older, thin animals, I have had good success with shredded beet pulp moistened in water in addition to their regular diet. Also alfalfa cubes soaked in water to soften. I have also used Lixitinic, an iron supplement, to add to their feed for young and older animals - it has helped alot with weight gain.
RE: It's great that you're sharing your llamas out in public!! You're right, they don't seem to have alot of padding on their knees, but I don't think you're hurting their knees by asking them to kush on hard ground - especially if it is only occasionally. If they lay down regularly on pavement, you'll probably notice the fiber wearing off their knees, but it isn't hurting them. Remember, they originated from the mountainous areas of South America, so soft surfaces and lush pastures are a luxury.
RE: Yes, we use a leaf vacuum called Agri-Fab Mow-N-Vac. It can be pulled by a riding lawn mower or any other piece of equipment and has it's own gas motor. It has a fat hose that will vacuum up poop - just not real wet, sloppy stuff. It shoots it through a fan which pulverizes it into a nearly dry, very fine mixture. It has no odor and feels similar to a peat moss. We purchased ours from a Quality Farm & Fleet farm store. Here's a picture of the Mow-N-Vac. You can see the hose kit accessory at this site: Hose Accessory. It's really great.
RE: You should notice that the udder is filling with milk and also that the vulva is a bit swollen or enlarged and enlongated. The female will probably lay off by herself for a few days before delivery. When in labor, you may notice her visiting the poop pile often and straining - without any urination or poop. She also may be getting up and down and rolling some or possibly biting at her sides. These are all good signs. But, on the other hand, there are some that just seem to have their cria with no warning signs. They like to surprise you!!!
RE: My first thought goes to Meningeal Worm. This is a parasite that can be spread by white tailed deer and affects the nervous system. First symptoms are often seen in the hind quarters. If this is the case, your llama will need immediate veterinary treatment. You can read more about M-Worm and treatments here. This may or may not have anything to do with losing your llama's crias. I would suggest doing an IgG on any future crias to assure they have a good passive transfer of the immune system.
RE: Your 18 month old intact male is probably developing his desire and interest in breeding. If not gelded, he may try to breed the goats and possibly injure one of them. He will be a much better companion and guard animal for them if he is gelded and most likely will not have any desire to breed them whatsoever. And he now is an age where he can be gelded.
RE: Urolithiasis (stones in the urinary tract) is fairly common in goats and sheep, but not so common in camelids. And due to the urethra being smaller in males than females, this disease is seen in males rather than females. Stones are generally caused by an imbalance of calcium and phosphorus in the diet. There is a proper calcium/phosphorus ratio that should be maintained in the diet of camelids - this can be checked by drawing blood and doing a CBC. Feeding the proper type of hay for your area and a supplement grain formulated for llamas can help keep the calcium and phosphorus ratio in proper balance. For example: Alfalfa hay is high in calcium and grains are high in phosphorus. When the phosphorus is too high for the amount of calcium, the excess phosphorus, which is absorbed into the blood stream from the intestine, is thrown away in the urine. When the phosphorus gets too high in the urine, it forms crystals which have very sharp edges and appear like tiny grains of sand. These tiny grains can pack into stones and plug up the urethra, the tube that takes the urine from the bladder to the outside. If the urethra becomes plugged from the stones, the urine often leaks out into the tissues, or the bladder ruptures. Since urine is toxic to the animal, the llama may die of urea toxicity.
RE: It's a good possibility that the ears will come upright by themselves with time. But, not to take a chance, I would suggest that you offer them some support as they grow and strengthen this first month just to encourage them to stay upright. Even with support, some ears do not straighten up. Whether it is genetic or not is really an unknown question - unless it is happening from the same animal time after time. I would guess that almost all farms have seen it from time to time. Sometimes the cause is the way the ears were folded in utero. More about Tipped Ears
RE: You're right, it's probably not heat stress. They probably just had a meeting of the minds over who was going to be "herd queen" for the moment. When they spit at each other or even just start to spit, they get a sour mouth which results in them standing there for 15 minutes or so with their mouths hanging open, lips dangling, and drooling like they've just disjointed their entire jaw. They normally will try to pick up some hay or straw to hold in their mouth to sweeten it up. Actually, I think it's just one of those behaviors to panic their new human owners!!! There are a couple of other "panic behaviors for new owners" mentioned on this page.
RE: It would be difficult to determine the cause unless he was examined by your vet. It probably should be kept moistened and softened with some Vaseline or Desitin - or Vitamin E oil. One source of crusty areas can be mites. They can show signs (crusty areas and hair loss) around the face and you may see the eggs (or nits) on hair follicles. This can be treated with a shot of Ivermectin or Dectomax, but you should still soften the areas with a cream. To be sure of the cause, you should see your vet.
RE: What an unfortunate and sad incident! Obviously the cria is not ready to be on its own, so you will have to do some supplemental feeding in order to keep up the cria's weight gains. You can feed it regular homogenized whole milk just from the grocery - not low-fat. He will probably take a full 8 oz. bottle 3-4 times a day, but if you feed him the last bottle late at night, you won't have to get up in the middle of the night. If he wants more than the 8 oz., it would be alright to give it to him. To add more fat to the milk, you could add a tablespoon of regular cooking oil. Warm the bottle a little, but not too hot. And for more nutrition, after he gets used to taking the bottle, you can add a couple of ounces of plain yogurt mixed in with the milk. It may be somewhat difficult to get the cria to take a bottle now, but you'll just have to be insistent and keep trying until he gets used to it. Once it takes the bottle, he'll probably go after it rapidly and the feedings won't take long at all. You want to be sure not to over handle this male cria as it may alter his behavior somewhat. If he gets taking the bottle OK, I would suggest that you make a substitute Mom using wooden saw horses (for the legs) with a board between them for the body. Make a hole in the center board where you can insert the bottle upside down so the cria can get it without you holding it. You could even put some llama wool over it to make it seem more real. This would enable the cria to take a bottle but he wouldn't associate taking it from a human. And you wouldn't have to stand and hold the bottle. You could even make spots for two bottles. The only other option is if you have another nursing female that will allow him to nurse also. Or if you could get a goat that would allow him to nurse.
|Page 1||Page 2||Page 3||Page 4||Page 5||Page 6||Page 7|
|Home||Herd Sires||Dams||For Sale||Cappy's Place|
|About Llamas||Vet Corner||Llama Discussions||Barnyard Hints||Links|
|Youth & 4-H||Events||Fun & Games||Books||Gifts & Art|