A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

November 2, 2007

Alpaca Face Pack Revisited

We have been trying out the “All Species Poultice” from Eagle Peak Herbals on our girl Chai.  Chai has an abscess on her bottom jaw line that may have been caused by a hay stem hay or some other foreign body working its way under her skin.   Chai is a hearty eater and often has her head buried in the hay and so I suspect that a hay stem may have started her abscess.

We have dealt with facial abscesses before on other alpacas.  They typically seem to spring up almost over night, one day your alpaca looks fine the next day there is a huge lump on its face.  Quite often the abscess will burst on it’s own but occasionally you will get one that has a thick wall and has to be lanced by your veterinarian.  We had a thick walled abscess on one of our girls a couple of years ago and the abscess wall was a good ¼” thick.

Chai’s abscess is not thick walled and once she had delivered Kanika we were able to drain and treat it.  We could have dealt with the abscess before Chai delivered Kanika, but by the time it surfaced she was close to her due date and we felt it better to let her have her cria before we started treatment.  I was also a little unsure if the All Species Poultice was safe to use during pregnancy.

I usually start off with a damp paper towel and clear up the area around the abcess making sure the opening to the abscess is clear of any crusting or blockage.  Quite often you will get a thick yellowish pus start to come out of the abscess at this point.  I try and remove all of the pus I can, being careful not to 1) Spread it over areas of the skin away from the abscess or 2) getting the pus on me or letting it fall to the floor.   Abscesses sometimes are caused by staphylococcus and the last thing you want to do is spread that infection to another area of the alpaca or to another alpaca or even yourself.   Wearing latex gloves while draining an abcess is a good idea and thorough washing of your hands once you have finished treating the abscess is recommended.

Once I have the abcess cleaned up I then apply the All Species Poultice.  The Poultice is sold in powder form to which you can add either water or a carrier oil (such as calendula oil).  The poultice mixes to a thick fine-grained mud that can then be applied to the alpaca.  You can then either allow the poultice to dry for 10 minutes and then wash it off or you can leave it on the alpaca until the next day.  We have been leaving the poultice on Chai until the next morning when we clean it off and start the whole process again.

What I particularly like about the All Species Poultice is that it sticks well to the skin and also that it draws out the pus from the abscess.  It makes it much easier to drain the abscess and the process is much less painful for the alpaca.  I have also noticed that the skin in the abscess area looks pink and healthy after using the poultice for a couple of days.

When applying the poultice I have also noticed that it seems quite soothing to Chai, she relaxes more and you can tell that the poultice is providing her with some relief.

So all in all I would consider the All Species Poultice a success, I think it will still be several days before Chai’s abscess is completely gone but in the meantime the poultice is very helpful in drawing out the pus from the abscess and additionally the poultice covers the area of the abscess and helps to keep dirt and debris out.



1 Comment »

  1. Interesting story. I have a 5 week old cria who I noticed 3 days ago had his jaw off set. Thought that I had somehow missed it at birth but when they came in for shearing found a huge absess on his jaw that was disguised by fleece. Half relieved that I hadn’t missed a birth defect as I do spend a lot of time just looking at them. We lanced and drained it and I am washing the cavity out regulerly with antiseptic as it goes in a long way. Now having read your piece I think I will poltice it between washouts – we had been allowing it to drain naturally. His jaw looks better already.
    What antibiotics did you use?
    Thanks for the ideas


    Comment by Belinda — June 15, 2010 @ 7:44 am

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