A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

July 22, 2008

One Lump or Two

Over the last few days we noticed that our alpaca Queen had something going on with her jaw.  The first sign was that she was not closing her lips properly but kept them slightly open, then some swelling started to appear on her jaw line and that swelling has grown quite rapidly.


Queen has had problems in this area before.  About two years ago she had a tooth abscess that we treated first with high dose antibiotics.  The abscess showed a little improvement but there was still a lot of swelling there.  An x-ray revealed that there was not any bone involvement at that time.  Sometimes with a tooth abscess the bone gets eaten away by the bacteria that is also causing the abscess causing further complications. 


When Queen had not responded to the high dose antibiotics our veterinarian suggested putting in an antibiotic implant.  The procedure was quick, Queen was given a sedative (to which she was very receptive) our vet made an incision in the area of the abscess, drained the abscess put in the implant and quickly sewed Queen up again.  The implant was left in for three weeks and then removed.  The removal was as quick and easy as the initial implant and the abscess by that time had gone.


Our vet had warned us that we may see further problems in that area of Queen’s jaw, and last year we did see some swelling but it soon went down again.  This year however the swelling was rapid and quite significant, getting to golf ball size very quickly.  By Sunday evening chores the swelling had gone from being hard in texture to becoming soft and pliable and so we felt that we may need to get it lanced by the vet.


We already had an appointment with the vet for today.  Some of the alpacas at our farm our returning to their owners and need brucellosis and TB tests for the health certificate in order that they may travel, so we called and asked if it would be okay if we could bring Queen in too to have her lump examined.   


I guess Queen heard us making the arrangements for a trip to the vet as by yesterday afternoon the lump had ruptured.  (Knowing Queen as we do we think she decided to take care of business herself rather than have the vet do it!).  We cleaned the area and the hole in the lump carefully, flushing it out with some bentadine solution.  We then dried it off and applied some wound dressing to help treat the area, keep it free from flies and yet still allow it to remain open to drain.  Queen will still be going to the vet today, just to have him cast his expert eye on the problem and advise us as to how to continue to treat it.


I suspect that for many days to follow we will be draining and irrigating Queen’s lump, but I am glad that it ruptured to the outside rather than into her jaw area which would be difficult to treat.  A course of antibiotics for Queen will also be quite likely.


All being well the lump will gradually diminish and we will not see any further instances of it.  The mere presence of the lump though does make me wonder if Queen may be a little run down, another thing to discuss with the vet.  Queen is in her middle years, nursing a large cria and we think expecting another cria and so it is possible that she could be run down and need some extra TLC for a while.   Nothing less than treatment fit for Queen I think!




  1. Hi I have an Alpaca that has an abcess also. The vet has given me medicine but it does not seem to be affecting the area. The vet suggested that he bone was infected and a long term treatment might cure it but his has not happened. Any suggestio ns? Than ks

    Comment by Meredith — November 9, 2013 @ 4:28 pm

    • Hello Meredith, Where is the abscess on your alpaca? Is it on the jawline or somewhere else. Abscesses can be difficult to treat, some of them just do not want to go away. Our vet has used an antibiotic implant with good success. He makes a little pellet that contains antibiotic and surgically implants it in the area where the abscess is. This has worked well for abscesses on the jawline from either being poked with a piece of hay or having an abscessed tooth. We also once had a girl have a bone abscess in her leg and that did require a high dose of antibiotics for several weeks but it did go away. Hope this information helps, if you have more questions please feel free to contact me. Rosemary

      Comment by alpacalady — November 11, 2013 @ 9:14 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: