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!



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