Thursday, April 8, 2010

The vet visits the big animals

So maybe you're wondering what happened with all the other animals on the day Dr. Sarah, our small town vet, came to visit? Despite the Reggie-the-goat-scur-emergency, and no matter what he may have told you, it wasn't just a Reggie day. The llamas and donkeys needed some attention, too.

The llamas got their annual vaccination against CD&T (clostridium/tetanus). You can see by Toni's face how pleased she was about this:

Dolly, as usual, took everything in stride:

There's no picture of Kai because she is, without a doubt, the most intense and feisty llama of the trio. She spent most of her injection time rearing up on her hind legs and spinning in circles trying to get away from Dr. Sarah. Not fun.
But, we got it done and the llamas are now protected for another year. Phew.

We discussed Toni and Kai's skin condition again. The last time she was out, Dr. Sarah had given them all shots of Dectomax for any internal/external parasite problem. Since then, I had purchased Betadine, washed their backs thoroughly and applied a product called Nu-Stock, purported to be effective against pasture fungus, rain rot, ringworm and saracoptic mange:

I've not seen any improvement as a result of these treatments and the llamas trust me even less now that haltering them up generally means I'm going to touch them and do weird things to their hairless backs. They. do. not. like. this.

Dr. Sarah did say that, while it is possible that they are suffering from some kind of mineral deficiency that began a long time before the girls ever came to me, veterinarians are starting to see more and more llamas and alpacas with this condition. Skin tests sent to the lab return nothing conclusive and treatments are hit and miss. Finding a diagnosis for this is apparently much like finding a needle in a haystack.

I will do more research on mineral deficiencies and possibly give Kai and Toni a shot of long-acting antibiotic based on the advice of Claire, who has a llama with a very similar skin condition who has since made a very good recovery.

When Sarah and I were finished with the llamas and I took off their halters to let them out of the barn, they didn't run off in their normal "every-gal-for-herself" high-tailing style, rather, they hung around, quietly watching what was going on with everyone else still locked in the barn:

Now it was Chester and Beau's turn. The donkey boys were due for their Equine 5-way and West Nile virus shots. Here is Dr. Sarah loading up her syringes and Chester watching her every move. He's always watching what everyone is doing around him, even when he's pretending not to:

After his shot, he, too, like the llamas, was released to the other side of the fence. But he still watched Dr. Sarah's every move:

Next up was Beau. He got his shots and was very brave about the whole thing. Then it was time to check his eye. It had been dripping and tearing excessively. Dr. Sarah was concerned about a possible ulcer, so she squirted a fluoroscine stain into his eye so she could take a look. Anything abnormal on his eye would stay bright green:

Fortunately, she saw nothing out of the ordinary, which left her to conclude that his problem was a clogged tear duct:

She was going to try to flush the duct so that it would drain freely again and got the tubing ready for the procedure:

Chet commiserated with Beau through the fence:

The llama ladies continued to provide backup support,though they had moved down the hill a bit since Chet had joined them:

This was the scene fifteen minutes later when Dr. Sarah couldn't find Beau's gland: Dr. Sarah was on the phone with the clinic, Beau was waiting patiently, and Chester kept nagging me to explain to him what was going on:

We found out a day later that the nasolacrimal duct in a donkey is located in a much different place than in a horse. See all the important, new stuff Dr. Sarah is learning about DONKEYS by coming to visit me?

Just in case anyone is interested in the location of the nasolacrimal duct in donkeys:
"The rostral aperture of the naso-lacrimal duct of the donkey is located in a different area of the nostril flare than that of the horse. In the horse, the opening can be found at the muco-cutaneous junction on the floor of the nostril, slightly medially. In the donkey, the opening of the naso-lacrimal duct is located laterally on the flare of the nostril, and is slightly dorsal. It is usually necessary to use a penlight and light sedation to locate this opening because of the very small size of the nostril of the donkey and his resentment of its handling."

Before she left, Dr. Sarah provided me with something new for my animal first-aid/medicine kit:

This is a potent, non-narcotic equine painkiller with anti-inflammatory and fever-reducing properties - good to have on-hand for any of those unexpected emergencies when a vet can't immediately get to you.

I'm thinking I really should have become a vet.


  1. You are learning so much from mothering all your critters . . . they are so lucky to have you. You have a big and caring heart, so perfect to enable you to do what you do so well.

    I'm sure Dr. Sarah loves coming to Critter Farm just so she can learn even more than she learned in vet school about donkeys!

  2. That's a beautiful picture where the green ooze is running from the eye. I wish I had all of your animals!

  3. Wow. I learn so much reading your blog. I hope all are healing and will be well soon.

  4. Wonderful post - I was fascinated by the description of the location of the duct on your donkey. I would've never been able to get thru the sciences to become a vet, but I do enjoy working with livestock. I'm glad everyone is up to snuff on their shots, etc. Thanks for sharing all of this with us.

  5. How are Beau's feet these days? Your vet visits are always so interesting!

  6. You would have made a great one too Danni! This is a lot of work for one day! Hope everyone is relaxed and maybe just maybe no need for Dr. Sarah to come back for one more year!

  7. And I bet you would have been a great vet too. You take such good care of your critters. It's amazing what we can learn just by watching and doing little things to cure their ailments, even if just for the moment until the vet comes. I know I have learnt so much just by volunteering at the Donkey Sanctuary. And I learn more and new things every time I go.
    Keep up your good work!

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. How is Reggies little had doing? The other day I ran into a blog where a gal had crochetted a cap for her little goats. Check it out. If you would like one and dont crochet, let me know.

  10. Hmmmm, I know Llama's have become recently become popular. The vet said that she is seeing more and more of the mentioned problem. Hmmmmm, Where are Llama's native to? What kind of vegetation is in the area that may not be where they are now being located? Those are the type of questions I would be asking. I would being doing research on thier native enviroment and what all it entails from plants, soil, water, etc.....I do not have a Llama and I know nothing about them but, I would be doing the above mentioned research.

  11. nobody likes shots around our farm, either. In fact, the goats pout for the rest of the day and let the entire county know that they are quite possibly being murdered. I have some loud goats, too.
    You are so lucky to have your vet who not only comes out but is willing to learn and teach you as well. No vet in our area deals with goats. I have to go to the local goat people for any help.

  12. Your Dr. Sarah seems to have very good bedside manners. Such a mystery about the girls' skin condition. I've been seeing a product advertised on RFD-TV ad nauseum that purports to be the answer to all skin conditions on all animals - Vetericyn. It's based on some new fancy, schmancy technology. I've checked out their website - might be worth a try.

  13. "light sedation to locate this opening because of the very small size of the nostril of the donkey and his resentment of its handling."
    It's funny--the whole explanation was very vet-speak until the 'his resentment of its handling'.
    I'm sorry the llama girls are still undiagnosed, but it sounds like they are healthy as horses despite it.
    The donkey boys look like they did well, despite Beau's eye treatment. :)
    Dr. Sarah is learning alot! She ought to pay you.

  14. What a day for you and the critters! Did the girls attempt any spitting? I'll bet you're really glad that's over. :)

  15. Sounds like she is a great vet for your animals!

  16. Your posts are just like reading a good want to reread it again and again..and can't put it down..
    Glad all important things are taken care of there, by such efficient people..
    job well done

  17. Wow. I'd be so stressed after a day like that. I'm too empathic when it comes to 'stuff' being done to my animals. I take on all their anxiety and I think I end up more exhausted after it's all over.

    The fact that they all hung around after they were attended to, leads me to believe that they're getting a little more used to be handled by the vet.

    What a day!

  18. wow that was a busy visit by the Vet...sounds like you got your moneys worth...

    the first photo on this as they say ..priceless...if that isn't two donkeys smiling for the photo I dont know what it is!!

  19. You are such a good llama, donkey, chicken,goat and dog mama! :) Ah yes, Banamine. Always keep it on hand here. Along with a lot of other stuff. Hmmm, skin condition is baffling. Curious to see what works. Hmmmm.

  20. donks are inscrutable, aren't they?

  21. I really love this picture/documentaries on your animails they're quite informative as well as fun (love the lady laamas - what a clique-LOL and Chester - oh my what a sweetheart, well at least from the pictures) Thanks so much for sharing. LOVE THEM.

    Hope Reggie's doing good too!

    Chester FAn

  22. The more you do the more you learn. Soon we will be calling you for advice.

  23. I wanted to be a vet too, but I am too tender-hearted and would freak out if a severely injured animal crossed my path!

    Sounds like you have a great vet there. By the way, I've heard of goat people keeping Banamine on hand for emergency situations too, so looks like that drug will work double duty for you!

    Enjoy your weekend.

  24. What a wonderful learning experience this has been. Your patience and love for animals would have made you a great vet. I hope everyone is feeling better now.

  25. I hope everyone had refreshments (got a treat) after the show was over. I bet you and doc were ready for a glass of iced tea.

  26. That was a very full day indeed! And I love that all the animals were trying to be supportive of one another. Waiting around to see how everyone was doing....even if it was just to make sure nothing else was gonna happen to them! :-)
    I think every single day has to be some kind of learning day when you have a farm full of critters.
    Youre a fantastic critter mama....

  27. I think I should become a vet too. Not many know much about goats around here.

  28. I think that you would make an AWESOME vet!! You are so great with animals - Sometimes I think you have an actual ability to "talk" to them!

  29. I'm really enjoying your blog.

    Banamine is a must-have staple in our first aid kits for the critters. We keep kits in each truck and the big trailer as well. Banamine is used extensively to help relax the muscles in a horse that is colicking. A dose of banamine has saved many horse's lives when the vet couldn't get there immediately.

    Thanks for your great posts.

  30. As alwyas I am fascinated by the antics on your farm! I used to work so closely with all the types of animals you have and I miss it so much! I cannot wait until we get around to filling up our fields and barns! I was wanting to pass on a blog award to you (it is on my blog - today's post) for letting me enjoy all the animal antics and get my fill until the real thing!

  31. Interesting visit with the vet - nice to know one is intelligent enough to ask for help when they don't know! I have nothing to gain by this link
    when you mentioned the skin issue - we have had incredible benefit with our dogs on Missing Link - something about the ground flax and minerals really does help skin heal and grow in a pretty coat. Our acupuncturist first told us to use it for our animals when she began using it for her dog's "hot spot" which wouldn't heal even with medication. Hope it might help - certainly is worth a try - poor beautiful creatures when something is wrong they depend on us to help. Bless you and enjoy all those critters - they are a challenge and a joy!


I ♥ it when you leave a comment.