Archive | 4:19 pm

Tony’s Treatment

5 Feb

I’m lucky enough to have livestock vets and Iowa State Veterinary hospital near me.  But I tell ya, it is hard to find a good llama vet.  Sadly, the amazing vet who treated Aurora last year left Iowa State.

I was not happy with the vet that came to see Tony in October.  It took forever before he told me the results of the worm test.  Then I tried talking nutrition with him (I learned from the copper deficiency with the goats).  He suggested a protein analysis on my hay, so it was a bit before those results got back to me, and when I shared the results by e-mail, it took the vet a while to respond.  Then his answer was, “I am not a forage expert.”  I begged for help, and he ignored me.  No “call for an appointment and we can do further testing” or anything of the sort.  He just didn’t respond to the e-mail.

Then there was the vet who came two or three weeks ago.  He was worthless.  He unilaterally dismissed the worm test that Tony had with the first vet.  He was completely fixated on worms (yes, that needs to be checked and treated) to the exclusion of thinking of any other possibility.  He actually told me the blood work indicated parasites.  This was a blood panel that is not a test for parasites.  When I questioned him, he backtracked and said the test showed anemia, and it could be caused by other things, but that has not been his experience.  In the hundreds of llamas he’s treated, it’s almost always parasites.

I actually had to yell at the man to convince him that the llama was not thin because the goats were pushing him out of the food.  He did not want to consider anything other than parasites until waiting three weeks later after the worm test was repeated to see if the wormer was effective.  That has nothing to do with diagnosing the llama.  He also tried telling me to switch Tony’s feed and give him a sheep sweet feed.  Even with a healthy llama you shouldn’t make a sudden change in diet, but when they are run down and in bad shape, that would be stupid.  The proper thing to do would be to give some vitamin B and slowly make a change to the diet.

I tried to point out that sometimes worms are not the diagnosis.  They are secondary, and I mentioned that parasitism is listed as a symptom in the Merk Veterinary Manuel for copper deficiency in goats.  He agreed with me (actually, that is the absolute only thing I said that he did not argue and mansplain), but then he said the Merk Manual had all kinds of problems.  When he told me that if you give a goat minerals specific for the species, then copper deficiency should never be a thing, if I could have reached through the phone to strangle him I would have.

goats basking

Somehow after my attempt to point out that you can’t focus exclusively on parasites, he tried using some kind of analogy about shooting a piece of paper that I still have no idea what he was trying to say.  After telling me a couple of times that I could find a different vet to treat Tony if I didn’t like how he was doing things, he did say if I wanted to throw my money away, he’d prescribe the ulcer medication for Tony.  Unfortunately, he prescribed what I call a “placate the crazy lady” dose that would not have been enough to do anything.

file photo

I decided to take his advice, and I called my local vet.  She got the records from Iowa State, I stalked the vet who treated Aurora and e-mailed her (and bless her for responding quickly) at her new university, and she said she’d be happy to talk to my vet, and that means, that I finally have a good treatment plan for Tony.  Keep in mind, I’ve been trying to get good vet help for this llama since October 5th.

I am beyond frustrated, but finally he’s had the meds and vitamin B and he’s eating.  I am optimistic that he will be able to recover, but I am still so mad I’d be spitting if I were a llama.