Tag Archives: health

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.


End of the Day Chores

28 Jan

After I finish chores, I get a short break until I do the end of the day chores.

That starts with preparing meds for Lily and Harley.

I dissolve meloxicam for Lily in a syringe because she wouldn’t eat it off a cracker with peanut butter.  Harley is thrilled with her peanut butter cracker.


In fact, she would eat my mittens that have a bit of peanut butter on them if I let her (no mittens this time because I can’t take cell phone pictures with mittens on).

Lily might be regretting her choice, but I’m not sure how I could get a cracker past Harley to give it to her now.

Lily (with Pistol behind)

The two little girls generally chase me out of the pen.  That’s mostly begging to see if I brought them treats.

Antigone and Cupid

Then I go shut the door for the birds.  I just noticed how much of their bedding they’ve destroyed.  I’ll have to get more in here before tomorrow’s horrible cold.

By the way, that is a brand new heated bucket because their old one quit working one evening last week.  Upkeep and replacing things is never-ending on the farm.

After the birds I trek across the barnyard and do one last check of Tony and turn his lights off for the night.

When I finish with all that, I can go in and relax!


22 Jan

I’ve mentioned that Tony has lost weight.  He was rather fat when he got here, and I didn’t worry too much when I put him out to pasture with the girls and he dropped some weight, but by September, I was concerned about him because along with dropping weight, he had diarrhea.

Tony Llama

I consulted with the ISU vet who was taking care of Pluto, and he was wormed and I gave that time to resolve the issue.  When it didn’t help, and he seemed to still be losing weight, I had the ISU vet who came for Aurora’s recheck also check Tony.  At that time, they did a fecal (it was fine) and he said he was at an ideal summer weight.


I did e-mail back and forth with the vet a little bit talking about nutrition and shared concerns that I still couldn’t get Tony to pick up weight, but he eventually responded by saying nutrition wasn’t his speciality and I didn’t hear from him again.  In the meantime, I’d moved Tony so I could monitor his poops and eating better.


I called the ISU field services and made an appointment for a recheck because I obviously had to do something else.  A new vet came out, and he had read the chart, but he assumed it was Aurora he was coming to see because Tony’s exam was so unremarkable that the previous vet didn’t see the need to even make a separate chart on him.

Tony and Aurora

That means we are starting over.  Of course, I got the “it’s usually worms” lecture.  I also got, “Your llama is thin.  Try pushing him to eat more.”  Really?  That’s what you went to vet school for seven years to tell me when I call because my llama is still losing weight despite everything I’ve tried?

They did take blood, and when he calls with the results from the blood work and fecal, I can hopefully move to the next stage and figure out what’s going on.

Sadly, I’m afraid it’s ulcers too.  It’s the same time of year.  It’s the same type of stress (new to the farm, new goat roomates, crazy weather).  In the meantime, I put a pen for him in the garage so I can give him a richer alfalfa hay and monitor his intake a bit better.  It’s also warmer for him.