Sunday, October 7, 2012

Alpaca Tooth Abscess

Alpaca Tooth Abscess



On occasion, you will begin to see a bulge on the lower jaw of an alpaca.  Usually it starts the size of a marble and can grow from there.  These are dangerous because tooth abscesses can infect the tooth, weaken the bone and potentially break the jaw.

Older camelids: This is usually caused by a tooth abscess. To determine if that is the case, put your finger(s) (carefully) into the mouth between the cheek and the gum where the abscess is. What do you feel? Swelling? Nothing? or can't tell.  If that is difficult to do... feel outside the jaw above the abscess.
It's best if you can find out if this is related to the teeth before you visit a vet.
If it is a tooth problem...or at least as best you can tell. You are going to have to see a vet to take care of it.   Oftentimes, we are prescribed a  shot of micotil, 1 cc per 100 lbs, and 14 days of pills ISONIAZID (3 per day).  Use an animal pill dispenser to administer the medication.

Young Camelids:
If it is not part of a tooth, more than likely can handle the issue by yourself, at least initially.
  1. Use a wet warm/hot clean rag to hold over the abscess area. Do this until it softens up. Begin moving and breaking the abscess.
  2. When you do you will get a lot of white goo coming out.. This is white blood cells and are there to attack the infection.

  • Clean it out, you should see some 'raw' red color in the abscess hole. You can use gauze and saline solution to help you. Avoid using alcohol!
  • When it's clean, squirt some Betadine (or most any good anti-bacteria solution) in there to coat the area good.  Avoid using alcohol!
  • Give a penicillin shot at 5cc/100 lbs, SubQ.
  • Repeat 1 through 4 everyday for 5-7 days.

  • Towards the 4th day you should start seeing significant improvement. The abscess 'hole' should start filling in and become less deep. And producing less and less white blood cells. At this point you can reduce steps 1-4 perhaps every other or every third day. Until it completely heals up.  

    There may be some excess skin around the abscess and you think you might trim that up -  But don't.   If you feel you absolutely need to trim it up, go see your vet.