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Saturday, September 14, 2013

An Alpaca with a Broken Leg

During a farm visit yesterday, as we shuffled people from one pen to the next, I noticed one of our ladies was just standing still, letting people pet her.  We have some very friendly alpacas, but all of the alpacas were shifting into different areas and she was not with the group.

I walked over to her and Sweet Marie's whole body was quivering, her front leg dangling a couple of inches above the ground.  We escorted the group of people out of the pens into the other pastures.  I continued with the tour while James attended to Sweet Marie, calling the vet and giving 2 ccs of Banamine.

After the group was gone, I gave my full attention to the injured alpaca.  She was unable to walk, so James and I picked up this bigger girl weighing in at 195 and carried her into the barn, where she refuse pellets and just stood there.  Eventually, she was able to lay down until the vet arrived.

There he wrapped her leg and cast it. The break was just below the knee and very severe.  With a light sedative, she laid her head in my lap as the doctor and technicians secured the cast up to the arm  pit.

In 30 minutes, the cast was set and with a group of alpacas as moral support around her, she lay there trying to get her bearings.  After an hour, Sweet Marie was able to sit up, with the broken leg sticking straight out.  Eventually, we helped her rise.  Again we carried her into a smaller pen, where she will be jailed for the next 2 months.  

We put her food and water just below head level, as eating off of the ground is difficult.  As the pain subsides and she regains her mobility, eating became a less difficult chore.

We have only had one other broken leg on the property - the same alpaca with the back right leg.  Go figure.  We assume this has to due with some form of mineral processing or deficiency.  We offer free choice alpaca mineral in several areas of the barn, so access is not an issue.  Some of us are just more prone to certain issues than others.

I am happy to report that after 6 months, Sweet Marie was released for the first time yesterday without her cast. She is strong, though still favors the leg which is a good thing.  We want her to protect it until she has her strength back.  Alpacas often heal quickly we are happy to report she will continue to live a long, healthy life.

We are an alpaca farm with 150 quirky alpacas, 10 enthusiastic employees and thousands of amazing alpaca products. After 15 years of experience, we offer hand crafted alpaca products from local knitters, crocheters and weavers - including hats, scarves, blankets as well as high-tech alpaca socks and fabrics. We also sell composted alpaca manure as a rich fertilizer. Alpacas of Montana is a fully vertically integrated alpaca farm and we love designing high quality alpaca products.