Dental Day on Rising Moon Farm
We have three llamas, hard-working guys that protect our flock from coyotes and any curious humans. We sheared Chachi, Zipper and Tucker last year, so they look better, (Thanks, Annie), but they still had ‘issues.’
We didn’t realize it, but llamas need to have their teeth trimmed.
Yowza. What to do? Then our friend Ann, a vet working for the University of Minnesota, suggested that a class of vet students could come to our farm and perform the llama dental work as a learning experience. We jumped at the chance.
The llamas, however, were less enthused. But their teeth were really bad, so we had to. I was occupied elsewhere, so Melissa took the photos and shared the experience. Here’s Chachi’s mouth.
Here’s Zipper’s mouth.
Because the llamas weigh between 350 and 400 pounds, and they don’t like to be touched, the vets gave them a gentle sedative. Even then, our guys didn’t want to settle down, so before the dental work, they wrapped a towel around the eyes, and like magic, the llama got all sleepy.
First step—mark where on the teeth you’re going to trim. Note the blue marks on the teeth.
Second step—put a black tube toward the back of the mouth so the animal will chew on that instead of on young vet fingers. (Note: llamas don’t have upper teeth in front—just a pad)
Third step—use a sort of small whirling grinder to trim the teeth, all the while squirting water on the teeth to keep them cool.
And once those teeth are nice and short, flossing is a good idea.
The vet students at work:
Here’s Zipper with his new teeth. Much better! (The ears back, however, mean he’s not a happy camper. Good thing he’s not a spitter.)
The llamas also had their hooves trimmed:
The more experience, the better, so the vet students checked the udders of all our sheep, and found one with active mastitis. Yikes. Antibiotics for that girl. They examined a lamb with a joint problem. They took a blood sample from a ram to have it checked for the scrapies gene.
We’d never had our ram tested for sperm count, so they did that as well. ***Please note: there are no photos of this procedure!*** They used an ejaculator to collect the sperm. (Gosh, so sorry I missed that.) Then the students used Melissa’s microscope to determine that Erik isn’t just okay fertile, he’s SUPER fertile.
Mid-afternoon the students left. We kept the animals by the barn for a few more hours to give the llamas time to feel better, and shake off their sedative. By evening, they were back out on pasture, munching grass with their fine new teeth.