• Dysuria due to Discospondylitis and Intervertebral Disc Herniation in a Male Alpaca (Vicugna pacos)

    Dysuria in camelids is usually associated with the presence of lower urinary tract disease such as urolithiasis. As another differential diagnosis, urine retention may be caused by neurological disturbances resulting from infections of the spinal cord, discospondylitis or trauma.More »
  • Fracture Management in Alpacas and Llamas

    Camelids are considered to be excellent patients for the treatment of orthopedic injuries. Clients will usually opt for treatment because of the relative high commercial value of most camelids. For these reasons, the veterinary surgeon has a full repertoire of internal and external fixation techniques to choose from when determining the ideal repair option. Complications to fracture repair are frequent and include lameness, osteomyelitis, malunion, delayed union, nonunion, sequestrum formation, and implant failure. When irreversible damage to the neurovascular bundle has occurred, limb amputation, with or without a prosthetic device, may be an alternative to euthanizing the patient.More »
  • Humerus Fractures in Llamas and Alpacas: Seven Cases (1998-2004)

    OBJECTIVE: To describe treatment and outcome of humerus fractures in llamas and alpacas. STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective study. ANIMALS: Llamas (n=4) and alpacas (3) with humerus fracture. METHODS: Medical records (January 1, 1998-August 1, 2004) were reviewed for small camelids with a humeral fracture. Retrieved data were signalment, history, physical examination and radiographic findings, surgical and medical treatment, and outcome. RESULTS: Humeral fracture occurred in 7 of 38 (18%) camelids admitted with fractures. Affected animals were aged from 1 month to 3 years old. Fracture configuration included long-oblique (n=4), short-oblique (2), and Salter-Harris Type II fracture of the proximal physis (1). One adult llama was managed by stall confinement and surgical repair was attempted in the other camelids: fixation by screws inserted in lag fashion (n=3), intramedullary pinning and fixation by screws inserted in lag fashion (1), rush pinning (1), and bone plating (1). A Velpeau sling was used for additional support in 3 animals. All fractures healed but temporary radial nerve paresis occurred in 3 animals. Limb shortening and permanent lameness occurred in the llama managed conservatively. CONCLUSIONS: Humerus fractures in small camelids are amenable to surgical repair which may offer better long-term outcome than medical treatment alone. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Surgical treatment of humerus fractures should have a good prognosis in llamas and alpacas. In select cases, minimally invasive techniques, such as rush pinning or fixation by screws inserted in lag fashion are sufficient for fracture healing.More »
  • MRI Evaluation of Spontaneous Intervertebral Disc Degeneration in the Alpaca Cervical Spine

    Animal models have historically provided an appropriate benchmark for understanding human pathology, treatment, and healing, but few animals are known to naturally develop intervertebral disc degeneration. The study of degenerative disc disease and its treatment would greatly benefit from a more comprehensive, and comparable animal model. Alpacas have recently been presented as a potential large animal model of intervertebral disc degeneration due to similarities in spinal posture, disc size, biomechanical flexibility, and natural disc pathology. This research further investigated alpacas by determining the prevalence of intervertebral disc degeneration among an aging alpaca population. Twenty healthy female alpacas comprised two age subgroups (5 young: 2–6 years; and 15 older: 10+ years) and were rated according to the Pfirrmann‐grade for degeneration of the cervical intervertebral discs. Incidence rates of degeneration showed strong correlations with age and spinal level: younger alpacas were nearly immune to developing disc degeneration, and in older animals, disc degeneration had an increased incidence rate and severity at lower cervical levels. Advanced disc degeneration was present in at least one of the cervical intervertebral discs of 47% of the older alpacas, and it was most common at the two lowest cervical intervertebral discs. The prevalence of intervertebral disc degeneration encourages further investigation and application of the lower cervical spine of alpacas and similar camelids as a large animal model of intervertebral disc degeneration.More »
  • Notes on Neck Injuries

    Number 1 on list is pain control. Use banamine at 1cc/100lb SQ. Can give twice a day. Two things with giving banamine--make sure they are well hydrated as it can affect the kidneys, and secondly, make sure they are eating and not having stomach issues. I believe we’ve been over cautioned about giving banamine in fear of stomach ulcers. Not that ulcers are not a concern, but if they are eating, etc, it's probably not as big of a concern. Plus, if pain not controlled, they won't eat. For hydration, make sure they are urinating.More »
  • Scapulohumeral Joint Luxation in Alpacas: 10 Cases (2003-2009)

    OBJECTIVE: To describe the clinical findings, treatments, and outcome in alpacas treated for scapulohumeral joint luxation (SHJL). DESIGN: Retrospective case series. ANIMALS: 10 alpacas. PROCEDURES: Medical records of alpacas with SHJL that were treated at 2 referral hospitals were reviewed. History, signalment, physical examination results, radiographic findings, treatments, complications, and outcome were evaluated. RESULTS: Records for 8 male and 2 female alpacas with 16 instances of SHJL were reviewed. Three male alpacas each had 2 recurrences of SHJL in the treated limb. The proportion of male alpacas treated for SHJL was significantly greater than the proportion of female alpacas treated for SHJL. Closed reduction was used in 2 female and 3 male alpacas; SHJL reccurred in the 3 males. Stabilization by use of a lateral extracapsular tension band suture technique was performed successfully in 4 male alpacas; in another male alpaca, reluxation caused by self-inflicted trauma occurred postoperatively. In 2 male alpacas, arthrodesis was performed but residual lameness remained 1 year after surgery. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: SHJL should be considered as a differential diagnosis in alpacas with thoracic limb lameness. Luxation may occur more frequently in males. A closed reduction technique may be used successfully to treat acute luxations. Extracapsular stabilization by use of the lateral extracapsular tension band suture technique was successful for treatment of recurrent SHJL and SHJL that could not be reduced via closed reduction.More »