Monday, 22 September 2008

A Stressful Day

Today was a day I’ve been putting off for some time; it was the day I administered the worming injections for the alpacas. Up to now I’ve been a wimp and got the vet to do them or used an oral version (for one of the 3 doses per year) but I’d decided that this time round I’d better get on and do it myself.

I’d been preparing the alpacas by getting them used to being caught and haltered using the CamelidDynamics technique I mentioned back in December. The training sessions stopped over the winter, as the ground was far too wet and have been sporadic over the summer but the alpacas remember well.

Even Dartagnan who was spitting all the time when he arrived allowed me to catch and put fly-repellent on him without fuss the second time I had to catch him.

Today was the day I could procrastinate no longer; the weather was warm but not too hot, there was no wind and the alpacas were really calm. Then the combine harvester arrived in a neighbouring field. I waited about half an hour and by then they were accustomed to the noise and in fact the general background noise masked anything else. I was also fortunate that the French air force were not out on one of their training sortie – they turn somewhere just passed me on their low level flights.
So with catch rope and wand, Dectomax, needle and syringe and a handful of granules to lure them into the catch pen, I took a deep breath and set off for the alpacas.

The granules did the trick and they were quickly shut into the catch pen and the first one caught. The Dectomax was to de given subcutaneously and the books all describe taking a pinch of flesh and lifting it away from the animal in order to make a tent into which you place the needle. So far so good, fleece parted to find clean flesh but could I get the skin to pinch into a tent … no I could not.

After about 5 minutes I eventually found an area where I could get the needle in and number one was done. And so it was with all the others, finding a tent of flesh was nigh on impossible but eventually I found somewhere on each that was flesh and not fleece. On the whole they were really calm, Dior decided to couch which made her easier to deal with as once on the ground she wasn’t going anywhere and Dartagnan made a bit of a fuss but he is small enough that I could hold him in place with my knee.

It took an hour to inject and check over the 6 of them but they were all really calm throughout more than could be said for me but it was actually much easier than I’d envisaged. Yes some blood was spilt but fear not, no alpacas were hurt in the process it was just mine. I managed to stab myself twice with the needle while trying to get the safety cap off – well at least I should be worm free for a few weeks.


Georgina said...

Deborah I don't know about alpacas, but can't you use syringe horse wormers? Debs x

dND said...

Hi Debs, I use a liquid one once per year but the Dectomax hits different worms and the SQ seems to work better - mainly because I don't end up wearing half the dose

softinthehead said...

Rather you than me! :)

Alan said...

People without livestock or with only a pet something don't really understand the stress. If you have kids you send them to the doctor. That's stressful, but the doc does the hard part. If you have a lot of livestock you get the vet to come spend the day. It's worth it. If you have a few...We learn to do all kinds of things to and for the creatures we love. Fortunately for me, goat wormer is oral, and I haven't had many calls for other injections (burning horns off, lancing boils, trimming hoof rot, castration, and other fun things, but not many shots.)

dND said...

Hi Sith, Glad the wedding went well and am now looking for the next update on the roof.

Hi Alan, Livestock farming is fun isn't it, I can add picking maggots off a chicken's bum and from alpacas to the list too! I think giving the injections will get easier but I will only be doing it twice a year. The stress comes from not wanting to hurt the animals but at the same time I know that if I don't get on and do it there is the distinct possibility they will die. A bit of a catch 22. The alpacas were really good and I hopefully didn't transmit too much of my nervousness to them, next time should be easier as I know I can do it.

Living the Dream said...

Hi Deborah, it sounds as though you did a brilliant job, well done, rather you than me. It is so good to have you blogging again and I expect it is good for you to have some time to yourself to catch up again isn't it?

Barbara Martin said...

When I bred horses and dogs I used to give them penicillin shots if they developed an infection due to a cut or a cold. It was cheaper and easier than taking them to the vet. Once you do the injection, the dread wears off.

Though horses are easier, you punch the spot with your fist then jab the needle into the muscle. If you have a quarter horse to do, you're doomed. Their muscles are hard when they're fit.