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 2. Alpaca Healthcare & Nutrition
 Swollen lower leg
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71 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2008 :  11:26:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello everyone,
I have an 8 month old cria who we noticed to be limping. Upon further inspection I noticed some swelling in one lower leg (one two and about 3-4 inches up the leg) and both pasterns were calloused, dry and cracked.
We took her to the Vet and it was determined that because of the skin problems, she probably had an infection. So she was started on Penicillin for 6 days along with ointment to the dry areas.
After the course with the antibiotics, she hasn't got any better. So now we have her on stronger antibiotics and the swelling isn't going down at all (only 2 day into the new drug), the Vet says the next course would be an xray. We know the leg isn't broke (she does walk on it), so what would an xray do?
The swelling seems to be localized to one toe and up the leg about 3-4 inches. Last night when I felt it, it was warm (which would indicate infection). I tried looking at the bottom of the toes and I don't see anything different there, no cracks or foreign objects.

What would any of you do? Please I am so worried about this girl.

Thanks so much,
Christine Fox
Fox's Funny Farm
Glidden, WI

Christine Fox
Fox's Funny Farm
(Where alpacas rule!)
Glidden, WI


4245 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2008 :  11:58:30 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'd X-ray.
Yes, you can walk on a broken leg. The warmth may also be caused by soft tissue injury, could be caused by a fracture.
I'd follow your vet's advice

Rick & Pati Horn
All American Alpacas
35215 Avenida Maņana
Murrieta, Ca. 92563
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749 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2008 :  12:53:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit julieandken's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Christine,
Is it safe to assume that your cria is otherwise behaving normally?
Eating, no lethargy, fever etc?
An x-ray still might be needed to rule out a hairline non displaced fracture (as Rick said). Also it might show a foreign body, or even infection such as an osteomyelitis which one of our little guys recently had on his jaw.
If the swelling limping, tendernes and warmth aren't getting better on antibiotics after 48 hours it's time to go to plan B.

Julie and Ken Rosenfeld, MD
Renaissance Ridge Alpacas
Mount Aukum, CA
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71 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2008 :  1:25:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the fast replies.
Yes, my girl's behavior has been normal, besides the limping.
I will get her to the Vet for an xray asap.

Christine Fox
Fox's Funny Farm
(Where alpacas rule!)
Glidden, WI
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629 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2008 :  3:34:49 PM  Show Profile  Visit pdhmaine's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Had I asked the vet to come out and x-ray the leg of one of my 9-month-old girls who was limping, AND had I put her on stall rest to limit her using the leg until we knew what was happening, I would have saved $13,000+ in Vet Hospital bills.

We figured my girl was kicked off by her mama (cracking her radius and ulna) when I put her back in with the rest of the females after 6 weeks of weaning. She was limping, but later x-rays showed the leg was beginning to heal. One day she whirled around to play with one of the other crias, and collapsed in pain. By the time the vet got out it was 5:00 PM on Friday. The vet immobilized her leg and I piled her into the back of my Saab wagon for the 2 hour drive to Tufts. After-hours examinations cost more, as does a 7-hour surgery to screw the hardware in place, plasma and blood transfusions, and a week of monitoring . . . .

Stall rest and an x-ray are your best bet right now!

Pamela Harwood
Longwoods Alpaca Farm, LLC
135 Main Street
Cumberland, ME 04021
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670 Posts

Posted - 02/18/2008 :  04:15:49 AM  Show Profile  Visit vlyons's Homepage  Reply with Quote
well before you pay for an xray, ask the vet to carefully examine the foot for a foxtail, which is the seed head of a grassy weed. foxtails and sticker burrs can penetrate the skin and start working their way into the tissue. Look for any lesions and wood splinters. If the foot is swollen, gradually squeeze different areas to see if any puss erupts out. Puss would indicate a foreign body in the tissue.

Otherwise, there is the possibility that your animal stepped in a small mole hole, or in someway strained a tendon or ligament. Most likely this is the case. if the xray shows no breaks or cracks, it's probably a strain. your vet should be able put some sort of supportive wrap on the foot until the tenderness starts to heal.

Virginia Lyons
Able Oaks Ranch Alpacas
Rusk, Texas
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