December 11, 2013 has been a sad evening here at GraysLland Acres. We have been working with our youngest Llama, Boots, for almost 5 weeks. She was born on 9/10/11 and had four white legs, hence the name Boots. I was on my way to do a show and drove around the drive to check on the animals and noticed I could not find Boots. I walked out to the loafing shed and she was down. I went to the house put on my …”farm” clothes, called Linda and told her what was going on ask her to called our vet. We are so lucky to have such great vets at the Salina Animal Clinic. Mark came by on his way to work and checked her over, gave her at least three shots, took a blood sample and poop sample and said he would call me with the results. He even helped me carry a bale of hay and water out for her and put up a cattle panel to keep the other llamas from getting in the way. He called me about an hour later and said she had parasites (worms) and her red blood count was very low. He suggested that I came over and get, what he called “Geritol for llamas”. She really liked it so it was not a problem to give it to her every day.
Thank goodness for good friends like Roger who came over and helped me catch and vaccinate our other llamas, since Steve was working long hours and was leaving before daylight and getting home after dark. I had told Roger I might need help trying to get Boots up, but when we finished vaccinating everyone she was up walking around.
The next day she was down and I was not able to get her up, so I called Linda and she came up, we rigged up a pully system in the shed and I made a sling for her and we tried to pull her up but we could not do it. The next day we hooked a “come-a-long” to it and that worked really well to get her up so we could work on her legs. She was getting sores from being on them so long. I would get her on the sling and we would pull her up and I would doctor and bandage her legs.
For the next 5 weeks I would go out in the morning and make sure she had plenty of food and water, give her the medicine, clean up her dropping and pack hay around her so she would not fall over on her side. If she would get on her side, she was not able to get up on her own and we wanted her to be able to cush.
Every evening, as soon as Steve got home, we would go out, put the sling under her, hook the pully system to it and get her up so I could put medicine on her legs, bandage them and work them in hopes she would not lose use of them. After a couple of weeks she was still not getting stronger so I had Mark come out again to check her and discovered she still had the parasites. We tried another wormer and a week later when we took samples in, on Monday, Mark said their was a 95% improvement! He suggested we keep working her legs and keep giving her the “Geritol”. I really thought I would be able to save her. We moved a couple of bales of hay to put on each side of her so she couldn’t fall over. When it got so cold I put a cover over her to keep the snow off of her.
Last night when we got her up in the sling she was having trouble holding her head up. I went ahead and worked her legs and treated her legs and put new bandages on. She was eating and drinking good.
Tonight we had trouble getting her on the sling and she did not even try to use her legs. She could not hold her head up and started gasping for air. We got her down and made her as comfortable as we could. Within an hour she was gone. It was sad, but I could not stand to watch her suffer. I was just thankful that I was able to be there and she did not have to be alone.
I love my animals and it is hard when they die, but that is life.
Sorry this is so long, but writing is good therapy for me. Thanks to those of you who finished reading this.