At Camelid Veterinary Services, we are committed to providing the optimal veterinary care for your alpaca or llama. On this page you will find information about what to expect when you visit us, along with information on what you should bring if you’re bringing your alpaca or llama.
All inpatients will be directly under the care of specialist vet Claire Whitehead. We are able to provide hay and water and will bed your animal on straw. However, because camelids are sensitive to sudden changes in feed, please bring along any feed that you typically provide at home so that we can minimize any disruption to their gastrointestinal function. Be sure to let us know of any special requirements so that we can ensure that appropriate care is given.
You are welcome to leave your trailer at the clinic whilst your alpaca or llama is staying with us but can we please ask that you park it neatly next to the western end of the building, ensuring that you do not obstruct access to the rear of the building. Accept that it is left entirely at your own risk and that Camelid Veterinary Services Ltd can accept no responsibility for any loss or damage.
We will usually call you each day to update you regarding your animal’s condition and progress. You are welcome to telephone us also although please note that it is usually more convenient if you telephone after mid-morning (01491 680313) by which time any daily checks and treatments will have been carried out.
We are of course very happy to discuss your animal’s progress with you but please understand that Claire might not be able to get to the phone straight away when you telephone. However, we will return your telephone calls as soon as possible. Other clinic staff may also be able to answer any non-medical questions that you may have.
Referral letter to your veterinary surgeon
When your alpaca or llama has been discharged from Camelid Veterinary Services, you will be given a written set of discharge instructions. A full report will be sent to your veterinary surgeon outlining the details of any investigations and treatment that your animal has undergone. If required, a copy of the report will be submitted to your insurance company.
What should I bring if I’m bringing my alpaca or llama?
Here are a few snippets of information about preparations to smooth your visit. If we’re coming to visit you, here’s a bit of information to help with that too.
Please bring all relevant details about your alpaca or llama with you when you come. This includes date of birth, vaccination and worming details and any information relevant to the current problem such as any diagnostic or treatment details or breeding history.
Please bring a halter and lead-rope for any animals visiting us in the clinic, even if they are not halter-broke. This will allow us to safely move them around if necessary. In addition, the halter is necessary for securing patients in our alpaca chute. (We do stock a small number of halters at the clinic in case but it is better if you bring your own if you can.) Note that we don’t usually need halters for unweaned crias as they can be carried or will stay close to the dam.
If you are expecting your animal to stay with us for any length of time, because camelids are sensitive to sudden changes in feed, please bring along any feed that you typically provide at home so that we can minimize any disruption to their gastrointestinal function.
Camelids are extremely sensitive to stress and although animals visiting the clinic just for the day are usually fine, particularly if you are not travelling far, please feel free to bring along a companion animal for the trip. If you are leaving an animal with us for any length of time, please do bring along a companion animal as this greatly reduces stress for the patient. If the patient is a cria, its dam is usually sufficient and vice versa.
Male breeding soundness exam
If you are bringing a male for breeding soundness examination, in order to collect semen, we will need you to bring a receptive non-pregnant female for the male to breed during the course of the examination. Clearly this should be a female that you don’t mind potentially conceiving to that particular male. Make sure that she is clean under her tail and is receptive within 24 hours of travelling to the clinic. We observe breeding behaviour and also collect semen from the uterus/cervical area of receptive females.
If your animal is expected to be sedated for any procedures on the day you bring them, as a safety precaution please don’t give them any hard feed on the day you come. Also, preferably prevent grazing or consumption of hay that morning, including during the trailer ride. If this is not practical, do not worry, but it is still best if they do not have hard feed or eat in transit. This is to minimize problems associated with regurgitation as sedated animals can accidentally inhale feed. Note that you do not need to, nor should you, remove access to fresh water.
If you are expecting your animal to be placed under general anaesthesia for any procedures on the day you bring them to us (we will advise you if this is the case), please bring the animal in off pasture overnight from 6pm the evening beforehand. They can be bedded on straw (or anything other than hay), but do not provide any hay or haylage or similar forages overnight. Also do not provide any hard feed after 6pm the evening beforehand. They must always have access to fresh water.
If we are coming to visit you?
If we’re planning on coming to visit a particular animal or animals on farm, in order to make our time as efficient as possible when on farm, try to get the animal into a catch pen with a buddy ahead of our visit, preferably close to the place that we’ll be evaluating the patient – or at least make sure that we won’t be running around trying to catch the animal during our chargeable visit time!
If you’re expecting us to use an ultrasound machine during our visit (for example for pregnancy diagnosis), we will need to be under cover somewhere so that we can see the ultrasound screen as reflected daylight makes images pretty difficult to see! It doesn’t have to be dark, but in a sheltered area that doesn’t have skylights is idea. We also need to be out of the rain with an ultrasound machine.
If we’re visiting your farm for a herd health visit, make sure you have all your current protocols available to hand ahead of our visit as we’ll ask lots of questions about your current practices. Usually we start off by looking at the animals and then have a wander around the farm. Then we’ll sit down together and chat through herd health procedures and answer any questions you may have. That is a chance to raise any particular concerns you have about your animals or practices and I can also find out what is most important to you.
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