Bad Back/Off legs!

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Bad Back/Off legs!

Post  r.cox on Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:49 pm

I have a 2 year old entire male llama who suddenly went off his feet. By this I mean he sat down and was reluctant to move at all, even for food. When forced to his feet he was obviously uncomfortable on both his hind legs which were shaking and wobbly. The vet visited said it was mechanical, probably in the hip region resulting from a fall or fighting, administered an anti inflamatory and told me to keep him rested as much as possible within the confies of the shelter (relatively open where he has view of other llamas etc.). His condition picked up rapidly but only for a day and a half after which he sat down again and refused to move. The whole process has again repeated itself. The vet returned 5 days later was convinced it was a mechanical problem in the hip region and gave another shot which lasted probably only 24 hours but gave me a common pain killer to administer daily for a week. He has not shown any such signs previously in the 6 months I have had him and in fact usually quite energetic. All the obvious things have been examined/explored - Hoofs, vitamin D, worms. He is such a well behaved llama he has allowed full manual examination of his legs from top to bottom, along his spine but no signs of any swelling, breaks, hot spots, sensitive areas, etc. What rather amuses me in one sense is how he is quite happy to lean all his weight to the side against the wall or helper whilst allowing you to lift his legs and examine his hoofs. He remains alert, feeds well and looks otherwise very perky. I force him to stand a couple of times a day to assist his circulation but he is very stiff to start with, very reluctant to place any weight on the back legs, back arched rather like a very old man but is getting a bit straighter than what it was. Almost 2 weeks into the problem I am getting anxious and before calling the vet back wondered if anyone out there had any pearls of wisdom. If it were x-rayed and found to be a fracture, is there anything beyond rest and suspended in a harness that can be done?

r.cox

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Off Legs/Bad Back

Post  r.cox on Tue Jan 25, 2011 11:46 am

Apart from one person who kindly provided advice directly, there were no other responses to my posting. However, I thought you might like me to share my experience, if only to reassure other novice keepers like myself who found it all rather worrying.
After going off his legs I called out the vet. The vet administered a steroid anti-inflammatory to which he responded quickly with lasting effects for about 36 hours. However, he returned to his previous condition and one week later I called out the vet again who gave the same injection again and some Bute to administer in his food as a pain killer. The relief was only for about 24 hours this time and so two weeks after it started he was referred to a specialist at the veterinary teaching hospital. She examined him and took blood samples for analysis. I was advised to stop using Bute immediately since this was likely to cause stomach ulcers in the llama. The results were normal and my llama has made what now appears a full recovery.
The vets report you might find helpful.
"When I examined him he had no basic abnormalities nor were there any signs of neurological signs (as evidenced by his ability to turn, reverse, place his limbs, reach his food, prehend and swallow it; there were no ocular abnormalities). Palpation of his spine did not elicit a painful response. He did however, exhibit crouching and intermittent resting of his hind limbs after examination. The main diagnoses would be trauma (soft tissue or bony), spinal abscess (unusual but not impossible at his age of maturity), meningeal worms (more in the way of neurological symptoms might be expected, along with a progressive worsening, although cases of sudden onset paresis have been reported), C3 ulceration.
The blood sample, used to identify inflammation and possible vitamin E/Selenium abnormalities was normal, although it should be remembered this is just an indication of inflammatory activity at the time and might be useful if the symptoms recur.
If there is a recurrence then the next logical step would be radiography and/or ultrasonography of spine, pelvis and abdomen”.

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Re: Bad Back/Off legs!

Post  Alison on Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:01 pm

Glad your llama has made a full recovery.

Alison
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