Monday, 16 January 2017

Not a good start to the year

Our magical forest
Winter has hung around this time and the snow has got quite deep, to the stage of making someone like me, with short legs, struggle to walk around in the fresh snow. That isn't too bad and I don't mind. In fact it can be quite fun and we had a lovely walk through a magical forest, which we almost have to pinch ourselves to think we own it. It was better than trying to get an article written for my studies anyway, which is progressing far too slowly.
Me and my short legs 😁

Aggie. Still with the mucky mark from her first course of
Ian finally managed to get hold of some gunpowder in liquid this week, which a vet suggested we get and we started giving it to Aggie. This means I have to travel out with Ian to help him give her the medication. She seemed to calm down and didn't protest as much as she had with the cream. The gunpowder was to deal with any possible infection, but as we found out that doesn't appear to be the problem. On the one hand we are glad we did not go down the antibiotic route, as the problems caused to an animals system through inappropriate antibiotic use can make them worse, rather than better. I know that for myself, I really hate taking antibiotics now and they really do have to be a last resort. We think the gunpowder was actually helping the pain in her jaw though.
Remnants of raspberries

Aggie sitting in the doorway. The girls have stayed in most
of the time
The problem was that we had no idea what the issue was and so we got the vet to come from Jelgava, which is quite a distance and of course it was costly, compared to our normal vet charges. He is the only vet though in the country with a mobile x-ray machine. He is actually a horse vet normally but apparently horse vets quite often get asked to deal with alpacas. I guess it is the difference between treating an agricultural animal and one more used to being treated as a pet. The approach and handling I guess would be different, although I am quite happy for someone to put me right on that. Our vet also came on her day off to take a look at the x-rays and chat with the other vet about his thoughts on the problem.
Mari in contemplative mood

The lower bone has a section missing and the shadow
is a diffuse bone forming
One of the reasons for getting the vet to come is to try and increase our knowledge of issues with alpacas. If it had been a tooth problem we could have seen what the issue was. Also if it had been an infection, that would also have shown up. As we discovered though, it was none of those things. There was actually a gap in the jaw bone, as if she had been shot with a shotgun, was how the vet described it. The thing is though that there has never been an injury even remotely like that and we of course would have noticed something as drastic as that. Somehow the bone disintegrated and we do wonder if that explains a lot of scratching that we put down to a mite problem.
A cheery face with the obligatory straw

More of our magical forest
With the wonders of modern equipment and connectivity, the vet consulted with others and sent them the pictures of the x-rays. Unfortunately the general consensus appears to be osteosarcoma. This destroys bone and hence would explain the gap in the jaw. What is strange though is it also appears that the bone maybe repairing itself.

We stopped using one cream to tackle any possible infection, as it had the potential of irritating the skin and Aggie already has easily irritated skin, and we started using a cream I make up using comfrey and plantain. At least this is usually soothing.
The land takes on a different character in the deep snow, as
the normal vegetation is covered over in a deep soft

Ian of course has been busy cutting paths with the snow
The thing is that comfrey also is called knitbone and there is a possibility it started the healing, but and it is a very big but, it would not be expected to act that fast, so we are not quite sure what the x-ray was really showing. The vet gave us some more comfrey but in liquid form and another drug, which I am not sure what it is, but is usually given for cancers in homeopathy. These are not low doses though, but all we can do is hope that as the vet put it, it whispers to the body  to start its own healing.
And keeping the area clear around the sides of the greenhouse
to reduce pressure on that increasingly fragile plastic

Our boundary walk
It is not easy for Ian at all, of course. We had already talked about not breeding from Aggie again because we were worried about genetic issues, such as a hyper-reactivity to mites. Her mother had a few issues with that herself and she died last January due to liver cancer. Aggie was also the first baby to be born on the farm. We had to bottle feed her at the beginning because her mother was not producing milk. Not the best start in the world. Whether this has had any affect on her, who knows. Bodies are both resilient and susceptible with a remarkable ability to heal and a remarkable capacity to go wrong too. We are just hoping and praying that the healing is happening already and any secondary problems do not happen.
Two cats taking advantage of the heat from the caravan

Hard to see who we are at the moment, at least in one
Rather than finish on too unhappy a note, at least our car has been running again without any hitches. That could be due to the fact it hasn't been so intensely cold this week. We went to see some friends of ours early on in the week while the car was running and so it was good to be able to spend an evening chatting. The good news is that they got their car up and running too, as they also had issues with the cold affecting their car. Another good piece of news is we had our first visitors of the year, a young couple. The guy had been going past our farm on a regular basis and wondered what we were all about and so they decided to call in and see. It was nice to chat and a good job it was warmer than last week, still chilly but not as bad as it could have been. And finally our first felting course has three of the four places booked, so that is helpful. Still one more place though, so if you are thinking about joining us on this trip then please let us know soon
I love the bark on this tree, such a great texture
I needed some indoor clogs that would stop my feet getting
wet in the caravan. These were a pair of wellies that were
difficult to get on and off but I cut the tops away and they
make a rather snazzy pair of clogs - perfect
No one's visiting the outside loo, can't think why


  1. That's one cool pair of well-o-clogs! :D
    *hugs to Aggie (and her carers!)*

    1. That's a great name, well-o-clogs. Glad you like them.

      Thanks for the hugs, they are much appreciated

  2. I do hope Aggie starts to heal xx

    1. Thank you Gina, we will keep you posted on her progress


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