Llama Check-Ups

Today the llamas received their annual check-up.

A Registered Nurse came to inspect each one of them. Lucky for us, this male nurse is also a llama expert. In fact, Mama Llama bought Como T. Llama from his pack! So the animals experienced great care. But look how surprised Barack O’Llama was when he got the memo today:

Barack O'Llama found out that he'll have his annual physical today.

Mama Llama wasn’t surprised, of course, because she had arranged for the exams. But she couldn’t watch as the llamas were poked around for their benefit.

Truly, the exams don’t hurt the llamas, but these animals don’t like human touch, so they don’t understand why anyone would touch all over their bodies. It turns out that there was lots of llama drama going on, because moments after each llama finished his physical, he was off playing again, as if nothing had happened. Mama Llama, however, is still recovering from her boys thinking anyone was trying to hurt them–which they weren’t.


Gratefully, llamas don’t receive de-worming medicine at their annual exams. Testing is done, instead, to determine if dewormers are needed. But most domesticated animals receive dewormers because:


1. Flies carry worms, and flies love to swarm around and land on stinky poop. But llama poop is virtually odorless! Mama Llama is not making this up! It must be a real disappointment to flies that pass through a llama stable to find that there’s nothing smelly enough or wet enough to interest them. So flies go bother the horses–as long as the llama ranch has been diligent in picking up the llama beans, which we are.


2. Flies really enjoy buzzing around the faces of horses and other large animals. Not only are the flies annoying these animals, they are also landing on their face and depositing eggs there. When these animals lick their face, they ingest the eggs. Good protein? Yes. Bad for the animals? Definitely. But here’s the good news, at least for llamas: They can’t lick their faces, because their tongues can only extend one inch outside their mouths! So again, no need to routinely immunize llamas because of buzzing flies. Lucky llamas!


Llamas are de-wormed only for cause. Do whitetail deer pass through the llamas’ field? If so, monthly dewormers are needed. Do the llamas share ground with other barnyard critters? Then testing for parasites is needed, and if the parasite load warrants it, then dewormers must be used. Is the llama field often damp, or is there a stream they drink from? Those are additional reasons for parasite testing and potential deworming. But because parasites have grown resistant to many dewormers, it is not recommended to deworm unless there’s proof of parasites in the llamas’ gut.


And to prove that, llama beans are collected from every llama in the pack at the annual exam and six months later and sent to a laboratory to check if, how many and what type of parasites are present. Then veterinarians take over to prescribe the matching medicine. Luckily, the llamas of ShangriLlama proved to have no need for deworming shots this time, and as long as the llama bean piles are picked up frequently, there’s little chance the llamas will need dewormers in the future.


Mama Llama is grateful to have a Registered Nurse overseeing her pack’s preventive care, along with a llama veterinarian just 15 minutes away from her ranch near Dallas, Texas. So queasy Llama Mama doesn’t have to administer medicines. Instead, she gets to enjoy watching and walking the llamas. Come join her on a Llama Walk soon!


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