ALPACA MOUTH EXAMS .... can cause serious injury to human fingers!
If you need to examine the inside of your alpacas mouth, do so with trepidation!
You may find an alpaca come in from a paddock with a lump on its cheek that needs examination from the outside and in. Putting your fingers in the alpaca's mouth is very dangerous, as they can have fighting teeth that can slash your fingers, but it is their natural reaction to chew when something moves down the side of their mouth - not forgetting that their jaws move from side to side when chewing cud, so they can drag your fingers into their molars and do some serious damage.
How do I know this - by experience!
If you need to check out your alpacas mouth - have a handler hold the animal for you, using a halter can help, more importantly a small piece of plumbing pipe about the width of a 10 cent piece and 20cm long, placed in the back of the mouth will give you a better view with a torch than using your fingers.
What could be the cause of the lump on my alpacas cheek?
- A tooth problem: If there is a tooth problem causing an abscess to the gum, a foul smell will omit from the open mouth. In this case you need to call a vet in to assist.
- A grass seed stuck in the side of cheek, gum: Generally no smell with this one. These generally burst and drain well. Worth discussing with vet to see if antibiotics are necessary to assist healing.
- Cud: Some alpacas will just hold a wad of this in the side of their mouth more often than others ... a bit like chewing tobacco! When you open the lips you will see what looks like a ball of rubber bands, in a vibrant green colour! Nothing to do about this one - just leave them alone to finish chewing their cud!