Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Katkin's abscess (injection site?) and a trip down the lane for Phoebe..

Crikey, we were forecast a change in the weather today, but it is much worst then predicted. It is managing to blow a gale and pour down at the same time. Grim... I went out earlier to top up the girls hay...foolishly not latching the gate behind me. When I looked back the gate had blown wide open and Phoebe and Bahati were wandering up the lane. Umm...I was just considering my strategy for getting them back again when I spotted a tub of peas and beans...luckily both are a tad on the greedy side and peas and beans make a good old rattle...that had them both safely back in no time...who needs a carrot or a stick!

Both Explorer and Roma, our Futurity show team, are out in the wind and rain. Now I can't decide if this is a good or a bad thing; having had a good soaking (hopefully they are whiter than before) they are now blowing about in the wind (with a bit of luck some of the debris might blow out of the is a mighty force....not the weather for a toupee you never know!). Hopefully they will be dried out by Saturday! It looks like the majority of the 14 EP Cambridge Navigator progeny have been entered...what's the bets that Explorer is the dirtiest?

We received the floor plan for The Futurity in the post yesterday. We are nicely positioned next to our friends, Michael and Judith Henderson, owners of Cockerham Alpacas in Lancashire. I was cheered to see that we are far from alone with our 2 entries. At a quick glance I counted 18 breeders with only 2 alpacas entered and the vast majority of breeders have 5 or less animals entered. Fantastic that so many small breeders have supported the event. I am sure that I should be doing something in preparation of leaving tomorrow, but I am not quite sure what... I have emptied the sand out of the suitcase...does that count?

Katkin is completely back to her normal self and the abscess has dried up and scabbed over. Any iatragenic problems are a cause for concern, and I have been going over as to whether this was could have been avoided. It is most likely an injection site abscess although it is impossible to be sure. We are most careful about cleanliness whilst injecting (as an Intensive Care nurse this comes as second nature) all bottle tops are swabbed with alcohol wipes before the medication is drawn up, hand hygiene is fastidious, and a new needle is used for each injection. I do think that swabbing the skin on a fully fleeced alpaca is unrealistic but we do avoid injecting if the alpacas are wet (greater chance of introducing bacteria I believe).

We have given 100's of injections without any previous problems and the only change on the last occasion was that Katkin was injected with larger gauge needle (18g) than I normally use routinely; these are normally reserved for Amoxicillin or other viscous medications. I am wondering if the larger puncture site increases the risk? The other consideration is the depth of the S/C injection. I have read about a method whereby the sheath of the needle is left in place with the end cut off (just a few mms) to stop the needle entering too deeply. Not sure about this one as a nurse.

Thankfully the site, low on her body, has meant that the abscess has drained well. I did give her long acting Amoxypen, although a local abscess may not require antibiotics, she was showing signs of malaise and it was pretty nasty. Ideally a swab should have been taken before the antibiotics were given to test for culture and sensitivities (in a perfect world I would have done so!). We have followed the veterinary advice given on an earlier occasion, when Willow had a abscess between her toes, which cleared up well; however, if Katkin has any recurring problems we will request a vet visit.

We are aiming to be off by 12.30 tomorrow, all being well. At least with juniors if they refuse to load you can just pick 'em up and carry them! I wish I'd bought a new frock now...too late.


  1. We have tried using the protective sheath but it didn't really work as the medication leaked back. We find a half inch needle does the trick!

    Good luck at the Futurity, hope your boys do you proud...remember it's the taking part that counts and if you get placed then that's a bonus, we all know that our "babies" are beautiful!

  2. Good Luck at the Futurity - hope your drive down isn't too eventful in the wind that is forecast.

  3. I'm with you on the thought that the bigger gauge needle is a bigger risk. A couple of years ago now we had a similar incident, which I thought was probably an injection site when I had used an 18 gauge needle instead of a smaller one.

    Good luck at the Futurity, I'm afaid for the first time, we won't be able to make it this year so I'm looking forward to a full run down afterwards please!

  4. On friday, Barbara, I'd like an explanation of 'iatragenic' please, over coffee. Mrs. Smallholder has painted her nails, and I've checked my Dickie. Have a safe journey, and that goes to all attendees.