Rollright talks about Moai’s illness and recovery July and August 2014


Concerning Moai’s health and with a happy outcome


18-07-14 My poor Bro, Moai, has been unwell for a bit and he’s in hospital receiving treatment.


Moai was sitting awkwardly last Monday and grumbled a bit.  We’re a stoic bunch, us llamas, and ‘Moaning Minnie’ isn’t something you’d usually hear said about us.  He sat in the field with his legs out to one side which most of us do from time to time, but he didn’t want to sit in our normal ‘kush’ position.  Our people called ol’ doc who checked him over and said they should monitor Moai whilst making sure he had drink with added electrolytes in.  Mo had the choicest nibbles – hazel and hawthorn and that favourite, rose – but he wasn’t well.  He was in pain and was treated for this, but after a couple of days it was decided he needed specialist treatment.


Apparently, if doctors don’t know what is wrong with a llama, and none of the usual treatments nor the funny telly-like thing called an Ultrasound don’t show for sure what’s wrong, it can be the best thing to have an operation.  This is a diagnostic tool for doctors and whilst it’s no fun having an op, if it helps get us better, then we have to agree.


So, our people prepared the chariot for my Bro Mo ‘n’ me, and off we trundled last Thursday to the hospital.  I didn’t go for the ride – I was there to give Moai the comfort of my company – we’re herd animals you see, and being together is very important to our well-being.  I really didn’t mind and in fact I found it all rather interesting.


First thing we did was to stand on a llama weighbridge.  This is a splendid device – normally our people weigh a cria by holding the young llama and weighing themselves and the baby, then subtracting their own weight to see how much the cria weighs.  All very well with something weighing 15 – 20 kilos, but Moai comes in at around 150 kilos, and I think our people would struggle to hold him.


After being weighed we went to an examination room.  The hospital is a training college and lots of trainee docs were there, all listening through funny ear-pieces to Moai’s stomach and pipework.  Gurgling is good, but it was very quiet in there.  Moai stood really calmly and had his neck shaved so he could have some blood taken, and then he had great wodges of tummy hair sheared off so the doc could look at his stomach on the Moai-vision monitor.


I peered closely at the telly, and saw right inside Baldy.  Look! There’s his kidney, doc said, and she moved a probe around the outside of his stomach so she could see different parts of the stomach and intestines.  All very quiet, and whilst there were suggestive signs of thickening of the walls of the guts, Doc didn’t know why.


So, as I said, operations can be used to find out what’s wrong with a llama, and I agreed that Mo should have the op.  It can be dangerous, of course, but we all felt we needed to try.


Moai was taken off for his operation – this was the one time I wasn’t allowed to be with my brother – apparently I wasn’t ‘scrubbed up’ whatever that means.  He was knocked out and cut open.  There were two areas of thickening on the walls of the stomach and intestines, and the second of these was only found after he’s been sewn up and a second incision made further back in his body.


What did these mean?  Not good, because he had colitis and ulcers and one of these was bleeding.  But, it was felt it worth trying to treat the symptons whilst not knowing what the causes of Moai’s colic were.  Lots of lovely pain-killers that first night for my Bro and Moai talked very highly of the morphine.  He saw pink llamas all through that first night.


Next day we were penned together again, though a fine mesh was put down the middle of the stall.  This was for two reasons – I might have got a bit boisterous with  Baldy and pulled his drips and catheters out (which is a strict No No), and I might, just possibly, have eaten some of Mo’s food, when the docs were trying to monitor the amount he was eating.


22-07-14  Post-operative recovery has been good so far, but there have been days when the Doc has said Mo is ‘waxing and waning’ in relation to his general well-being.  Funnily enough, I think one of the things that has helped Moai the most has been the large amounts of antacid he’s been given.  He has ulcers and neutralising the stomach contents has helped.  I heard people talking about giving Mo some Rennies.


25-07-11  The last three days have seen real improvement.  Moai is still not eating a full amount and seems to not want to put his head down to graze fully like a llama normally does.  It’s not that he’s a pampered lad – but he really likes being hand fed, so highly trained Docs are having to spend their time feeding him hay and other goodies.  I think they find it exasperating, but if he’s eating this is good.


Today, Moai had his pain relief removed and over the next three days each successive treatment will be removed one by one to see how he does.


One day at a time, but we may be going home to Old King Street Farm next week.


I’ll make sure you continue to hear about Moai and his treatment.


Hospital companion Rollright signing off.


28-07-14 – well, we didn’t go home as early as planned as Baldy ol’ MoMo got an infection and what with the length of journey – a minimum of four hours it was felt it would be a bit too risky to go home with the poorly lad.  More of those antibiotic things for Moai and then we waited for the test results.  The good news was that it looked as if Moai’s most recent problems have just been post operative and not a sign of his underlying condition.  If it’s minor this can probably be treated and my dear old brother has done really well and is looking better.  He’s had to have some nasty things done to him – a tube in his wound to drain it or something, anyway, a nasty sounding procedure, but it was necessary and I gave permission for this latest op.


Now he looks well, and we’re hoping to go home soon.  Smorgasbord food is all very well, but we really want to get our gnashers round some tasty home produced green stuff.


I’ll let you know what the doc says….


08-08-14 – and now we’re home again, Hurrah!


The last week wasn’t easy for my Bro, and he had to have another operation to clean up his wounds – something about dead flesh needing to be removed.  Yuk!  So this was done, and the stents continued to drain all the nasty stuff, and Blow Me, Mo goes and develops another problem.  Bit of an attention seeker if you ask me, but what he did was wake up one morning with a hernia on the incision right under his ol’ tum-tum.  Now, Doc tells me that this is potentially serious.  It might be ok, and it might not.  Baldy as I now call Mo, has to stay calm and move gently with none of that lovely running around stuff we all like to do.  Very easy in a small pen, but it means our visits out to grass are strictly supervised and he’s not allowed to kick up his heels and go for it.  And if Baldy can’t run, then I can’t run as I’ll get him over-excited.


So, Doc Alex and I hatched a plan – we’ll get Baldy home where he and I will spend the next three weeks in a tiny pen, and then three more weeks in a larger pen.  We’ll gradually be reintroduced to the gang so excitement levels are kept down and hopefully Moai will continue to improve.


His ulcers are dealt with, we just need to get him over the op stuff.  He’s very bright and if you looked at his head you’d never know anything had been wrong.  Look at his neck and body and it’s obvious as he’s a Baldy Boy.


So, today which is Moai’s fourth birthday we said goodbye to Doc Alex.  I’m not saying there were tears, I’m not saying there weren’t, but she made our stay so much better than it could have been and we’re really grateful to her.


Trailer home with our people and in the pen in the yard overnight.  Rest at home, ahhhh.


10-08-08  Now we’re in a small shed and pen in Bottom Field away from the others and without enough space to run around.  We’re desperate to kick up our heels, but we know we mustn’t.  Our people visit regularly, and we have loads of hay, plus fresh grass and some branches lopped off the trees.  My brother Moai is getting better and as long as his hernia doesn’t get bigger he’ll be back with the herd next month.


We’ll let you know more soon.


Hospital visitor Rollright signing off.


14-08-14 Good ol’ Doc Kate is coming later today to remove Moai’s metal staples from the wound on his side.  This is good because the wound is healing and scabby and everything is looking good.  I’ll let you know how this is going.


A big worry, Doc Kate is on her way and just now Moai’s hernia has popped.  He rolled and it went ping!  This is a big worry – something is sticking out of the hernia.  There’s a bit of blood and something white hanging down.


Doc Kate is here and is looking at Moai.  If it’s not too serious she’ll work on him herself, and put everything right, but if it very bad, she’ll bandage him up and we’ll take him back to the Arveecee to Moai’s girlfriend Alex.


Happy news!  Moai is much better all of a sudden.  New diagnosis is that he doesn’t have a hernia after all and that his wound is nothing more than an abscess.  Doc Kate has cleaned this out, and applied a dose of the good stuff.  Tomorrow she’ll come back and check he’s well.


I don’t feel I can call dear bro Baldy any more and I think I’ll just call him Moai which is a very nice name.  In the next day or two we’ll be back with the herd full-time again.  There’s really no need for us to be separated any more.  OK, we’ll run around like a couple of cria, but, who cares?


23-08-14 Moai is very well indeed and displaying a bit too much friskiness for some of the girls` liking.  He’s great and I’m so very happy he has recovered.  Moai will have scars for a long time, but so what?  He’ll join us all llama trekking again in a couple of months and will step out proudly leading a lovely walk.


I’m very grateful to Alex and Kate and their respective teams for saving Moai.


More news from Golden Valley Llamas very soon


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