Monday, December 2, 2013

Katy and Windy home at last!

Mike and I went to the University of Illinois vet clinic to pick up Windy the goat and Katy the llama, along with her cria Oscar.

Katy finally started peeing and pooping again, but she still can't stand up on her own. I can now add "llama physical therapy" to my resume. We have to lift her so that she spends two, 20-minute periods standing every day, morning and afternoon. 

Yesterday morning, my daughter Margaret who was still here from Ft. Worth where she is an electrical engineer, helped me lift her four or five times. Katy never managed to stand for more than about four minutes before her back end would collapse, and she would be sitting there like a dog. Much of the time she spent standing, she actually spent with her back end leaning against the human who was next to her. This morning, she actually stood for 15 minutes! We figured that standing for one 15 minute stretch was probably better than several smaller stretches, so didn't get her up again.

Lifting her is interesting. First we put our hand under her chest or stomach, and since Katy is a llama, she is offended that a mere human is touching her, so she pushes the front half of her body up with her front legs. Then we put a towel under her and move it so that it is under the back half of her body. With one person holding each end of the towel on each side of the llama, we lift! Sometimes it is easier than others, depending upon how much Katy is able to help.

Unfortunately, this means that Oscar is only able to nurse twice a day. When Katy first went down, she was on her side, and Oscar was able to nurse as much as he wanted, but now she is strong enough to stay "kushed" properly (llama language for the prone position pictured at right) which means her teats are inaccessible to him.

As for Windy -- like most bottle babies, she has always been too friendly for her own good, but after being poked with needles more than a dozen times in the last week (including a spinal tap), she ran when I opened the gate of her pen at the clinic. She is quite healthy and able-bodied, although she tends to twist her body a little to the right, and she can't walk in a straight line. (You can see how she holds her head crooked in the second picture.) But considering the fact that she was minutes away from death last week, this is truly remarkable. Still, it could be weeks or months before the final neurologic symptoms go away. Then again, she may never be completely normal again. But considering how close she was to death last week, I have to assume that she is still with us for a reason. 


MichelleH said...


Kelly said...

Great news!!!!

Devon Henry said...

Congrats, so glad they are home.

Jessica said...

I'm way behind in blog reading and just caught up on yours tonight. Reading your other posts was heartbreaking, but happy to see some good news! I hope they both recover well. Poor things!


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