During the night or the early morning of April 18, 2010, our 17 year old llama, Dudley B. Goode, was attacked by an unknown animal while in his pasture with one other llama. While the 24 other llamas chose to spend the night in a different pasture area, Dudley and his old companion, were in a large pasture approximately 1/16 of a mile from our house. On Sunday morning, April 19, it was discovered that Dudley had been attacked. We immediately called our veterinarian because we realized that the wound was significant and counsel would be needed regarding Dudley’s recovery prognosis.

The veterinarian arrived very promptly and when first viewing the wound he said, “Wow!” Before beginning to thoroughly assess the wound damage we walked around the pasture to see where the attack took place. We found a spot about 200 feet from the llama building in that pasture where there was wool all over the ground. Obviously the wool had been pulled and ripped from Dudley as the attacker tried to bite into his body. We also found a very large area of llama spit. It breaks our hearts to realize that Dudley spit and spit and spit to try to get free of the attacker. He spit his heart out. Llamas are without many defenses but spitting was the one Dudley used to the max and he did get free. ( Please see another information piece on the site regarding llama defenses. )

The wound, as you will see in the photos, was on his right hip area. It appears that attacker took one huge bite of skin, flesh, and tissue… the bite went all the way to the bone. Dudley was calm while the veterinarian examined him. The llama was not very mobile, however, he could walk. The bite had not damaged the hip joint… we could see the joint move as he slowly walked. Dudley was on his feet for the exam.

These are some of the notes from the April 19 report of Dr. Kent Frydenlund, Richland Veterinary Service: “This wound is a hole in skin just cranial and ventral to right cranial and ventral to right greater trochanter, oblong in shape and 5 inches across dorsal to ventral and 7 inches long cranial to caudal. The wound is three inches deep in the middle and exposes the leading edge of the trochanter. It appears as if the tissue was just torn away with some some crevices created cranially and caudally between remaining muscle bellies. There is dried blood scattered across the deep surface and some fresh blood still oozing. The skin edge is devitalized but not dried of necrotic. There is no purulence. After shearing the wool around the lesion several small abrasions are also present. Noted numerous area of dried spit on the wool over the back and sides of Dudley. After shearing the area the wound was trimmed and flushed with iodine infusion and Dudley was started on 1600 mg of Polyflex daily. If the wound develops serious issues euthanasia will be considered due to age of animal. “ (Dudley weighed 380 pounds so the Ployflex was dosed according to that weight. )

Wound on Day One... Note scratch on white wool on his leg

day one animal bite2

Wound on May 12... healing is beginning!

dudleys wound May 12

May 17 The wound changes almost daily.

Dudley wound May 17

 

One of the main strategies in treating the wound was to keep it open so that the healing would take place from the inside outward. The twice daily flushing with the iodine infusion was working. The first couple of days we were using a 60 cc syringe to flush the wound but discovered on the third day that there were maggots in the wound. Dr. Kent said we had to be more aggressive and get the infusion down deep into the wound between the crevices in the tissue and muscle. With a little ingenuity we found that a dosing syringe worked terrifically well. We could get the syringe deep into the wound with out scratching the muscle and flesh as would happen with a regular plastic syringe. (The dosing syringe is a rather long necked stainless steel tube with a s.s. bulb on the end. It was just an excellent solution to the treatment!) We used approximately 3 gallons of iodine infusion in the long treatment of the wound.

Day 15 The black areas are dried blood.

Day 15 longer view

The Day 15 photos shows the wound really beginning to heal and tissue filling in the deep hole. The edge of the wound was becoming tougher. Only when dried blood or dead tissue areas were loose and ready to come off did we carefully remove them. We had sheared Dudley’s hip as close as we could to the skin to prevent any contamination from wool or debris falling into the wound.

We continued the twice per day treatment for about a month and as the healing continued we dropped back to once per day treatment with the infusion. The Polyflex antibiotic was given to Dudley for about 2 weeks… we used up the bottle figuring it was not going to hurt him!

Dudley’s behavior during all of this? He was calm and collected as Dudley has always been. He began to be a bit more elusive about being haltered as he felt better about moving around more fluidly. He never gave us any trouble with the infusion treatment.

August 18 Wound is almost closed. Note scratch marks on his body.

Llama Dudley scratches and wound healing

After four months of treatment Dudley’s wound was almost completely closed. There were just a couple very small spots that were monitored and infusion applied superficially. We had, of course, sheared Dudley along with the other 24 llamas the first week of June. By August when this photo was taken we could see that the trauma to his body caused the new growth of wool to be a darker color. The darker color areas distinctly showed where the animal attacker had scratched and held onto Dudley’s body.

August 18 The wound has healed well !

llama wound closeup Aug 2010

We want to add that with the hot weather of summer flies are of course a problem with a wound such as Dudley’s. We had to be very careful that the insect repellent used for livestock wounds was used VERY carefully. The repellent was not sprayed directly on the wound but only around the perimeter of the wound. The use of agriculturally rated barn fans helped keep flies away from the wound and Dudley.

You might ask “Why didn’t Dudley run when the animal attacked him?” We know Dudley very well and he has never, ever been in any kind of hurry. Actually we don’t remember him every RUNNING ! He is a slow mover. Also, our best guess is that Dudley was lying down in the pasture when this attack took place. He certainly did stand up but he did not run. Because the ground was hard and dry on April 18/19 there was not a shred of evidence regarding tracks of Dudley or his attacker. It all remains a mystery.

What is Dudley B. Goode doing now? He is comfortably settled into the winter llama quarters with 24 of his llama friends. He is as active as Dudley has ever been eating hay and grain and drinking pure spring water from the clean water tanks. He is kept warm with plenty of clean bedding and the doors of the barn are closed to the drafts of the prevailing winds when necessary.

There is a further information piece on this site regarding our research into what creature attacked our Dudley.