Martin's Big Snip: The Surgery
Haltering completed, Ellen and I tried to keep ourselves busy as we began the long wait for the vet. We had been told only that he would be here sometime in the afternoon, and so we made sure we had Martin haltered and safely confined to his stall before noon. And then we waited.
And waited. And waited. And waited.
We made good use of the time, delivering dewormer to the piggies (the subject for another post!), removing some of the bamboo canes that threaten to take over the pigyard, emptying and dismantling a compost box that I want to take with me to my new home, playing with the dogs, and downing multiple cups of coffee. We were both dying for a beer, but decided it probably would not be a good idea to reek of booze (much less be drunk) when the vet arrived.
At four o’clock the vet’s office phoned – he was on his way and would be here within the half hour. At five o’clock a car finally pulled into the driveway, followed by another - both vets had arrived, the alpaca guy with a broken finger necessitating an extra pair of hands.
[I want to say here that AgWest Veterinary Services are THE BEST! They were professional from beginning to end, compassionate and gentle with Martin, skilled in their practice, and clear with their instructions. And to top it off, the bill was considerably less (even with the homevisit, the foot trim, the vaccines, and the dental inspection added in) than what I paid the last time I sponsored a rescue dog's neuter.]
The vets decide the back yard is a good place to do the geld – soft, reasonably dry grass and good light. I gather the leash and lead Martin out, where we again use the boards-with-bracket-handles to slowly move Martin against the fence until he cushes, allowing the vet to sink the sedative needle into his butt.
OOOOOOhhhhhh – Martin does NOT like that! He jerks and kicks and manages to make the needle go flying out of the vet’s hand before it can release its load.
We hold him firmly but gently to the fence with the board, sooth him, and then stick him again – this time successfully. Unfortunately, ten minutes later Martin still shows no sign of drowsiness and is just waiting for an opportunity to break free.
So in goes another needleful of sedative. Finally he begins to relax, and the vet brings out the big guns – the large needle of anesthetic to be delivered right into the jugular.
Martin was quite sure he did not want to go to sleep, but slowly his head started to droop lower.....and lower.....and lower..... like an old man nodding off in front of the television.
And finally he gave in to the overwhelming urge to sleep, dropping to his knees and then stretching out frog-legged on the grass.
Gently and respectfully, the vets move him over onto his side and check his vitals.
A local injection just to ensure the testicles are numb, a good scrub of the hind quarters and surgical site, a few snips and the removal of a few worm-like pieces, a stitch here and a stitch there, and the possibility of baby Martins is forever removed.
While he is drifting in la-la-land, I take the opportunity to get some really close up pictures of his soft, beautiful ears, nose and eyes:
Meanwhile, the other vet has moved around to Martin’s feet and begins the pedicure to get his excessively long nails back to the length they should be.
Some polish too, please?The vets then examine the teeth to see if they need to be filed down. They look "not bad" and we decide to forgo any further work as Martin is already showing distinct signs of coming out of the light anesthetic. The vets quickly give him his Tasvax shot (which includes tetanus, a real threat for alpacas), and within a few minutes Martin is standing up and walking around.
They hand me the leash and say I can put him back in his pen – easier said than done. He follows me through the pasture gate to the pen gate and then stops dead. Ellen and I do a little comedy routine with one at the head and one at the rear or side to convince our mule-paca to move, and eventually we get him safely into the pen. He is not impressed.
Martin in his pen, 10 minutes after surgeryThe vets give me instructions about his diet and activity for the next 24 hours, and we talk about signs of post-surgical problems I should watch for. Then they head on home, and Martin lies down in his pen (though not in the shelter) and tries to ignore us. I take him fresh water, remove the temporary gate from the shelter, and leave him to begin his recovery.
I'm not talking to you!We let out the dogs, who immediately check out the exact spot of the surgery despite the vets' meticulously clean and tidy procedure that left not a visible sign on the grass.
Hmmmm......what's happened here?????
And Ellen and I dash to the fridge for that long-awaited icy cold dark German beer.
Stay tuned for part three – The Recovery.