Camelid Tooth Services

My services

I offer incisor trimming, fighting tooth trimming, and limited floating of front molars.  I use a dremel for grinding and smoothing front and fighting teeth, and a miniature float tool for front molars. Ordinarily the safest way to perform these tasks is while the animal is restrained during shearing (or restrained using the shearing ropes).  If I find any unusual tooth growth patterns, retained juvenile teeth, loose molars or abscesses, I will alert you to these and advise you to involve your veterinarian in resolving these medical issues.

Pricing

If you have engaged my services for spring shearing, note that during 2016, tooth trimming is included in the price of the visit.

Tooth-trims only: $75 farm call and setup fee, $10 per animal for incisor and fighting tooth trimming.

Background information

Many alpacas and llamas require regular maintenance done on their teeth.  The most common procedures done are:

  • minor trimming of the lower front incisors
  • dulling/grinding down of the canine (fighting) teeth

Both of these are services performed either by a veterinarian (normally under sedation) or by a shearer during the shearing process, not under sedation.  I will also make a special trip to work just on teeth, to reduce the stress on your animal.  If you believe you will need sedation and/or extractions, you may wish to coordinate my visit with your veterinarian.  Please note that my services are not veterinary but mechanical only.

Additional services sometimes needed are floating (evening out the sharp edges) of molars and extractions. Extractions and any procedure requiring sedation and/or local anaesthesia must be performed by a veterinarian.

Why camelid dental work?

Camelid incisors grow continuously and can, depending on environment and genetics, become so long as to prevent the animal from being able to eat efficiently.  They use their front teeth to grab hay or grass, which they then pass back to the molars for grinding. Molars with sharp edges or spurs can cause pain in the grinding process and thus the animal is discouraged from eating comfortably.

Canine or fighting teeth are part of the normal male equipment and are designed to aid them in fighting for dominance.  In a domestic, farm situation, these are a liability and can cause great injury to other animals in the flock. Therefore, we grind these down to ensure they cannot be used as weapons.

Resources

Alpacas of Montana – dental overview

Camelid Dentistry by Stephen R. Purdy, DVM

Surgical Management of Dental Disorders in Llamas and Alpacas by Andrew Niehaus, DVM, MS, DACVS

Periapical tooth root infections in South American camelids by David E Anderson, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS