Pepper lost a tooth - yes, a tooth!
Pepper's two front teeth are one of her most distinguishing features.
How could this have happened?
We have not experienced this on our farm before, so it took us by surprise.
She was fine yesterday, with her toothy smile, but today, one of those big pearly whites is now missing.
I tried to recall if I had overlooked something that might have happened but nothing came to mind.
Did she get into a fight with another alpaca?
Not likely - she gets along with everyone.
Did she eat something that broke the tooth?
Possibly, but what? A twig? A rock?
Where is the tooth?
It could be buried in the hay, embedded in the ground, etc.; I looked around but of course, like a needle in a haystack... it could be anywhere.
I am a little sad because her big teeth are part of what makes this little alpaca endearing.
But is Pepper okay?
Is she going to grow a new tooth?
The answer to both is "yes."
First of all, Pepper is fine. She is not in pain and actually seemed unbothered by the whole thing. (always a good sign).
Next (because we had not experienced tooth loss on our farm before), I did some research on the matter to learn 'how?' and 'why?'.
Diving into the books, I found: Caring for Llamas and Alpacas, A Health Management Guide, by Clare Hoffman, DVM and on the Internet: Farm Animal Report's: Alpaca Teeth, the Exhaustive Guide, by Gregory Gaines - with my commentary.
Here is where it gets interesting:
With this new information, I wanted a closer look at Pepper's mouth so that I could familiarize myself with this situation and understand what a healthy, normal baby tooth gap looks like.
Pardon the green grass in her mouth, but there is a new tooth coming in where her baby tooth used to be.
This was a learning opportunity for us because before 1-year-old Pepper arrived in 2021, we had not had an alpaca on our farm that was under the age of 3 and never noticed any of our alpacas missing teeth before.
Pepper's new tooth will probably fill the space before we know it, and it will be less of a shock when it happens again with her or the other alpacas.
Granite State Alpacas
Alpaca farm news from Joe, Sandy and the herd