Pinnacle Peak Llama Ranch
Llama Health/Care

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This page is dedicated to educating the novice or new llama owner to the generally accepted standards of care for llamas being used by many llama breeders today.
This page will be constantly updated, as I have time to add on to it.  If there is something that I have not covered yet, please feel free to email me at
The International Lama Registry has some great informational brochures which can be ordered or downloaded online at  Go into 'Customer Services', and then 'ILR Materials, Pamphlets & Information Request Form'. These brochures cover everything from feed to fencing, housing, packing, fiber, health care and much more.  They are free to download and print, or they can be ordered for a small fee.

Here is some information on vets/surgeons that I know of who work on llamas in the state of Arizona:
All Creatures Animal Hospital
Dr Irv Ingram
4022 E. Greenway Rd, Suite 7
Phoenix, AZ  85032
(602) 493-5090
Aspen Veterinary Clinic
Dr Conley Westover
7861 N. Hwy 89
Flagstaff, AZ  86004
(928) 526-2423
Dr Jim McDonald
EIEIO Professional Service
Camp Verde, AZ
(928) 567-5290
Arizona Equine Medical & Surgical Centre
Dr Rick Howard
(orthopedic & soft tissue surgery specialist)
1865 S. Gilbert Rd
Gilbert, Arizona  85296
(480) 962-6660
This list only represents the veterinarians and surgeons that have worked on or do work on my llamas.  If someone has another recommendation for their vet, please email me and I will post their names as well.

We are located in the Southwest part of the United States, and our climate is much drier than most.  Because of this fact, we do not have some of the health/ care issues that some llamas owners and breeders face in wetter parts of the country.  We do, however, have some specific issues which need to be understood, and these issues I will bring up and discuss here:
Heat Stress - Heat stress is a factor all over the country, depending on the time of year, and we all need to deal with it at some point.  Here in Arizona, specifically in the hotter desert climates, heat stress can kill llamas.  With this in mind, there are several things that we, as responsible owners, can and need to do.
The best option is to remove the llama from the hotter desert climates for the hot season.  We have many mountainous areas in Arizona where the daytime temperatures are quite mild, if not even cold, during the summer months.  Llama boarding is offered by many llama ranches for the summers (as well as year round if needed).  Many llama breeders will not sell to someone who lives in a hot region unless there is a pre-arranged contract for summer boarding.  Heat stress IS an issue.
There are owners who keep their llamas in the hot regions with some success, but it does entail some work on the part of the owner.  Shearing is an absolute MUST, preferably a full body shear.  Swamp coolers work very well in a barn in dry weather.  Air conditioners work well in dry and moist weather.  Misting systems have also been used by many.  The first summer we had our first llamas, we used all three of these methods, and we still needed to do an emergency transport from Scottsdale to a ranch in Flagstaff with a heat-stressed llama in July.  This is why I preach summer relocation so adamantly.
Valley Fever (Coccidiomycosis) - Valley fever is known to cause health problems in the desert climates here in the Southwest, plus other parts of the world which are arid (Central and South America regions).
What I have learned about the problem is that it results from exposure to a specific mold that is stirred-up and made airborne during the summer monsoons.  This mold is breathed in - in humans it makes us very sick and can become a long-term problem if not treated.  Dogs are also affected by this spore and many dogs are on expensive treatment for the problem.  Llamas are also specifically affected by valley fever, and it can lead to very serious health problems and even death.
There are numerous llama breeders who insist on keeping their llamas out of desert regions where the spore may be located, and even go so far as to not feed hay grown in those regions.  However, I do know of several llamas who have passed away who were not located in the desert and not eaten hay grown in the desert, and the cause of death was said to be Valley Fever. 
There are currently some llama and/or alpaca owners in the Southwest who are trying a treatment of Fluconazole orally on camelids who have been determined to have a titer of Valley Fever (determined by bloodwork).
Rattlesnake Bites - Snakes are an issue in the desert regions, mostly in areas where there hasn't been complete blading of the desert.  Llamas are susceptible to snakebites across the country, mainly due to their inquisitive and investigative nature. 
I have an entire page on snakebites and llamas (please see Snakebites).
Oleander - Oleander bushes are a common landscape plant in the desert Southwest.  Oleanders are extremely poisonous to llamas, as well as other livestock and humans.  There have been cases where death has resulted from a llama ingesting only a few small oleander leaves, so this is not a plant that is welcome in your yard if you want to raise llamas.  I would even be concerned if neighboring properties contain some oleander, since cut leaves can blow into your property.
IF YOU HAVE OLEANDERS ON YOUR PROPERTY, GET RID OF THEM NOW!  They are DEADLY to llamas, dogs, humans and other livestock.