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Useful Tip - Alpacas Losing Teeth/Fighting Teeth

Losing Teeth

I got a terrible fright one day when I was feeding Bombastic (a Suri Alpaca male we own) a treat by hand and I felt a very wiggly tooth in his mouth.  Nowhere had I read or heard of teeth falling out so I went and conducted more in-depth research on the subject.  Sure enough, I eventually discovered that alpacas start to lose their first set of teeth at approximately 2.5 years of age.  Bombastic was about 2.5 at the time so it was all happening on schedule.

Solution? 

Let nature take its course.  Keep an eye out for any swelling in the jaw that may indicate an abscess.  Alpacas have been known to suffer from these occasionally.  If in doubt, get the vet out.

In general, the permanent central incisors erupt at 2.5 yrs, the middle incisors at 3 to 3.5 yrs, and the last incisors at 4 to 6 yrs. 

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Fighting Teeth

The fighting teeth in males erupt at 2 to 7 yrs, with the average being 2.5 yrs.  The fighting teeth are very large and pointed in the adult male alpaca.  They can be used as harmful weapons against other alpacas. 

For safety reasons, the fighting teeth should be removed or filed off.  Many breeders file off the sharp tips of the fighting teeth themselves as it does not appear to hurt the alpacas, so, no anesthetic is administered.  However, it has been known for the tips to grow back, so, even once you have filed them off you should still take a periodic look to see that this has not happened. 

If you decide to remove the fighting teeth altogether, then, I would suggest you get the vet in to help you with that.  They should also be experienced at filing off the sharp points of the teeth so you may wish to get them to show you how the experts do it, the first time around, before you give it a go yourself.

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The information presented here is from our own experiences, adapted from others to suit our situation, property and our animals. We don’t claim to be experts and you are welcome to disagree, if you find something useful – great. Everyone is welcome to comment and provide feedback – see Contact Us.