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Are there any disadvantages to castrating my llama?
Obviously you will no longer be able to use that llama for breeding. If you aren't sure whether a particular llama is breeding quality or at what time you can determine this, you can be sure of one thing — you don't have the necessary knowledge to breed him responsibly at this point in time. If you are seriously considering breeding llamas late and worried that you might regret castration now, pay to have several knowledgable breeders (that is, who successfully breed llamas for the use you are interested in) evaluate the llama and/or pay for a videotape evaluation. (Be cautious of breeders who sell you a young male and retain breeding rights — this is a common ploy to increase sales appeal and also drive the price up. If the youngster were in fact that good, they would be keeping him.)
If a llama is very young, castration may put him at risk for subsequent abnormal skeletal development. This risk has passed by 12-15 months (depending on genetic background).
If a particular llama is currently in ill health, castration is not advised until the llama has recovered.
If a particular llama has a physical defect that makes sedation risky, you and your veterinarian will have to weigh the benefits of castration (and positive birth control) against the risks to that individual llama. The answers will be different from animal to animal.
All sedation carries some risk. If your veterinarian is genuinely knowledgable, and especially if you have an accurate current weight for the llama, the risks are very small. It is worth mentioning that the only llamas we personally know of that died as a result of sedation were all administered a "reversal agent" (specifically Yohimbine, which "reverses" Rompun® but enhances the action of other sedatives that are often used in combination with Rompun® when sedating llamas).