Spaying Female Llamas

Are there long-term risks for a spayed female?

The oldest spays we are following were born in 1991 and 1993; all are living in robust health as of 2013.

To date, the only concern has been lax ligaments from inadequate Vitamin D. It is increasingly apparent that llamas, like dogs, store significantly greater amounts of Vitamin D in the testes and ovaries. This is a species—specific difference: cats and horses are two examples of species not affected to any degree of concern. Between the 33rd and 37th parallels (in the Northern Hemisphere), all species' ability to synthesize adequate Vitamin D in the winter months declines, and above the 37th parallel, an external sourceis required to maintain optimum levels. Read more about Vitamin D supplementation for llamas here.

Osteoporosis has not yet been described in llamas (geldings should be equally susceptible — testosterone plays the same role for maintaining bone density in the male body as estrogens do in the female). Osteoporosis may not occur because llamas are generally kept at pasture and therefore are continually active. Even low levels of exercise are of far greater importance than estrogen in prevention of osteoporosis in humans, a species that is comparatively susceptable to the condition. Because spayed llamas are markedly more active, there may even be more benefit than detriment where bone density is concerned.

Despite abrupt estrogen withdrawal, female llamas spayed by ovariectomy do not show any signs of "hot flashes" or any erratic "withdrawal" behavior during the adjustment period. In fact, spayed adult females show much quicker behavior changes than do castrated adult males. It is probable that female llamas, as induced ovulators, are adapted to respond to sudden changes in their hormone "cocktail" without experiencing detrimental side effects.

In contrast to early predictions (by others) that spays would get fat, our observation has been that spays typically have a more active metabolism and remain trimmer than their intact female counterparts.

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