I am so sorry that I haven't blogged for a while, we have been flat out here with one thing and another and I seem to be spending a lot of time at the day job. Almost to the point where I have checked my duty roster just to make sure they are not 'overworking me'.
Not only that but we have been very busy on the alpaca front not helped by the weather. It is official I hate mud.
Anyway several week ago I mentioned that we were doing something that could have ramifications on the future of our herd and I wasn't joking. We were given the opportunity to have the whole herd bTB tested using the new (and not licensed for use in the UK yet) Enferplex blood test.
This was the test used by the Inca Tribe to test the massed ranks of the Inca herd after the 'Swedish affair' that Tim wrote about in Alpaca World.
We had no suspicion that there was TB in the herd, in fact the herd is in fine fettle, looking great, well it is when it's not wet and muddy!
It would be a private test and for that we needed permission from DEFRA to carry it out. It would also be fairly costly and if any alpacas had tested positive there would be no compensation forthcoming.
So why have the test done? Well, we thought long and hard about it, we live in Wiltshire which is now in the 12 month testing zone, so it is about in these parts. We decided that we would rather know one way or the other. As I said we didn't suspect it, our vets didn't suspect it so it was a calculated risk, we anticipated the herd to test clear and with that positive mindset we set the ball rolling.
First of all the lovely Louise came round and took blood from the entire herd. The blood was then couriered to the lab in Ireland where the test was carried out. Whilst this was going on we waited, and waited. We tried not to think about it, we didn't talk about it, but we looked at each other every now and then and we could both see what we were thinking. What if? Who had we possibly sentenced to death?
It didn't bear thinking about. We didn't sleep well. I became rather short tempered and adrift (I may have been short tempered anyway).
Finally after two weeks of nail biting the test results came through and the Mighty Patou herd had indeed tested clear, everyone. Nothing to it really!
Now we can get on with Christmas! Incidentally I received the results on Tuesday evening of this week. I was working an evening shift. I have been working evenings ever since and am working evenings today. Tomorrow, I may have a celebratory snifter!