Sunday, 15 June 2014

Cocky b'stards

There was a long list of things stacking up for a blog.  I was going to write about the boys of course, I was going to write about their antics and report on the various routines.  One of the more important aspects of Alpaca ownership isn't the direct husbandry though, it is that you have to become a acquainted with the basics of pasture management.  I was going to talk about efforts towards drainage, weed control, re-seeding needs, and the rest.  I may still get round to some of that but I am going to tell the tale backwards.

So, in reverse order.

Dougal is on the mend. He wasn't a happy chap a few days ago.  We had noticed he had gone off his hard food.  This isn't all that much of a concern with him.  For starters he just isn't that bothered really. To tempt him a merest sprinkle of 'Carrs dust' on his Camelibra can make the difference.  Don't try to Google 'Carrs dust' - it's the scrapings out of the bottom of the bag of Carrs coarse camelid mix we use over winter.  We feed the 'little' boys separately from Fin and the gang as there is a chance Fin would gobble everyone's food.  However, Hamish, who can't really be described as a 'little' boy anymore now often tries to muscle in on Dougal's breakfast.  Dougie, not being all that bothered anyway will sometimes just defer and go and munch a bit of hay.  Not to worry - missing a bit of hard food isn't the worst thing when the grass is growing. 

But then we noticed him laying down a lot more than normal.  Over a few days this got worse.

Dougal - laid low in masses of buttercups

The classic signs of a off colour Alpaca were obvious.  Isolating from the heard, lethargy, increased humming.  We checked on the routine medications, fluke - check , Worms - check , AD&E - coming up , but not overdue. Lambivac - not yet,  Mineral supplement - perhaps a week or so late.  We dosed the whole heard with 5ml of 'Maxigrow'.  This worked like a magic tonic last time Dougal was like this - We fully expected him to react the same.  But no, progressively getting worse.

He has had a few stressful episodes of late.  Keeping up the with the reverse order of this blog.  We had Hamish and Dougal castrated a few months back.  But recovery was rapid and healing unproblematic.  Shearing came next, just before we noticed Dougal change.  He did spit and wriggle and wee himself but there was nothing we could pin down as unusual and he was right as rain straight after, sniffing Hamish's arm pit to make sure who was who.

Post shearing recognition

Soon after shearing we had turned the boys out onto the big paddock. They had been kept out of this for some time while we had been 'improving'.  This has started with muck spreading.  An event that provided amusement and disgust in equal measure from our city-slicker house guests at the time!  Muck spreading was followed by harrowing, seeding and fertilizer spreading. Ted the Fergie has been in much use !

When all that had settled down I tackled the buttercups that have started to take over. I suspect our regime of topping and leaving the cuttings on the field may not help this.  Last year I tried to cover over an acre with a knapsack sprayer.  This resulted in some slightly under the weather buttercups and some impressive shoulder bruises from lugging 20 liters of the stuff around.  This year war was declared.  I rigged up a boom sprayer out of found and borrowed items (The farmers quadbike sprayer, a bit of angle iron, a car battery, a suitably industrial grade, over specified control box of my own design and manufacture.

This sounds simple enough but like all things agricultural, scratch the surface and you are in a world of complexity.  Dilution, coverage, droplet size, boom height , spray angle, flow rate, tank pressure, drift rate and last but not least. the speed of travel.  I could work out all the above but getting the Fergie to traverse the field at a constant speed and remember to switch off the boom pump before slowing down for a turn was another matter.  This had ended up with me putting a heaver dose of the stuff (Headland Relay-P) down than I had planned.  

Oh no! Could this be the cause of Dougal's malady?  Had he got worse since being on the new paddock? This should not have been an issue as we waited for over the two weeks advisory, we had had some exceptionally heavy rain  and  I was sure to keep away from the fences for obvious reasons.  But it was a possibility and one I would not want to live with.

The grass is always greener

When we went down to see him next day.  He was flaked out in the shed.  He would struggle to get his head up and when he did he would be shaky. First stop was a call to the ever patient Barbara at Beckbrow. Her suggested approach was to follow an evidence based and logical process.  Often the temptation is to reach for treatment, but unless obvious and benign this isn't always the best course of action.  His temperature was normal but the inside of his eye-lids were pale, indicating possible anaemia. Poo observations (oh the joy of Alpaca ownership!) were not perfect 'beans', rather more 'turd' but with some structure.  Time to get serious and call the Vet.
Thorough examination revealed, as well as the obvious behaviours, Dougal's stomach was harder than expected and sensitive, he was holding his legs in a way that indicated he was in discomfort / pain.  This isn't easy to describe but basically his back legs were positioned further forward and closer together than normal  (Hamish was used as a model of 'normal').  Pain relief and antibiotics were the immediate treatment while poo and blood samples were taken.

The Vet was able to do initial tests in house straight away. In-fact we had some results back within hours.  Blood confirmed he was slightly anaemic and poo tests showed no worm load.  There was however coccidia.  The Vet doesn't have specific Alpaca experience but has joined the Camilid veterinary society and was able to call round and was told that even though a similar load would be acceptable in Sheep, this isn't the case with Alpacas.

Oh dear - it must be time for a picture to cheer me up.

Little b'stards from wikipedia

Nope - that's not cheering me up much.  But the treatment (Vecoxan 1l , 24ml for est weight 60kg) did, it seemed to have a good effect within 48 hours.  Up and about, and hanging with the boys.

 First up for 'water play'

I was observing the herd closely. 72 hours after his treatment I noticed Dougal was flat out in the middle of the paddock.  Neck out, feet to the side, little movement.  It was a hot sunny day and normally I would have just smiled and thought nothing of a sunbathing Alpaca.  After 10 minutes, no change. After what I thought was 20 minutes I thought.  Oh no ! and approached him.  Little movement.  So I sat close to him.  He moved his head and put it across my legs.  This isn't right Dougal doesn't do that.  The occasional deep breath, head across my lap and tolerating a neck stroke.  Very unusual for Dougie. There was no sight of the shakiness we had seen previously, and no vocalisation.  My thoughts turned dark. If he is going down this far this fast then there must be something serious and I need to do something now ! The Vet is on holiday, the detailed results were not back from the lab yet.  What to do? All the information I have read was spinning round in my head.  Then Bev shouted across - 'You know that one is Hamish don't you !'  Dougal was actually running about behind me, and Hamish stirred from his slumber, yawned, thanked me for my services and got up to join the rest after a nice few zzzz's with a massage from the boss thrown in !

Thanks Boss !

A week after treatment he is almost his old self, running alongside the tractor as it passes on the lane, grazing like there is no tomorrow, playing with Hamish, chewing the cud with big brother Noah.  He has even been seen taking a turn 'on guard' at the shed door.

Part of the Gang

Researching the topic I have come across the usual array of advice. What comes across in the 'literature' is that it seem s normal for Alpacas to carry some coccidia but in weaker animals they tolerate this less and in the presence of other stress the animal's immune system can't keep them in check.

Dougal has been subjected to a few 'out of the ordinary' stresses; castration , shearing , moving paddock etc. But so have the others.  So we are not counting our chickens yet.  I suspect that there may be an underlying cause so we are waiting for more detailed blood work.  We will take further samples to check for effectiveness and workout a regime with the Vet this week.

In my searching I found this link from Wellground useful as it is straightforward and puts forward some of the conditions that can contribute.   We have had all these conditions this winter - So we come full circle - better get on with that drainage project!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Pay Back

I made a new year resolution to blog more and moan less. So here we are with March halfway done and no blog to be seen, probably because there isn't much chance of writing one without moaning about the weather!  The boys (and the humans) have spent a lot of time in the shed. 

Bev and the boys taking shelter

It certainly has been a wet winter.  So wet that the field drains, put in who knows when, are showing signs of age, and are in need for some repair and maintenance.  At some points there were fountains of water raising up a good few inches from the turf and a number of mini sink holes have appeared that are just waiting to swallow a tractor wheel or worse, an alpaca leg.  This brings up the exciting prospect of a mini digger hire later on in the year.  With the drains backed up and the ground saturated we needed to construct a 'bridge' over the quagmire on the entrance to the shed.

   Fin leads the boys across the 'mud bridge' in an orderly fashion.

A spot of good news is that we have taken delivery of one form of 'pay-back'.  Since getting the boys we have been saving up fleece to make it worthwhile to process their fleece into something we can use.  Three years production soon mounts up and from a total weight of  13kg sorted fleece we have got back 11.62kg of  double knit yarn from the border mill.  

We chose to combine Noah (white but not the finest) and Kenzie (v light fawn but fine, structured and very very dense) to  make a 'cream' yarn. Finian is kept on his own as a light 'caramel'.  

'Fruit of the Paddock'
So what to do with all this yarn?  First up, we will have something made for ourselves.  I am fancying a jumper and Bev wants a hat and a scarf but neither of us are knitters and we don't want to waste their first production so we are on the look-out for a skilled person to do this for us.

We are already saving up our next batch.  Noah already has one in the bank, he produces a heavy fleece but not the finest and we didn't want to dilute Kenzie's super-good fibre so held his last cut back for the next batch.  We have high expectations for the little boys.  These two are really in a class above the others, testament to Beck Brow's ever improving genetics.  They both have mountains of fibre that is as fine as can be that will be added to their baby fleeces for more strength. 

Of course a couple of  garments won't make much of a dent in nearly 12kg so we have hatched some other plans.  This has necessitated some additional promotional shots that I though I would share with you  (Thanks to Fran for these)

Finian and Noah - Almost always play nice together !

Great shot of Kenzie

Another form of 'pay-back' was less expected and is a little less tangible than balls of fibre.  Little did I expect that when getting a few animals I would also gain so many human friends.  This weekend was the BAS national show and we took a trip to see 'what was what' and to lend a hand to Barbara from Beck Brow who was a show organiser.  Barbara, in addition to providing us with great animals, is always on hand for Alpaca related support second to none.  If that wasn't enough, Barbara and Paul also provide us with laughs and friendship that of course are valued above all else.

A few years ago we turned up at a similar event.  It was early in our interest in Alpacas and was probably only just a day out.  We spoke with a couple who patiently explained some of the basic needs and commitments and answered what must have been some pretty daft questions from some random punters with patience and enthusiasm. It turns out that these people were Jenny and Graham from Fowberry Alpacas. Three years on it was an honor to be trusted to handle their superb animals at a prestigious national event. 

 Andy in the ring. 
This chap was 'Shogun', a bit of a handful at times 

 It was great to meet up with so many like minded people, too many to mention, some of whom we knew only through blogging, until this weekend.  So the pay-back ? I can tell you the Alpaca community is filled with people who are 'good people'.  They are from all walks of life and doing it for all sorts of reasons - But to a man (and woman) they are passionate about what they do and never hold back with help and advice.  If you are thinking about making the first steps - come on in , the water is warm.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Helping Hands and Routines

Normally our Alpaca routine is a twice a day affair. Around 7:30 am and again before 7:00 pm to fit in with our other commitments.  This isn't really a chore.  Of course there is the company of the boys with their special welcomes, but if kisses from Dougal don't please,  then the shed is fitted with Radio 4 and the boys like to catch up with world events in the morning and the Archers in the evening.

It may not be a chore, but it isn't ideal either.  The boys take themselves to bed at dusk and in deep mid winter its dark for both the morning and evening feeds. This means that sometimes they are settled down in the shed so we may have to rouse them and that can lead to moaning from Noah who had become 'grumpy uncle Noah' now the little ones have pushed him down the hierarchy.

The Christmas break means for a couple of weeks we are able to tend to the boys in daylight

The break also means that we have a few more able helpers from time to time. Edward came to stay with his sister and was straight down the shed to grab a rake.  I am not exactly sure what Dougal was whispering in his ear !

 "Listen Do-dah-Do , do you want to know a secret ..."

Whatever it was , it was hilarious ! (Probably a poo joke -Edward and Dougal both seem to think this is a funny subject matter).  Fin was keeping out of it.

He He He - Poo !

It would seem Dougal was not the only one to whisper sweet nothings to the Kids.  Here Noah is having a quite word with Katie, Edward's big sis. 

"Little brothers Eh ?  Pesky things"

While recognizing it is not always possible to be at one's best in in these muddy times, we do feel that the boys have rather let themselves go a little lately.

Time for action, so with no expense spared we called in .. the 'Style Councilors'.   Heather and Clara. 

Clara gives Fin advice on the importance of a clean fleece while Heather tempts with a little 'Amuse' from the kitchen  


Clara didn't shy away from the yuckiest of chores and managed to keep herself spotless throughout . Helping Hamish eat breakfast isn't exactly onerous - but I thought best avoid the detailed pictures of the mucking out !

In the next blog we shall be examining the likes and dislikes of the herd with respect to the Radio 4 schedule. Bet you cant wait !

Monday, 30 December 2013

Mud. Mud, inglorious mud !

It has been a little while since the last blog.  Mostly because it's been hectic in the non Alpaca part of life.

One reason for the slow blog rate - we have had a bit of a building project on the go !

There hasn't really been too much to report on the Alpaca front either, no comings or goings. The odd visitor now and again.  But that is about it, except for a bit of a scare with our wee Dougal !  We were worried about Dougal a while back. He was isolating himself from the herd, being lethargic and off his food.
Man down ! Where is Dougal ?
(Yes Kenzie is looking directly at the Camera , even from 1/4 mile away !)

This wasn't right, so we double checked on his prophylactics, he had been wormed but was not due to be fluked and AD&E wasn't due just yet. We tried coaxing him to eat and tried sugar beet to get him going with little result.  We made sure he wasn't deferring to the others but there really wasn't  anything obvious.  In fact they seems as concerned about him as we were.  After a few days we called round for advice but there really wasn't much to go on. After a week of the same, we were no further forward. We had brought forward AD&E and there wasn't any improvement so we called the Vet out. He advised that fluke treatment would have been better a little earlier (he is more local than previous vet)  and so we treated the herd straight away (a generic available in small quantities from new vet works out a lot cheaper). The Vet did initial poo checks for worms and sent samples away to confirm and check for fluke.  Clear !  But still Dougal was not getting any better and would even lay with his head in my lap in the shed if I joined him in a lay down.  We were worried and more calls and texts were dispatched to the ever patient Barbara who recommended we try maxigro, a mineral drench.

Maxigro day came and we loaded the drench gun. We thought we had better start with Finian who coughed, spluttered, wretched, hacked and drooled then coughed some more in a most dramatic way. Convinced we had poisoned him we again called the third emergency service - Beckbrow to check we had got the right dose, the right stuff and what it would be like if you had drenched into a lung !  Reassured by Barbara's , "oh yeah, they all do that" we carried on, with similar results - they really don't care too much for this stuff !   When it came to Dougal however, no cough, no gag, no, he licked his lips and rose like Lazarus. Well,he licked his lips anyway and was right as rain the next day. He has not looked back.  Thanks Barbara ! 

We divided the field into two paddocks this year.  This lead to some interesting herd etiquette.  There is something of a prestige about being the first to get through the gate.  A prize often won by Hamish

Hamish - Bold and Fast

The weather it was atrocious (Sorry -  slipping in to Bob Dylan quotes there folks !) .  We are well used to the wind up here.  In fact it is so windy the overhead lines to the house are intentionally slack to reduce the howling !  Being in the Pennines we ought to be used to a bit of rain too.  But it has rained, rained and rained some more.  The whole place is soggy, slippy, and wet. We are going to have to do some serious field drainage work this summer.

The gate between the paddocks has become a quagmire.  Inches deep in slimy mud.  The poor boys are a disgrace to Alpaca kind. There is a different etiquette at play.  They race to the gate then venture across in order of finicky-ness. 

 Boys in Finicky order;  Fin, Noah, Dougal, Hamish, Kenzie .  
(Kenzie is always last and tiptoes with a look on his face -  so undignified)

All the boys have black feet up to their ankles.  So a plan was formulated.  Actually several plans were formulated but the farmer across the road dismissed most of these and recommended a solution that involved some 8'x4' boards and anti-slip stock mats.  So on Christmas eve, in a snow storm, Ted the tractor and I set off on a mission to retrieve and install said boards.

 Ted is a firm herd favorite and always attracts a crowd

Kenzie (rear) , a nice, very light fawn / off white is ..well.. A grey, and not in a good way.

So we are all fed up with the mud.  Just a day or two respite would at least let the standing water dissipate and the drains clear. Here's praying for some lovely clear, frosty winter days.  The boys don't mind the cold, but incessant muck ... No thanks !

New years resolution - More blogs - less moaning .. Happy New Year All.

Andy Bev and the Boys

Friday, 11 October 2013

Dr No(ah)

I was going to blog the other week.  I was going to blog about paddock maintenance.

 I was going to ask questions and seek advice about topping regimes as we have managed to completely get things screwed up.  Dividing the paddock into two seems to have had the effect of making each half twice as productive so our boys are too fat again even though there are more of them and they are restricted to half the grazing. They are are better than they were last year but they are still too tubby.  We need to avoid them becoming chubby carpet factories.

Hamish - Too fat 

I had a great day Saturday.  I collected the neighborhood bins on Ted the tractor. I unhitched the back-box and hitched the topper - even the PTO fitted without the usual wrist twisting manipulations.  I topped the overgrown poo pile edges on the archery pitch in the big paddock ready for boy transfer.  I strimmed the overgrown gateway , I added some cuttings to my domestic compost that had got a bit too rich from excess shopping.  Then it was off to 'Yarndale' to look at, well, yarn of course. This was an enormous event. 13,000 knitters visited on the first day alone!  It was good to see a lot of Alpaca fiber product there on many stands in may forms.  It was especially good to see Robyn from whynot there with some animals.

On Sunday I did a very thorough poo pick. 3 barrows a week now we have 5 boys producing. I then forked over all the gooey bits and mixed in new top-soil and grass seed. We wormed the boys and all was well with them and us.

There was a little twinge.  My Fergie de-mounting technique involves throwing a leg over the steering wheel, perhaps I overdid it getting on and off the tractor.  The twinge got a bit worse, maybe the poo picking was a bit enthusiastic.  The twinge became a niggle. Could it be restraining Fin for his jab I had pulled a muscle ?  Maybe the sausage sarnie at Yarndale was to blame ?  No matter, ill mend and it was a  lovely day.

 Monday morning breakfast routine was unremarkable.  Apart from the 'stich' in my side. Dougal has now come to expect his bucket to be lifted off the ground for him and then held. I am supposed to fend off the others while he takes his own sweet time chomping his Camelibra.  If I fail to do this he melts me with a cute look involving especially wide sad eyes.  Call me a softie but you cant stand up to this for long.  Better have a picture

doogie looking cute

And that's the last I saw of the boys for a few days.  During Monday the stich became a bit of a pain and on leaving work I decided I should probably get it looked at.  It was dark by the time I got back on Thursday night - minus my appendix.

Our district hospital is not very far away so staff are local. A typical encounter.  'Hello, I have come to do something undignified to you, but while I am doing it I'll ask you some questions to distract you.  Where do you come from ? Oh isn't that near the Alpacas ? Oh they are your, they are so cute. What do they eat ? Do they spit ? Are the brown ones a different breed ? My kids know all thier names... And eventually ... How are you feeling ?

I was pleased to get out of the place but it was Saturday before I made it down the shed.  Noah came to check me out.  I swear he sensed not all was well. He behaved strangely, he came alone, normally he would wait for the others, he sniffed at where my wound is and then pushed his weight gently against me and stood there for several minutes. The other boys eventually gathered and settled down around me.  Bev was just out of range with the camera before the magic was broken and Fin decided the best thing to cheer me up would be to eat my hat.

So all is well, I am back on breakfast duty including some light poo picking. But the planned front line application will have to wait.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Tales of Goo

A while ago we had an idea that we should keep the boys topped up with minerals and other vital things.  Following research we opted for what has become known as the goo bucket.

The Boys love it, this is probably because it is made mostly of molasses and they seem to have developed a bit of a sweet tooth.

Bev banished the goo bucket to the human side of the shed recently but the boys were very disappointed.  Hamish in particular felt aggrieved but they would all sneak in for a sly lick when ever the opportunity arose. 

As it was my birthday I decided that if I could have cake - the boys could at least have a bit of goo.

As the goo has been licked quite a bit you have to get your whole head in.

And then you have to suck - and lick and make a disgusting noise  until you have to come up for air..

 sporting a goo moustachioed..  and rinse !

Let Noah have a go ..

Then teach the little ones some bad habits !

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Paddock Times.

I resolved not start this blog with an apology about not blogging.  That's not news and no one wants to spend time reading. it. We tend to keep our heads down in birthing season as our news always seems quite pedestrian compared to tales of colostrum and plasma and prolapse and photos of pronking young cria. This doesn't mean  that nothing has happened, just nothing that compares to the alpaca version of 'one born every minute'.

When we left off Dougal had an abscess the size of a golf ball on the side of his head.  This was worrisome and despite treatment wasn't getting any better for a while.  Thinking something wasn't quite right we double checked the dosage of the anti-biotic and found we had been prescribed half the dose known to be effective. This means we were at least two weeks down into the infection (probably more) and poor wee Dougie was getting fed up with being jabbed every other day.   We kept it up for another 3 weeks and we are happy to say we had good results.  I have been keeping a close eye on  his jaw ever since and all seems well with no obvious jaw line damage to be felt.


Dougal today - All better

Our summer herd hand this year was Phoebe who made her way from Austin, Texas all by herself to help us tend to the boys (and do a few extra-paddock activity such as go to London , Cumbria , Scotland , the Roman Wall , the Yorkshire dales).

Here she is meeting the boys  
(Don't bother getting up Noah - She has only come 5,000 miles !)

And here she is practicing IM and SC technique on a banana
 (syringe loaded with rum and sugar prior to the whole thing going on the BBQ)

Hamish, our other new arrival, romped ahead growing into a fine young chap and for a while left Dougal standing.  I am not sure if this is because of the infections and antibiotic or just because it's the way of things but whatever the cause Dougal is making up for lost ground now.

 Two Healthy Boys - Growing fast.

One concern about Dougal's development was that his err, 'tackle' was small, or rather, non-existent.  Admittedly this is a purely hypothetical concern.  He wont get a chance to use whatever he grows , and it wont be with him for that long anyway.  But here at Lane House we take pride in having an elite collection of second rate males so we were just about to spend time researching the ATD (average time to drop) when all of a sudden there they were.  Phew.  An emergency celebration down the local curry house was called for, where we ate the traditional pudding in such circumstances !

Gulab Jamun - Celebration of Dougal Transition into ...

Its not all about the little guys.  The big boys are still close to our hearts and they continue to amuse amaze, entertain and relax.

Down with the boyz

Another reason for not blogging too much is that the weather has been so hot that we just really want to yawn and flake out in the shade.

 Its summer time ...

The herd dynamic is just that.  It is constantly subtly shifting. Finian is still the boss of the paddock and whenever I go into the field he will turn sideways and posture with a straight back and tail out.  He can't keep it up though and as soon as I hold his gaze for more than a few seconds his ears drop and he gives up on macho.  Since the little guys arrival Noah has decided he needs to learm the same posture.  Its a bit like looking at Dylan the rabbit dress up as a paratrooper.

We have been rummaging in our collection of 3 years fleece and have now got some firm plans that we will detail later.  Our boys are doing us proud - great quality !

Plies and piles and lovely fine glowing fiber

  In the mean time - we have rather more second cut than we have need for. Free to a good home - but you will have to collect.  Leave a comment if you want any.


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Sunshine Good, Abscess Bad

It's been a week, an unbelievable whole week of lovely sunshine.  The day after shearing out came the sun, just in time because we had been worrying about shearing wee Dougal.  So small and thin, we thought, so we ordered a dog coat just in case.  However, fleece off there's nothing very wee about young Dougie, he's quite solid in reality, so back went the coat, unopened, for a refund.

There was plenty of opportunity for water play at the weekend, Noah Kenzie and Dougal like a spray,  Hamish prefers a complete drenching..

Noah, refreshing

Hamish, more more more

Another sunny day treat is snoozing in the dust bath the boys seem to have made for themselves - on my archery pitch.  Here's Kenzie, I know he's hard to see, looks overexposed, but no he just glows like that in the sun..

Notice how Kenzie is left in peace to snooze
No such respect for my personal space when I try for a lie in the grass
Hamish and Fin to the Rescue?

Meanwhile, back at the water play on Saturday we both thought the shearer had left a little clump of long fleece under Dougal's right eye, it made him look a bit cockeyed, but no worries.

By yesterday, Sunday, the 'clump' was the size of a golf ball, definitely not right, a quick inspection and a dental abscess was diagnosed.  Poor Dougal, he's already had to fight off an eye infection, now this.  He's been off his hard food for a couple of weeks, but he's been grazing and eating hay, and chewing the cud ok, so we thought he just didn't like it.

Poor Dougal

Today Chris the Vet came out, confirmed an abscess and syringed some pus out, then he gave Dougal a painkiller and the first of 4 injections of antibiotic (Nuflor).  We will give him the other injections every alternate day until gone, and keep fingers crossed there are no underlying issues that will make the abscess erupt again.  Dougal used to love to give kisses, but not anymore, I hope he forgives us soon.