An exotic patient is on the mend after emergency dental treatment at the vets.

Joker the alpaca (affectionately known as JoJo) is back earning his keep at as a stud with other alpacas and trekking with customers at his home, at Lydford Gorge Alpacas in Lydford, after a tooth abcess the size of a golf ball was treated – his first visit to a surgery.

Vet Sarah Caldwell and a team of nurses, from Castle Vets Farm in Launceston, said Joker was very easy to deal with. He was so cooperative he even sat down so he could have his medication.

A practice spokesman said: ‘We had the privilege of working with this gentle giant to investigate a swelling on his jaw. Tooth root abscesses are not uncommon in alpacas but the damage to the jaw bone and teeth does vary, and the only way to determine this is through X-ray.

‘Thankfully, as a show and stud male, JoJo is used to travelling and arrived at the surgery strutting his stuff for the anticipated girls. Sadly he had to settle with us!’

Having arrived in a horse box and after local sedation, he was wheeled on a trolley for his X-rays. Luckily for Joker, the infection did not mean his tooth needed removing.

‘On recovery, there was only one thing on JoJo’s mind – food! Thankfully we were prepared with a favourite treat – peas.’

Helen Markou, Joker’s joint owner, said: ‘Sarah the alpaca specialist treated him and she did an excellent job. JoJo’s a tough cookie. He felt some pain on initial examination by the vet when the lump was being felt which was the first indication it was an abscess.’

Alpacas’ mouths are hard to access as they cannot open their mouths very wide so it can be difficult to get a proper look at what is going on and teeth removal needs major surgery because they are embedded in the jaw itself.

‘The lump is now getting smaller every day so he should make a full recovery and be ready for some girls!’

Joker, aged five, is the heart of the herd and lives with 10 others and his best friend Batman who he grew up with from a baby. Joker is very protective over the other alpacas and has even protected Helen from perceived danger.

Helen said: ‘It’s unusual for an alpaca to be so confident and relaxed on their own away from other alpacas, but Joker is not bothered at all. His son Ocado and full brother Bubbles have the same fearless nature.

‘He let the vet team fluff up the top of his head, loving the attention and being off of the farm where he could not trek for over a month whilst on medication. He then trotted off with my vet Sarah very happily as he knows her and she is quite simply the best vet I’ve ever dealt with. Sarah specialises in alpacas and is so calm, confident and has the most respectful way with alpacas who don’t deal well with a lot of restraint.’

Helen taught Joker to sit down while giving him his daily injection, making it easier to deal with a 100kg animal on her own.

She said: ‘He is so placid and calm which made the vet treatment easier. So now every day he comes in the pen with me and I put his halter on and ask him to sit. He also does other commands and seems to understand most of what you ask him – a truly special boy. I couldn’t be prouder of him and the vets were pretty amazed at him.’

Joker is farmed for fibre, to be used in workshops for needle felting and crotchet and for visitor trekking.

Helen said she always wanted to work with animals, but could not do it as a first career: ‘I met alpacas in 2007 in Tasmania and fell in love with their intelligence, how social and endearing they are.’

Unlike many animals, her alpacas enjoyed the recent heatwave: ‘They have spent most of their time sunbathing fully out in the hot sun in some rather spectacular postions. Their choice! But they have been enjoying splashing around in the hosepipe spray every day, one of their favourite activities. They also have a paddling pool but keep bursting them so we need to find the cash to get a proper alpaca grade one.’