Geronimo the alpaca's owner disputes post-mortem as Defra says TB-like lesions found

Helen Macdonald pictured with Geronimo the alpaca. Credit: PA

The owner of a South Gloucestershire alpaca which had to be put down has disputed the preliminary results of its post-mortem.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) had Geronimo the alpaca euthanised after he twice tested positive for bovine tuberculosis (TB).

Now a post-mortem has been carried out and Defra says "TB-like lesions" were found which now require further investigation.

But the animal's owner Helen Macdonald and her supporters claim the initial results show Geronimo did not have the disease.

The post-mortem was carried out by experienced veterinary pathologists from the Government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency.

Chief Veterinary Officer at Defra Dr Christine Middlemiss said: "A number of TB-like lesions were found and in line with standard practice these are now undergoing further investigation.

"These tests include the developing of bacteriological cultures from TB samples which usually takes several months - we would expect to complete the full post-mortem and culture process by the end of the year."

Geronimo was put down by Defra officials in August. Credit: PA

The alpaca was put down by Defra officials in August following a four-year campaign to save it by Ms Macdonald and animal rights groups.

Ms Macdonald received a letter from Government lawyers containing the initial findings of the post-mortem examination, which were then reviewed by veterinary surgeons supporting her.

In a statement, Ms Macdonald’s lawyers said: “As reviewed by Dr Iain McGill and Dr Bob Broadbent, the preliminary gross post-mortem findings are negative for visible lesions typical of bovine tuberculosis.

Ms Macdonald campaigned to prevent Geronimo's death for four years. Credit: PA

“For clarity there are no white or cream caseous, enlarged abscesses typical for bTB in alpacas, whether in the lungs, bronchial, mediastinal or retropharyngeal lymph nodes.”

They said Ms Macdonald had requested the full findings of the post-mortem report and results of additional tests.