|Health & Husbandry Notes for Camelid Owners|
HEALTH TOPICS ACCESS
Research progress for congenital deafness is severely hindered by
lack of funding. To date, all clinical research has been supported through the generous
donations of private supporters such as: the Ohio River Valley Llama Association, A. L.
Pacas Farms, the Camelid Health Foundation, and
TEN TIPS FOR AVOIDING VACCINATION PITFALLS:
Q How is proper sampling done?
Most State Extension offices will let you borrow a hay probe and the test is relatively inexpensive (generally under $15).
Q Where do we send them?
NFTA (The National Forage Testing Association) Certified labs can be found on their website: http://www.foragetesting.org select 'Certified Labs' and then download the certified list for the current year.
Free choice mineral should be available at all times. The basic formula outlined below is available commercially. It should be the only source of salt and mineral available.
* Steamed bone meal, although never shown a direct connect with BSE, has had some concerns using it in minerals for mammals. Many of the minerals mixes have switched to Monosodium Phosphate.
Recently there has been a concern about feeding bone meal. As you (should) know, Mad Cow Disease has been linked to feeding animal
Return to top of Health Page
There is an internet site with vet med e-books called IVIS. Here you can find a book on reproduction, primarily of camels, with full text articles, etc.
David E Anderson, DVM, MS
The Ohio State University
Discussions on Reproduction in New World Camelids:
Michelle L. Hedrick, Veterinary Student (Class of 2005)
Alpacas and llamas are South American Camelids. Both species are native to high altitudes in various areas of the Andes and Alto Plano of South America. The fiber that is yielded from the alpaca and the growing popularity of both species as pets has resulted in both alpacas and llamas being raised in many countries throughout the world. To support the growing market, animal management and production systems are developed in order to optimize reproductive capabilities and increase the efficiency and success of breeding. (Cortez 114)
A limitation in raising camelid livestock has to do with their reproductive physiology. Both alpacas and llamas have a long gestational period (approx. 350 days) and the females are uniparous, which means that they only give birth to a single offspring. Females are also induced ovulators, that is when the cervix is stimulated, there is a surge in LH (lutenizing-hormone), which causes ovulation. This differs from cattle,
The mechanisms for controlling parturition are not well understood in alpacas and llamas. In several South American studies, it was shown that births almost always occur during the day, frequently in the morning and usually in calm weather. This suggests that alpacas and llamas can delay giving birth in order to avoid unfavorable conditions. (Bruce 297, 300)
Follicle wave generation can recommence within 24 hours of giving birth in South American Camelids. However, fertile matings are not usually possible for at least 2 weeks after parturition. Ovulatory follicles are sometimes seen as soon as 7 days postpartum, but uterine involution isn't completed until 15-18 days after conceiving. Therefore, it is said that alpacas and llamas are able to successfully breed by 15 days postpartum, but that conception rates are improved at 21 and 30 days postpartum as compared to those at 2 weeks postpartum. This leaves a very small window of opportunity between conceiving and mating in order to maintain a 12-month reproductive cycle. (Gorden 195)
Three basic breeding techniques are used in camelids: natural service pasture-breeding, natural service pen-breeding, and natural service paddock-mating. Natural service refers to the fact that the male is actually breeding the female as opposed to artificial service where semen is collected from a male and deposited at the desired time in the desired female. Each method has advantages and disadvantages. (Purdy 2000) Field-Breeding: Concept One male is placed in a pasture with several females.
Advantages Most natural method Limited labor
Disadvantages Behavior and receptivity often not observed.
Pen-Breeding: Concept One male and one female are placed in a pen for a period of time (1 to 7 days).
Advantages Breeding dates can be more accurately determined.
Disadvantages Males have more aggressive libido
Paddock-Mating: Concept Each female is introduced to the stud male individually for short periods of time and breeding is only allowed to take place if the female is receptive to the male.
Advantages Behavior and receptivity easily observed.
In a study performed at Tara Hills High Country Research Station in 1996, pen-breeding was more successful in terms of the numbers of pregnancies with respect to the number of matings. (Bruce 299) Obviously, there are endless combinations and modifications of these breeding regimens. Experienced breeders have often developed methods that are extremely successful and unique to their farm.
Artificial insemination (A.I.), in vitro fertilization (I.V.F.), and embryo transfer (E.T.) are not commonly used in alpacas and llamas. The reason that A.I. isn't usually done is mostly due to the difficulty of semen
In vitro fertilization is a technique by which eggs are collected from a donor female and are matured and fertilized in a laboratory for subsequent implantation into a recipient female. (Safely 2001) Compared with ruminant species, llamas have an accelerated rate of embryonic development, but it takes longer for their oocytes to mature. According to Gorden, the accelerated development may have something to do with the early maternal recognition of pregnancy that has to occur. During this period of time, there is a transient decrease and then a recovery in progesterone concentrations and a muted pulsatile release of prostaglandin (as compared with non-pregnant animals). (Aba 88) In an experiment done by Del Campo in 1994, scientists concluded that the I.V.F system could be employed with llamas using "abattoir material" (slaughter-house tissue) and that llama oocytes could "be fertilized in the presence of heparin and epididymal sperm". (Gordon 203) The text did not specifically discuss the success rate of such a procedure, only that it was possible.
Embryo transfer is a technique that has been developed to, among other things, increase the number of offspring born. In a study conducted by Mr. & Mrs. Paul Taylor and published in the Alpaca Registry Journal, a protocol for this was established. First, a donor female was super-ovulated with injections of FSH (follicle-stimulating-hormone). The super-ovulated female was then bred to a stud male, producing several embryos at the same time. The embryos were then collected and transferred to recipient females. The recipient females subsequently gave birth to fraternal triplets. (As previously discussed, this is relatively un-heard of in New World camelids.)
As you can imagine, different producers tend to have favorite methods in which to run his or her farm. Breeding management is one of the most important functions of a breeding farm manager. To avoid reproductive failures in camelids, producers should seek out as much information as possible before employing their breeding programs.
Gorden, Ian (1997) Controlled Reproduction in Horses, Deer & Camelids.
Aba, M.A., Auza, N., Forsberg, M., Kindahl, H. & M.
Animal Reproduction Science, 59: 88
Bravo, P.W, Flores, U., Garnica, J. & C. Ordonez. Collection of Semen
Bruce, G.D., Davis, G.H., Dodds, K.G & G.H Moore. Seasonal
Cortez, Sandra, Ferrando, German, Gazitua, Francisca J., Parraguez,
Taylor, Paul. Embryo Transfer in South American Camelids.
www.purdyvet.com Author: Stephen R. Purdy, D.V.M
www.alpacas.com Author: Michael Safely
International Camelid Institute David E Anderson, DVM, MS
QUESTION: There is a lot of dialogue of late regarding whipworm in camelids and control of manure. Some say whipworm is not species specific and others that say that it is. The issue mostly revolves around potential exposure by camelids to canine or cat feces infected or potentially infected and vice versa.
|to the top|