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6-24-02    Discussions on Reproduction in New World Camelids:
Optimizing Reproductive Efficiency

Michelle L. Hedrick, Veterinary Student (Class of 2005)
David E Anderson, DVM, MS, DACVS

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, horses, sheep, gaots, and people all of whom are spontaneous ovulators, that is these species ovulated evertime cycle. Thus, camelids show ovarian activity throughout the year and are capable of breeding, conceiving, and giving birth at any time of the year.  An advantage to this is that mating can be timed so that parturition will occur during the season in which pasture is most nutritionally sound.  In South America, "Spring matings are carried out from mid-October to mid-December to ensure that the subsequent births and lactation are timed to coincide with peak pasture growth". In North America, spring breedings might occur in March through May. Research at Ohio State University has shown that spring crias have the fewest problems with disease during the period from birth to weaning.

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 pastrure-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 Optimal conception rates (esp for novice breeder owners)

Disadvantages  
Behavior and receptivity often not observed. Uncertainty about breeding dates. Disruption of breeding program if stud male not fertile.

Pen-Breeding: Concept  One male and one fermale 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. Females may be over bred, resulting in decreased fertility or infection.

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.

Breeding dates are known.
Duration of breeding activity is known.

Disadvantage    Male has very dominant, aggressive libido and may cause more severe bruising, etc in reproductive tract which can lower conception rates

Observation of receptive behavior of female may give "false positives" because female "submits" to dominering male

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 collection.  Male alpacas will breed a female for an average of 25 minutes.  They are "dribble ejaculators" and deposit a relatively small amount of semen into the female. Semen deposition is intracornual, with the female in a ventral recumbent position ("cushed"). Some methods that have been employed to collect semen from alpacas have included condoms or vaginal sacs, electro-ejaculation, vaginal sponges and cannulation of the male's urethra.  However, the most reliable samples have been collected via a "dummy" female with an artificial vagina heated to the appropriate temperature and equipped with a stricture that is made to resemble a natural cervix.  According to a study conducted in Peru in 1993, pregnancy rates were higher when the collected semen was deposited directly through the cervix, into the left uterine horn, rather than via the intracornual deposition by laparoscopy. (Bravo 619, 624)

         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.

References
Gorden, Ian
  (1997)  Controlled Reproduction in Horses, Deer & Camelids.  New York:  CAB INTERNATIONAL

Aba, M.A., Auza, N., Forsberg, M., Kindahl, H. & M.

Quiroga   Levels of Progesterone and changes in PGF2  alpha release

During luteolysis and early pregnancy in llamas and the effect of treatment with flunixin meglumine.  Animal Reproduction   Science, 59: 88

Bravo, P.W, Flores, U., Garnica, J. & C. Ordonez. Collection of Semen Artificial Insemination of Alpacas.. Theriogenology, 47: 619

Bruce, G.D., Davis, G.H., Dodds, K.G & G.H Moore.  Seasonal effects of Gestation length and birth weight in alpacas.  Animal Reproduction Science, 46: 297-303

Cortez, Sandra, Ferrando, German, Gazitua, Francisca J., Parraguez,

Victor H. & Luis A. Raggi.  Early pregnancy diagnosis in Alpaca (Lama pacos) and llama (Lama glama) by Ultrasound. Animal Reproduction Science, 47: 113-121

Taylor, Paul.  Embryo Transfer in South American Camelids.
Alpaca Registry Journal. Spring 2000.

Web-sites:  www.purdyvet.com    Author: Stephen R. Purdy, D.V.M

www.alpacas.com   Author:  Michael Safely

www.internationalcamelidinstitute.org

David E Anderson, DVM, MS Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Surgeons
Associate Professor of Surgery, Food Animal
601 Vernon L Tharp StreetCollege of Veterinary Medicine
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Anderson.670@osu.edu
Phone: 614-292-6661
Fax: 614-292-3530

VISIT OUR WEB-SITES:

         http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/docs/ClinSci/bovine/index.htm
         http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/docs/ClinSci/camelid/index.html       
         http://www.internationalcamelidinstitute.org

 

6-25-02      Heat Stress 

Are You Ready for Summer ?    (a.k.a. Have You Sheared Your Llama / Alpaca Yet ?)

David E Anderson, D.V.M., MS   Farm Animal Section
College of Veterinary Medicine
    The Ohio State University

I am out working with the teaching herd with a few of my students. I notice that we are very comfortable but that a few of the animals have increased respiratory rate and effort. This reminds me of the individual variation of these creatures. Every animal responds to stress – heat stress or any other - differently. Today, with the temperature at 72 F, the humidity at 65 % (HSI = 137 for those of you who remember the heat stress index calculation; HSI = Temp + humidity), and direct sun exposure, some animals show low-grade heat stress when handled. My mind drifts back to the last few years. 1998 and 2001 were devastating for us - approximately 6 llamas and alpacas died of severe, unrelenting heat stress in Ohio. 1999 and 2000 were not much better but I was proud of our clients' whose preparation for summer resulted in extremely few problems given the brutal drought. We saved most, but some get treatment too late. A friend sent me a reminder about an upcoming newsletter and I starting to think of all the things I wished all our clients knew to prepare for heat stress season. So - here are my

TOP TEN list of things to do. The list is not all inclusive, but these are some of the most important things we need to do to protect the llamas and alpacas from heat stress before it happens to you !

1.   SHEAR - I recommend that all llamas and alpacas be sheared before June 1st every year. Barrel cuts seem to work OK, but not shearing is not an option.

2.    SHADE - Lots of shade should be available. Most critical is that there is enough shade for

ALL of the animals to be shaded at the same time whenever they want.

3.  VENTILATION - A good breeze is worth a thousand words. The most important thing is that the wind can get underneath the animals where the "thermal window" is located. Fans should blow across the barn at floor level (not down from a height). Barns should have cross-ventilation so that stagnation does not occur in any area.

4.  WATER - Clean, plain, fresh water should be available at all times. Water should be replaced at least twice a day to keep it cool (not cold). Water should be in the shade and animals should not have to compete for access.

5.  BEDDING - Straw is bad in summer. This thick bedding closes off  the thermal window and decreases access to ventilation. Sand bedding, especially slightly moist, is very good at absorbing heat from the animals. Concrete is hard, but cool and easy to clean and wet down.

6. WADING - I like pools. Llamas and alpacas will seek out puddles, ponds, etc to get cool. This tends to make hair fall out if they lay around in water too much of the time, but pools are very effective at allowing the animals to self-regulate temperature. Bad for show season, but good for non-showers. The pool should be in the shade and freshened daily.

7. MONITORING - Observation is the key to life. Watch your animals. If they spend a lot of time eating, standing, walking around and being active then they are probably happy and healthy. If they lay around most of the day and are not active, then they may have subclinical heat stress (early stage) and intervention may be warranted. Watch your breeding males very closely. If you see the scrotum getting pendulous, "baggy", or increasing in size, do something immediately or you may loose fertility!

8. FEEDING - Eating and digesting hay takes a lot of work and generates a lot of heat. Some have suggested that less hay, more grass and grains cause less heat stress risk because heat production from digestion is minimized. I question the application of this concept, but certainly pasture grazing is the best management style.

9.  ELECTROLYTES - I am a big believer in the protective effect of electrolytes. I make water available that has salt, potassium, glucose, and bicarbonate in it to help replace losses that occur in sweat and breathing. I am a big believer in the protective effects of a balanced diet. Of particular interest for heat stress is that adequate Vitamin E, Selenium, Zinc, and Copper are available.

10.  PREGNANCY - I prefer to see females in this area of the country having crias in the spring. This optimizes easy re-breeding of females; allows optimal lactation because of the nutrition of fresh grass; optimizes cria health because of sunlight, clean pastures, and good nutrition; and prevents females from having to suffer late gestation in the hot summer months.

Successful treatment of heat stress depends upon early recognition (increased respiration, lethargy, increased recumbency, decreased appetite, decreased cooperation with or participation in activity, flared nostrils). Most of the above mentioned prevention strategies can be applied as treatment.

Consult a veterinarian at the earliest time for animals showing abnormalities of behavior during summer months. Remember, Autumn is just a few months away!

David E Anderson, DVM, MS Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Surgeons
Associate Professor of Surgery, Food Animal
601 Vernon L Tharp StreetCollege of Veterinary Medicine
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Anderson.670@osu.edu
Phone: 614-292-6661
Fax: 614-292-3530

VISIT OUR WEB-SITES:

         http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/docs/ClinSci/bovine/index.htm
         http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/docs/ClinSci/camelid/index.html       
         http://www.internationalcamelidinstitute.org

 

TEN TIPS FOR AVOIDING VACCINATION PITFALLS:

1. clean, new syringe - do not leave syringes lying around. Open them just before using and be efficient.

2. clean, new needle - and keep it that way. Needles can become quickly contaminated in the hair, dirt and debris of the barn.

3. clean new vaccine vial (vaccines from multidose vials should be used or discarded. Many adverse reactions I have seen are from large vials stored for prolonged periods. If you need 20 doses, buy TWO 10 dose vials rather than a 50 dose vial. That 50 dose vial that had 20 doses removed is unlikely to be sterile when you come back 6 months or a year later to do another round").

4. Accurate administration - give subQ preferably, not IM. IM increases liklihood of adverse reaction because of accidental IV administration. (Most vaccine reactions are sterile abscesses that break and drain.
Although these are unsightly, one that breaks and drains from just under the skin is far less likely to cause a probelmt han one that has to break and drain from deep in a muscle.)

5. Pull back on plunger before adminstration - make sure you are not in a vein. (Even a small amount of vaccine can cause reactions when given in a vein or artery. If the animal jumps around, re-check your position.)

6. Administer in a clean site. ZEN of vaccination: Part the fiber - "see the site - be the site"

7. Avoid using multidose syringes - These are far more likely to cause a problem because of contamination.

8. store vaccine correctly - usually in a refridgerator, at minimum cool, dark place. Absolutely follow label storage directions.  Do you know your supplier - was the vaccine shipped correctly, stored correctly, how close to the "out of date" dat is the vial, etc. You get what you pay for.

9. talk to your vet - have a plan to deal with vaccine reactions. Plans do no good when they are made after the fact. Discuss risk assessments to decide what vaccines are "critical", which ones are "optional", and which are "not needed".

10. There are no labeled vaccines for camelids so ALL vaccines are used extralabel. You assume the risk in giving them. I feel comfortable in saying that far more camelids have been helped by vaccines than have ever been hurt by them, but that does not mean that there are any guarantees.

David E Anderson, DVM, MS, DACVS

 

How Are You Feeding: Feed Weighing Accuracy
Daniel Linden, MS
David E Anderson, DVM, MS, Dip ACVS
The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine   www.icinfo.org

    Measuring feed for llama and alpaca consumption is not as easy as it
sounds. At a recent conference, we asked 48 people to place 1.0 pound of
commercial camelid pellet into a feed bowl. The bowl was then weighed on a
portion scale to determine the amount of feed that was actually present.
    Four groups of people were represented in this trial. 9
veterinarians, 7 veterinary students, 12 veterinary technicians, and 20
owners and breeders participated. The participants were classified as
successful if they were able to measure the feed within 0.25 pounds (+/-
0.25 pounds) of the 1.0 pound goal. One pound of feed was used as the target
amount because the commercial pellet that was used was designed to be fed at
1.0 pounds of feed per 175 pounds live body weight.

    How accurate were the different groups? Of the 48 people that tried,
fewer than 1 out of 3 was accurate. Veterinarians were the most accurate
with 44% of them able to estimate to within 0.25 pound, which was our mark
of success. They were followed by the owners and breeders of which 35% were
able to come within 0.25 pound. The veterinary technicians followed in third
place with 33% of them within 0.25 pound. Veterinary students were in last
place with only 14% within the ¼ pound allowance.

    However, it is not as simple as all this. The veterinary students
had the lowest percentage of people within 0.25 pounds, but were the only
group to not feed in excess of one pound. The owner and breeder category had
an average weight of 0.71 pounds, which was the closest to 1.0 of any of the
groups, but also had the highest standard deviation of the four groups. This
means that the range of answers was larger than any of the other groups,
from 1/8 of a pound to nearly 2 pounds.

    What does it all mean? Simply put, most of us, over 2/3 of us, were
unable to accurately weigh the proper amount of feed for our animals without
a scale. Many owners say “Well, I feed by cups”, which is fine as long as
one knows the number of cups, cans, scoops, or whatever to accurately feed
the recommended amount of feed for your animals. Until this amount is known
scales are recommended. Appropriate portion scales can be bought at most
restaurant supply stores and many grocery stores for a reasonable price.

    Another thing to consider is feed type. Every feed is different.
Pellets weigh different by volume depending on manufacturer. A feed with
molasses will likely weigh more by volume than a composite feed. If you
change from one feed to another, another weight should be obtained and your
scoop marked to know how much of the new feed to use.  
   
Group            Mean    Stand. Dev.    Range
Vets            0.67    0.34        0.25-1.25 lbs
Vet Students    0.43    0.29        0.13-1.00 lbs
Vet Techs        0.64    0.38        0.25-1.50 lbs
Owner/Breeders    0.71    0.40        0.13-1.75 lbs

David E Anderson, DVM, MS, DACVS
Head and Associate Professor of Farm Animal Surgery
Director, International Camelid Initiative
Ohio State University
College of Veterinary Medicine
601 Vernon L Tharp Street
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Phone 614-292-6661
Fax: 614-292-3530
E-mail:
Anderson.670@osu.edu

 

7-31-05  Uterine Torsion in Llamas and Alpacas
Alina P. McClain, Veterinary Student
David E. Anderson, DVM, MS, DACVS
Matt Miesner, DVM, MS, DAVIM
College of Veterinary Medicine The Ohio State University www.icinfo.org

Reproductive problems in Camelids are a source of great stress for both the
animal and the owner.  We hope to help decrease some anxiety associated with
reproductive problems by increasing knowledge and awareness of some common
peri-parturient (near the time of birthing) problems.  This article will
focus on uterine torsions.

A uterine torsion is a condition where the pregnant uterine horns rotate
from their normal position.  The rotation can be described as either
clockwise or counter-clockwise. This refers to the direction of rotation of
the uterine horns about each other similar to the hands of a clock. If you
are looking at the rear of the llama, visualize a clock face. The uterine
horns are nroamlly at 3 O'clock (right horn) and 9 O'clock (left horn). If
the left horn flips over top of the right horn, then the horn has moves
clockwise similar to the hands of the clock. To state this another way
remember that Camelids have bi-cornate (two horned) uteruses.  If you think
about your arms as the two horns and place them in front of you in the shape
of a "Y" you would be a normal uterus.  In a clockwise uterine torsion your
left arm would go over top of your right.  In a counter-clockwise torsion
your right arm would go over top of your left.  The torsion can be anywhere
from 90 degrees to 360 degrees and beyond.  The place where it twists is
normally near the cervix.  This prevents the cervix from dilating and will
prevent birth if it is not corrected.  Uterine torsions are generally
painful and can cause colic-like signs (increased heart rate and respiratory
rate, anorexia, rolling, thrashing and straining).  It is still unknown why
uterine torsions occur.  It is known that there are some conditions which
make a torsion more likely to occur.  For instance, large fetal size (as the
fetus gets close to term), certain dam behaviors (such as rolling
excessively as when placed in new areas), right horn pregnancies (these
represent fewer than 15% of total pregnancies in llamas and alpacas), and
prolonged gestation tend to create uterine torsions.  Uterine torsion should
be suspected when a dam is close to parturition (within 3 months) and shows
signs of colic or distress.  It can be diagnosed by your regular
veterinarian by rectal palpation, vaginal exam/palpation and/or ultrasound.

Uterine torsions can be corrected with medical or surgical intervention.
Medical intervention generally entails rolling the female while stabilizing
the uterus to "untwist" the trosion.  Sedation may be needed to roll the
dam.  The dam is placed on her side and rolled over her back to her other
side.  The dam in placed on the side "with" the torsion or toward the twist:
e.g. on the right side for a clockwise twist; on the left side for a
counter-clockwise twist. A plank or manual pressure on the outside of the
abdomen helps keep the uterus in place while the dam is "rolled off of her
uterus".  This procedure may need to be repeated multiple times.  Our rule
of thumb is "three times and your out" meaning that if we can not correct
the twist in three attempts, we perform surgical correction. A vaginal exam
should be performed after each attempt.  If rolling is successful the dam
should be kept as quiet as possible to make sure she doesn't twist again.
If it is not successful, your veterinarian should make a decision about when
(or if, depending on the severity of the torsion and health of the fetus) to
go to surgery.  Surgical correction of uterine torsion uses the same
approach as a c-section.  The surgeon then corrects the torsion.  If the
fetus is near term or determined to be dead, a c-section can be performed at
the same time.  In some cases the uterus cannot be untwisted without removal
of the fetus.  This is a judgment call that the surgeon makes during
surgery. 

The possible complications of uterine torsion are fetal death or compromise,
death of the dam, uterine compromise (twisting can cut off the blood supply
to the uterus and fetus), uterine rupture and subsequent peritonitis, and,
if surgical correction is necessary, all of the complications associated
with c-section. 

At OSU-VTH we have seen many camelid patients that required treatment for
uterine torsions.  We reviewed thirteen camelids presented for uterine
torsion; 10 were alpacas and 3 were llamas.  Five (38%) of the torsions were
clockwise and 8 (62%) were counter-clockwise.  Eight (62%) were corrected
with medical management (rolling), while 5 required surgical treatment.  Of
the 13 cases, 9 (70%) were alive and survived to go home and 4 (30%) died.
In one case, the dam died 14 days post-operatively due to peritonitis.  In
all of the cases where time of gestation was known, uterine torsions
happened in the last 2 months of gestation. 

We can recommend, based on these findings, that dams should not be stressed
in the last several months of gestation.  This would include moving them to
a birthing pasture at least 30 to 60 days before birthing to minimize the
risk of excessive rolling (e.g. dusting behavior) by the dam which can
increase the risk for torsion.  Close observation of late-term dams can also
help to catch dystocias before harm occurs to the fetus or dam.  Any dam
that shows signs of colic or a prolongation of stage 2 labor (for instance,
a foot is out and nothing else for 20 to 30 min) should be evaluated by a
veterinarian as soon as possible.  Early detection of problems can help
increase the number of healthy fetuses born to healthy dams.

In conclusion, when your animal has a reproductive problem, the most
important questions an owner or barn manager should ask themselves are: "Is
this a departure from normal?", "Can I manage this problem myself?", and
"How long do I wait before I ask for help, or call my vet?"  By staying
educated in the normal processes of camelids, you can usually answer the
first question.  Your experience and expertise should allow you to make a
decision on the second question.  And finally, the sooner the better is
almost always the answer to the third question.  We would much rather see
your camelid too soon than too late. 

REFERENCES:
The Reproductive Process in South American Camelids, Bravo, P. Walter
Theriogenology in Camelidae, Tibary, Anouassi A.
Current Therapy in Large Animal Theriogenology, Youngquist, Robert S., DVM
Medicine and Surgery in South American Camelids: Llama, Alpaca, Vicuna and
Guanaco, Fowler, Murray E.

David E Anderson, DVM, MS, DACVS
Head and Associate Professor of Farm Animal Surgery
Director, International Camelid Initiative
Ohio State University
College of Veterinary Medicine
601 Vernon L Tharp Street
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Phone 614-292-6661
Fax: 614-292-3530
E-mail: Anderson.670@osu.edu

7-30-05  CESAREAN SECTION IN LLAMAS AND ALPACAS
ALINA MCCLAIN, VETERINARY STUDENT
DAVID E ANDERSON, DVM, MS, DACVS
MATT MIESNER, DVM, MS, DACVIM

Reproductive problems in Camelids are a source of great stress for both the
animal and the owner.  We hope to help decrease some anxiety associated with
reproductive problems by increasing knowledge and awareness of some common
peri-parturient (near the time of birthing) problems. Hopefully, increased
awareness will lead to earlier and more successful intervention when
problems exist. This article will focus on Caesarian section.

Caesarian Section
A Caesarian section (commonly referred to as a "c-section") is a surgical
procedure for removing a fetus from the uterus.  This surgery entails making
an incision in the body wall, commonly centered in the left flank, and then
opening the uterus to extract the fetus.  Under some circumstances this is
the only way to remove a fetus; however, it is obviously not natural and
therefore less than ideal.  Whenever possible, we would prefer natural birth
to take place. 

Common reasons to perform a c-section include: malpositioning of the fetus,
inadequate dilation of the cervix, a narrowed birth canal (due to tumors,
abscesses, or a narrowing of the bony pelvis), inability to manually extract
a fetus through manipulation, and uterine torsion.  The proper position for
natural birthing is anterior (the front of the fetus first), dorsosacral
(the back bone of the fetus is toward the back bone of the dam), and limbs
and head in extension (meaning both forelimbs are fully extended in front of
the fetus' nose, and the head is lying on top of the forelimbs).  This
positioning normally happens during the last 2 weeks of gestation by
coordinated contractions of the uterus and movements of the fetus.  If the
dam or fetus are stressed malpositioning can occur.  There are many
different ways for the fetus to be malpositioned.  Some can be easily
corrected by manual manipulation through the vagina, while others are
impossible to correct manually.  Inadequate dilation of the cervix can also
occur many ways.  If the fetus is not positioned properly, it may not
stimulate the reflex required for cervical dilation.  Likewise, if the
uterus is twisted (as in a uterine torsion) adequate dilation may not occur
because of mechanical restriction.

Possible complications with c-section include: incisional infection,
intra-abdominal adhesions, incisional dehiscence (opening up of the
incision), evisceration, and rarely death.  The most common of these are
infection and adhesions.  Incisional infections can happen due to many
causes, but can often be controlled in most cases with medical management
(antibiotics, warm water lavage or hot-packing).  Adhesions are scar tissue
formation in the abdomen that can stick abdominal organs together.  If the
uterus is touching another structure in the abdomen, the scar tissue can
cause the two structures to become stuck together.  This can cause future
reproductive problems or gastro-intestinal problems.  We try to minimize the
occurrence of adhesions by using a variety of medical treatments including
anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, and anti-adhesive agents.  Incisional
dehiscence may be more common in camelids than it is in other large animal
species (e.g. cattle, sheep, goats) due to their thin body walls.  Often a
belly wrap is placed post-operatively to help support the weight of the
gastro-intestinal tract.  We also recommend limiting exercise by confining
the animal to a stall or small pen until the skin sutures are removed.   

In conclusion, although a c-section is a common surgery, it should never be
used unless it is necessary for the health of the dam or fetus.  By taking
some routine precautions we can limit the post-operative complications
encountered. 

Clinical research at Ohio State University

At OSU-VTH we have seen many camelid patients that required c-section or
treatment for uterine torsions.  Of the 20 camelids that required a
c-section in the past 5 years, 17 (85%) were done through flank incisions
and 3 (15%) were done through midline incisions.  Fourteen (70%) were done
under sedation only while the remaining 30% were done under general
anesthesia.  It is preferable to do a flank incision under sedation because
this reduces the number of possible complications the patient has to endure.
Twelve of the 20 fetuses (60%) were extracted alive during the c-section and
survived to go home.  Nine (45%) were either dead when they were removed
from the dam or died shortly afterward.  Out of the 20 camelids only one dam
died.  Most of the complications were mild and included vaginal tearing,
uterine tears that were repaired at surgery, incisional infection, retention
of fetal membranes, and in one case, peritonitis.

We recommend that dams should not be stressed in the last month of
gestation.  Close observation of late-term dams can also help to catch
dystocias before harm occurs to the fetus or dam.  Any dam that shows signs
of colic or a prolongation of stage 2 labor (for instance, a foot is out and
nothing else for 20 to 30 minutes) should be evaluated by a veterinarian as
soon as possible.  Early detection of problems can help increase the number
of healthy fetuses born to healthy dams.

When your animal has a reproductive problem, the most important questions an
owner or barn manager should ask themselves are: "Is this a departure from
normal?", "Can I manage this problem myself?", and "How long do I wait
before I ask for help, or call my vet?"  By staying educated in the normal
processes of camelids, you can usually answer the first question.  Your
experience and expertise should allow you to make a decision on the second
question.  And finally, the sooner the better is almost always the answer to
the third question.  We would much rather see your camelid too soon than too
late. 

REFERENCES:
The Reproductive Process in South American Camelids, Bravo, P. Walter
Theriogenology in Camelidae, Tibary, Anouassi A.
Current Therapy in Large Animal Theriogenology, Youngquist, Robert S., DVM
Medicine and Surgery in South American Camelids: Llama, Alpaca, Vicuna and
Guanaco, Fowler, Murray E.

David E Anderson, DVM, MS, DACVS
Head and Associate Professor of Farm Animal Surgery
Director, International Camelid Initiative
Ohio State University
College of Veterinary Medicine
601 Vernon L Tharp Street
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Phone 614-292-6661
Fax: 614-292-3530
E-mail: Anderson.670@osu.edu

7-29-05  Camelid Working Group

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release

CAMELID WORKING GROUP ANNOUNCES NEW WEB SITE ON ANIMAL ID

    In a continuing effort to keep the llama and alpaca community
informed on development of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS)
for camelids, the Camelid Working Group (CWG) has established a new web
site.

    The purpose of the new web site is to increase NAIS awareness among
llama and alpaca owners, keep owners updated on CWG activities, provide the
opportunity to give input on developing the camelid ID plan, and help owners
make the transition to meeting the anticipated coming laws. 

    The CWG web site contains all of the CWG press releases to date, a
section on frequently asked questions, background articles on animal ID,
Federal Register Docket comments, and a list of CWG members and their
contact information.  You may access the web site at www.camelidid.org.   

7-29-05  Dr. Anderson,

I would appreciate if you would consider posting this call for participation to your camelid health network. I am especially interested in vets becoming aware of my requests. I can forward my CV to anyone who is interested and would be happy to discuss this further. I posted this initially on alpacasite, and have begun to receive samples weekly since the posting.  I am actually faculty at Ohio State University as well, having an courtesy appointment in Anthropology there since 1997. Looking forward to hearing from you. I would be willing to give a talk related to this as well if that would help procure more samples and cooperation.

Cheers,

Andy Merriwether


Call for Participation:
I have started a DNA bank for future use mapping potentially genetic diseases and phenotypic traits in alpacas and other camelids. Now that the alpaca genome project is almost finished, we will have at least a rough road map of the alpaca genome to start searching for genes involved in camelid health, disease, and various phenotypes. To this end I thought it would be prudent to start banking blood samples from any animals that have any unusual traits, or are born with defects (even born dead). I currently have grants in review to map the genes for camelid coat and skin color, and to map the Suri allele, with the goal of developing genetic tests to offer the industry. If I can accumulate enough samples (blood or tissue, and fiber), I will submit grants to map the gene(s) for choanal atresia and wry face, and polydactyly.  To do this, I need blood or tissue samples from the animals born with CA or wry face or polydactyly, as well as from the dam and sire (if possible), and ideally also from other unaffected siblings. This would all be strictly confidential. I have already received dozens of samples, but will need 50-100 cases and their parents for each trait to map any of these. Llamas are fine also. The animals do not have to be registered. It would help me to have any vet information describing the condition, and if any of the animals (affected or not) have ARI or CLCC numbers it would help me to have them as well. Again, this is strictly confidential. I am not restricting it to these problems. I have collected samples from polydactyl animals and animals with multiple limbs, as well as animals with nursing problems. If anyone has run into this, or does run into it in the future, I would appreciate receiving samples. In general, I am interested in any potentially disease-related phenotypes or unusual non-disease-related phenotypes (traits). I will be happy to talk to anyone about this on the phone or by email. Phone at home is 607-785-8226. Lab is 607-777-6707. Email is andym@binghamton.edu

For now, I am establishing this registry with my own funds (ie doing the extractions from blood and tissue samples and storing them at -80C). If enough samples materialize, I will be able to apply for funding to help pay for this. For now, it is based on your generosity to spend the money to draw the bloods and mail them to me. Blood should be in a lavender top tube (EDTA Vacuutainer) , ideally 1-5 mls. It should be overnight mailed to me within 72 hours of drawing it. It should be refrigerated (not frozen) until it is mailed, and can be sent with a blue-ice pack or room temperature if it is not too hot.  You need to email me to warn me it is coming, and all related paperwork should accompany the samples, which should be labeled clearly so I know what is what. Also include your name and contact information in the package.

Express mail to:
D. Andrew Merriwether Lab
Department of Biology

Binghamton University

210 Science III Bldg.

Parkway East
PO Box 6000
Binghamton, NY 13902-6000
Lab Phone: 607-777-6707


Background on me:
I am currently an associate professor of anthropology and biology at Binghamton University (since 2002). I have a BA in Medical Anthropology, a BS in Biology, an MS in Genetics, a Ph.D. in Human Genetics, and three years postdoctoral training at the Keck Center for Advanced Training in Computational Biology. I was an assistant professor in two departments and two centers at the University of Michigan from 1996-2002 (Anthropolgy, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the Center for Statistical Genetics, and the Center for Molecular and Clinical Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases (MACEPID)).

 

With my wife, Ann Merriwether (Faculty in Psychology Dept. and in the School of Human Development at Binghamton University), I co-own Nyala Farm Alpacas, where we currently have 23 alpacas (22 Huacayas and a demonstration model Suri, with two more due this year). We have owned alpacas for about three years now. I have served on the Alpaca Research Foundation Board of directors, the ARI genetics committee under Shauna Brummet, and the Breed Standards Committee for the Empire Alpaca Association. Ann and I have written numerous articles on alpaca genetics for various alpaca and camelid trade journals.


Conflict of Interest: I hope to develop commercial tests to test for the presence of various traits and diseases that I think will benefit the industry and be desirable to alpaca owners and breeders. I also hope some of them will benefit me financially someday as well, but if not, I love solving a good mystery.

 

8-4-04  The minor use minor species animal health act of 2004 (MUMS) was signed into
law by President Bush, Monday, August 2, 2004.


This is truly a great day for livestock agriculture!

David E Anderson, DVM, MS, DACVS
Head and Associate Professor of Farm Animal Surgery
Director, International Camelid Initiative
Ohio State University
College of Veterinary Medicine
601 Vernon L Tharp Street
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Phone 614-292-6661
Fax: 614-292-3530
E-mail: Anderson.670@osu.edu

8-2-04  Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Volume 27 Issue 3 Page 187  - June 2004
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2885.2004.00556.x 
 
Short Communication
The pharmacokinetics of topical doramectin in llamas (Lama glama) and
alpacas (Lama pacos) 
R. P. Hunter*, R. Isaza , , D. E. Koch*, C. C. Dodd  & M. A. Goatley* 

This study provides pharmacokinetic data in two different species of New
World camelids following a single 0.5 mg/kg topical administration of
doramectin.  It appears that the extent of absorption, as evaluated by C max
and AUC, is much less than that reported for cattle. The formulation used in
this study was optimized for cattle. It is likely that differences in dermal
physiology and anatomy between New World camelids and cattle effected the
extent of topical absorption for doramectin.

These findings indicate that New World camelids may need to be treated more
frequently or with a higher dose of topical doramectin than that approved in
the US for cattle. However, this would depend on the sensitivity of a
particular parasite to doramectin. The duration of detectable plasma
concentrations is important when comparing the plasma concentrations between
llamas and alpacas. The last quantifiable plasma concentration was on day 30
for alpacas and on day 40 for llamas. This would appear to indicate, even
with the lack of significant differences in pharmacokinetic parameters, that
these two species of camelid may need different dosage regimens in order to
produce similar efficacy.

The authors observed limited, short-term discoloration (<1 week) of the wool
following application of doramectin in both species. This discoloration was
less in severity and for a shorter duration than observed with moxidectin
(Hunter et al., 2004). Efficacy trials are now needed, along with
pharmacokinetic studies, involving alternate routes of administrations based
on the approved cattle injectable formulation in these two species of New
World camelids.

This study was funded as part of Morris Animal Foundation Grant # D01LA-10.

7-22-04  -----Original Message-----
From: Karen Conyngham [mailto:72040.3361@compuserve.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 21, 2004 9:12 PM
To: Dr. David Anderson
Subject: MUMS passes the House

Dear MUMS Coalition:

Congratulations! As many of you have heard, the MUMS legislation was passed
by the House of Representatives yesterday (June 20, 2004) evening.  The
legislation now goes to President Bush for his signature although the path
is not direct.  The legislation must first be enrolled and put in a form
suitable for a presidential signature.  This then goes to Executive Records
to remain in line for action for up to 10 days.  Since there have been a
number of bills passed in the last several days it may take some time before
we know when the signature occurs but we will certainly let you know.

Our MUMS Coalition has worked well together and we should feel good about
what we have accomplished.  Working together, particularly with the FDA-CVM
as technical advisors and our key congressional sponsors (Senator Sessions
and Congressman Pickering), we have been able to amend the Federal Food,
Drug, and Cosmetic Act in a way never before accomplished.  Our effort was
to provide incentives for pharmaceutical companies to devote resources for
drug development for minor animal species and minor uses in major species.
There is good reason to believe we have succeeded.  While the MUMS
legislation created several new incentives most prominent are the
conditional drug approval and the index of legally marketed unapproved drugs
(drug index).  Each has certain advantages and limitations.
Additional incentives include safeguards that have been created to protect
existing New Animal Drug Approvals (NADA) from unwarranted scrutiny should a
pharmaceutical company attempt to supplement the existing approval to
address minor animal species or minor uses.  The legislation also creates a
new approach to facilitating drug development through a designated new
animal drug classification system.  Designated new animal drugs are eligible
for grants for safety and efficacy testing, and for manufacturing process
development. A new Office of Minor Use and Minor Animal Species Drug
Development is created whose mission is to issue the grants, determine
eligibility for listing on the drug index and for serving as a liaison
amongst government agencies to improve opportunity for drug approvals. Time
will ultimately determine how successful these incentives are but we should
be optimistic.

While the legislation has finally been passed, our task is by no means
finished.  The FDA will need to institute a rule making process that will
govern various aspects of the MUMS legislation.  For example, just how the
drug index process will work will need to be worked out.  The rule making
process may involve many of us in the effort.  Additionally, the tax
exemptions originally proposed by the FDA-CVM were dropped from the MUMS
legislation in order to expedite passage in congress. We need to determine
if it would be advantageous to pursue those provisions.  Finally, we may
need to be involved in securing appropriations for FDA-CVM to completely
operate the grant and liaison program.

Once again, congratulations and thank you for your participation in this
effort.

Dr. Randy MacMillan
Chairman, MUMS Coalition
208-543-3456

Press release from Wed. PM:

FDA Commends Passage Bill Providing Incentives for Animal Drug Development
[edited] Southwest Nebraska News July 21, 2004

FDA commends the passage by the House of Representatives of S. 741, a bill
that includes the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, as
well as the Minor Use and Minor Species Animal Health Act (MUMS). Energy and
Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton and Ranking Member John D. Dingell
were instrumental in moving this bipartisan legislation forward in the
House.  House approval of the Senate-passed bill represents final
Congressional action that clears the way for enactment of this important
legislation that will help consumers identify foods that can cause severe
allergic reactions and separately that will help create new incentives to
develop and seek approval for treatments of diseases in animals, including
zoo animals, exotic species and pets. The Agency applauds the dedication and
leadership of the bill's sponsors in the Senate, including Health,
Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Judd Gregg and Ranking
Member Edward Kennedy as well as Senators Jeff Sessions and Jeff Bingaman.

The Minor Use and Minor Species Animal Health Act is intended to increase
the availability of new therapies for animals, including zoo animals and
some pets for which treatments for many ailments currently do not exist or
are not available. This legislation will establish two new ways to lawfully
market new animal drugs while safeguarding public health and make available
incentives, such as grants, for certain new animal drugs for minor uses and
minor species.

"Increasing the availability of safe and effective drugs to treat minor
species and other species with unusual conditions promotes animal welfare
and provides additional public health protection from animal diseases that
can be transferred to humans, said Dr. Crawford "FDA is pleased by House and
Senate passage of both of these important measures."

Full text:
http://www.swnebr.net/newspaper/cgi-bin/articles/articlearchiver.pl?156146

3-22-04  TEN TIPS FOR AVOIDING VACCINATION PITFALLS:

1. clean, new syringe - do not leave syringes lying around. Open them just
before using and be efficient.

2. clean, new needle - and keep it that way. Needles can become quickly
contaminated in the hair, dirt and debris of the barn.

3. clean new vaccine vial (vaccines from multidose vials should be used or
discarded. Many adverse reactions I have seen are from large vials stored
for prolonged periods. If you need 20 doses, buy TWO 10 dose vials rather
than a 50 dose vial. That 50 dose vial that had 20 doses removed is unlikely
to be sterile when you come back 6 months or a year later to do "another
round").

4. Accurate administration - give subQ preferably, not IM. IM increases
liklihood of adverse reaction because of accidental IV administration. (Most
vaccine reactions are sterile abscesses that break and drain. Although these
are unsightly, one that breaks and drains from just under the skin is far
less likely to cause a probelmt han one that has to break and drain from
deep in a muscle.)

5. Pull back on plunger before adminstration - make sure you are not in a
vein. (Even a small amount of vaccine can cause reactions when given in a
vein or artery. If the animal jumps around, re-check your position.)

6. Administer in a clean site. ZEN of vaccination: Part the fiber - "see the
site - be the site"

7. Avoid using multidose syringes - These are far more likely to cause a
problem because of contamination.

8. store vaccine correctly - usually in a refridgerator, at minimum cool,
dark place. Absolutely follow label storage directions.  Do you know your
supplier - was the vaccine shipped correctly, stored correctly, how close to
the "out of date" dat is the vial, etc. You get what you pay for.

9. talk to your vet - have a plan to deal with vaccine reactions. Plans do
no good when they are made after the fact. Discuss risk assessments to
decide what vaccines are "critical", which ones are "optional", and which
are "not needed".

10. There are no labeled vaccines for camelids so ALL vaccines are used
extralabel. You assume the risk in giving them. I feel comfortable in saying
that far more camelids have been helped by vaccines than have ever been hurt
by them, but that does not mean that there are any guarantees.

David E Anderson, DVM, MS, DACVS
Head and Associate Professor of Farm Animal Surgery
Director, International Camelid Initiative
Ohio State University
College of Veterinary Medicine
601 Vernon L Tharp Street
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Phone 614-292-6661
Fax: 614-292-3530
E-mail: Anderson.670@osu.edu

2-21-04    The International Camelid Initiative is planning to have available a
listing on its website of all camelid rescue programs.
This is intended
to be a resource for people to get connected with who and where
altruistic endeavors are being done for neglected, abused, or abandoned
camelids etc.

Anyone operating a rescue is invited to provide their contact
information to be listed - no charge! If you know of some organization
providing this service, please feel free to forward this message to them
so that they may take advantage of this service.

David E Anderson, DVM, MS, DACVS
Head and Associate Professor of Farm Animal Surgery
Director, International Camelid Initiative
Ohio State University
College of Veterinary Medicine
601 Vernon L Tharp Street
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Phone 614-292-6661
Fax: 614-292-3530
E-mail: Anderson.670@osu.edu

12-26-03    I have been made aware that many llama owners were upset by the recent
posting about BSE in that the term "alpaca" and not "llama" or "camelid"
was used.

For that, I must beg the forgiveness of llama and other camelid owners.
I must tell you that the BSE information document had been requested by
Canadaian and American alpaca breeders weeks ago and had been addressed
directly to them. Since we were "hit" with this information on christmas
eve we were eager to get something out quickly. In my eagerness to spend
christmas eve with my 2 year old son, I simply forwarded the information
I had already prepared instead of editing it for political correctness.
For that I am truly sorry. Probably better not to have sent it at all
but rather wait until after the new year until a more generic version
could be constructed.

I know that many of you do not know me personally and it is very easy to
assumed the worst about a person. I certainly stick my neck out a lot
with very honest and good intentions for camelids. I have the scars to
prove that. I hope that in the new year we can build a greater trust
among all of the industries and that the sincerity of my office will
become known to those who doubt it. For those who choose to believe the
worst, I can only wish you a happy new year and hope that you find peace
within yourself that we all seek.

David E Anderson, DVM, MS, DACVS
Head and Associate Professor of Farm Animal Surgery
Director, International Camelid Initiative
Ohio State University
College of Veterinary Medicine
601 Vernon L Tharp Street
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Phone 614-292-6661
Fax: 614-292-3530
E-mail: Anderson.670@osu.edu

12-24-03  With the diagnosis (presumptive) of BSE or "mad cow disease" in the
state of Washington
, we need to exercise caution. This is NOT a panic
situation. Facts will evolve over time, but not only is our agricultural
community safe, but so are our alpacas and llamas! Be calm and let the
facts unfold over the next few weeks.

Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy:

Do alpacas have anything to fear?

David E Anderson, DVM, MS, DACVS
Head, Food Animal Medicine and Surgery
Director, International Camelid Initiative
The Ohio State University
www.icinfo.org

This communication is a very preliminary discussion about the relevance
of concerns regarding transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) in
alpacas.

TSE's are the prion particle diseases of animals and humans. Prions are
similar to viruses, but much smaller and act to cause abnormal function
or metabolism in the cells. In the case of TSE's, the prion particle
causes a change in the form of an intracellular protein. Cell
proteinases can no longer breakdown this protein causing a buildup of
the protein until cell function degrades. Eventually, enough cells are
involved to cause clinical signs of disease.

To date, we have found no published research on TSE's in South American
Camelids. There has been one published study that looked at the prion
protein characteristics in a Dromedary Camel. Sheep and cattle have
approximately 97% homology (identical sequences) in the prion protein.
This homology may have some bearing on the fact that cattle and sheep
suffer from a similar prion disease (sheep = scrapie; cattle = BSE or
bovine spongiform encephalopathy). The dromedary camel examined had only
92 to 93% homology to cattle and sheep. At this time, we have no idea
what the significance of this finding is. The differences in alleles may
or may not be indicative of a species barrier to TSE's in camelids.

To date and to our knowledge, no camelid has been diagnosed with a TSE.
At Ohio State University, our pathologists examine over 100 llamas and
alpacas each year. Brains are routinely inspected because of the common
meningeal worm infection in the Northeast to the Midwest USA. Our
pathologists have never seen any lesions similar to a spongiform
encephalopathy.

The current state of knowledge of TSE in camelids is severely lacking.
Scientific study will be needed to answer questions regarding species
susceptibility of camelids to TSE's. TSE's are not directly contagious.
The principle risk that an infected animal might pose to other humans or
animals is in the event the animal is eaten. Eating prion infected
tissues may result in infection in the exposed animal. Thus, all meat
and bone derived proteins have been banned from ruminants feeds in the
USA. Thus, alpacas would only become infected if they have consumed
feedstuffs containing tissues from infected animals (e.g. sheep or
cattle with TSE). Affected alpacas would only transmit the disease to
their offspring or to other animals if they themselves or contaminated
tissues were eaten.

This is strictly preliminary and is in response to questions we have
been asked. We will continue to update and modify this report as more
information is obtained.


David E Anderson, DVM, MS, DACVS
Head and Associate Professor of Farm Animal Surgery
Director, International Camelid Initiative
Ohio State University
College of Veterinary Medicine
601 Vernon L Tharp Street
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Phone 614-292-6661
Fax: 614-292-3530
E-mail: Anderson.670@osu.edu

A Word of Caution Against Camelids on Turf
12-23-03
Fungal endophytes were discovered in tall fescue and perennial ryegrass
during mid 1980's. Since that time, we have learned of their potential
to produce alkaloids harmful to livestock. The symptoms are usually not
life-threatening, but can include abortion. We have also learned of
potential benefits these alkaloids have in increasing plant insect
resistance, summer hardiness, and overall yield. These differences have
polarized the turf and forage seed industries.

    The turf industry has a mixed position on endophyte, with some
companies favoring high endophyte levels and some not making any
specific claims regarding endophyte levels. Irrespective of these
positions, most turf seed is sold with endophyte-infection levels up to
100%. There are few disadvantages of endophyte in turf, and many
advantages with high endophyte levels.

    The forage seed industry has adopted a standard of
endophyte-free seed. This minimizes the possibility that livestock can
become exposed to toxic endophyte alkaloids. Endophyte-free and
endophyte-infected ryegrass and tall fescue appear identical and can
only be distinguished by a laboratory test. There is some possibility
that endophyte-free pastures can become re-invaded by endophyte-infected
plants, and many growers prefer to exclude tall fescue and perennial
ryegrass from their seed mixtures (all clovers, orchardgrass and
Kentucky bluegrass are endophyte-free). Fescue and ryegrass are great
forage species, however, and there is merit to retain them as pasture
species. When establishing pastures using these species (or purchasing
hay containing these species) ensure you use only forage seed that comes
from a reputable seed dealer and that it comes with an endophyte test.
It is also a good idea to learn to identify these species in pasture,
and have an endophyte test every 2-3 years.

There are 4 rules for grazing camelids on tall fescue and ryegrass turf:
1)    Don't mix forage and turf seed for pasture intended for
livestock
2)    Don't graze livestock on the turf around your house or farm
buildings
3)    Don't feed hay from turf (beside farm buildings, roadsides, or
recreational fields)
4)    Don't carry turf to livestock (e.g. in pens at shows) - unless
it, i) is from safe (tested) pasture, or ii) is turf from an
endophyte-free species such as Kentucky bluegrass


23 December 2003
Dr David Barker
Assistant Professor
Horticulture and Crop Sci., Ohio State University
614-247-6258
barker.169@osu.edu

Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy:
12-15-03
Do alpacas have anything to fear?

David E Anderson, DVM, MS, DACVS
Head, Food Animal Medicine and Surgery
Director, International Camelid Initiative
The Ohio State University
www.icinfo.org

This communication is a very preliminary discussion about the relevance
of concerns regarding transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) in
alpacas. This issue has been raised recently because of the Canada-USA
border closing to movement of all ruminanting species after the
diagnosis of BSE in a single cow in Alberta, Canada.

TSE's are the prion particle diseases of animals and humans. Prions are
similar to viruses, but much smaller and act to cause abnormal function
or metabolism in the cells. In the case of TSE's, the prion particle
causes a change in the form of an intracellular protein. Cell
proteinases can no longer breakdown this protein causing a buildup of
the protein until cell function degrades. Eventually, enough cells are
involved to cause clinical signs of disease.

To date, we have found no published research on TSE's in South American
Camelids. There has been one published study that looked at the prion
protein characteristics in a Dromedary Camel. Sheep and cattle have
approximately 97% homology (identical sequences) in the prion protein.
This homology may have some bearing on the fact that cattle and sheep
suffer from a similar prion disease (sheep = scrapie; cattle = BSE or
bovine spongiform encephalopathy). The dromedary camel examined had only
92 to 93% homology to cattle and sheep. At this time, we have no idea
what the significance of this finding is. The differences in alleles may
or may not be indicative of a species barrier to TSE's in camelids.

To date and to our knowledge, no camelid has been diagnosed with a TSE.
At Ohio State University, our pathologists examine over 100 llamas and
alpacas each year. Brains are routinely inspected because of the common
meningeal worm infection in the Northeast to the Midwest USA. Our
pathologists have never seen any lesions similar to a spongiform
encephalopathy.

The current state of knowledge of TSE in camelids is severely lacking.
Scientific study will be needed to answer questions regarding species
susceptibility of camelids to TSE's. TSE's are not directly contagious.
The principle risk that an infected animal might pose to other humans or
animals is in the event the animal is eaten. Eating prion infected
tissues may result in infection in the exposed animal. Thus, all meat
and bone derived proteins have been banned from ruminants feeds in the
USA. Thus, alpacas would only become infected if they have consumed
feedstuffs containing tissues from infected animals (e.g. sheep or
cattle with TSE). Affected alpacas would only transmit the disease to
their offspring or to other animals if they themselves or contaminated
tissues were eaten.

This is strictly preliminary and is in response to questions we have
been asked. We will continue to update and modify this report as more
information is obtained.

REFERENCE:
Sequencing analysis of prion genes from red deer and camel.

Kaluz S, Kaluzova M, Flint AP.

University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough, UK.
virukalu@savba.sk

An abnormal isoform of the prion protein (PrP) appears to be the agent
responsible for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE). The
normal isoform of PrP is host-encoded and expressed in the central
nervous system. The recent bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)
epidemic in the UK and the incidence of prion-related diseases in other
animals could indicate that ruminants are highly susceptible to
infection via ingestion of prion-contaminated food. Sequence analysis of
PrP gene open reading frames from red deer and camel was carried out to
investigate sequence variability of these genes among ruminants.

PMID: 9358067 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Intestinal Parasite Control Program
12-10-03
Camelid Health Program
Veterinary Teaching Hospital
The Ohio State University

Produced by
Claire Whitehead BVM&S MRCVS and David E Anderson DVM MS DACVS

General Recommendations

Every worming program should be tailored specifically to the individual
farm: no one policy is going to be appropriate for every situation.
These are best worked out in conjunction with your local veterinarian
and we would be happy to consult with them should further advice be
required. In general though, we need to be concerned about the potential
for parasite drug resistance in our animals since indiscriminate use of
anthelmintics (these are drugs to treat internal parasites, e.g.
Panacur, Safeguard, Ivermectin, etc) can lead to "problem parasites" and
we only have a limited number of drugs at our disposal. For this reason,
periodic fecal exams and judicious use of anthelmintic drugs is the
responsible way to ensure that your farm remains disease-free.

Some farms may only require dosing for gastro-intestinal parasites twice
a year and others may need to worm every 2 months. The frequency of
worming depends a lot on your stocking density and management practices.
Also, always dose animals individually based on weights: I strongly
encourage you to purchase a set of scales for your farm. Under-dosing is
another easy way to induce drug resistant parasites. In 2003, we have
seen the emergence of "dual-resistance" herds. These herds have
intestinal parasites resistant to BOTH ivermectin AND fenbendazole. This
is a very grave concern and we have seen many llama and alpaca deaths
from this problem. You need to keep vigilant with herd monitoring.

Fecal Exams

These must be taken from individual animals and not from a communal
pooping area. This is important because it allows you to identify
particular animals with problems and may show up patterns if you have a
herd parasite problem. Take a latex examination glove with a little
lubrication and take the faeces directly from the rectum. Try to collect
a good size sample - about half a cup is ideal though labs can work with
less. Put it in a clean pot or ziplock bag and clearly label with the
animal's identification and the date. Take samples fresh and send away
or give to your veterinarian the same day as soon as possible to prevent
deterioration of the sample.

How many samples should I collect? We recommend collecting from 10% or
10 animals in your herd, whichever is the greater number. If you have
fewer than 10 animals, then test them all.

Which animals? If you need to choose between animals, select those that
may be a little on the skinny side and from a variety of ages. [While
we're on the subject, routine body condition scoring in these
heavily-fleeced animals will help you keep track of how good your
feeding strategy is and also if there may be a parasite problem lurking
in your herd.]

It is important that the correct procedure is performed for identifying
parasites in camelid faeces. Generally, camelids are a lot more
susceptible to parasite problems than other species. Therefore, make
sure that whoever is going to be doing your faecals knows the correct
method to use. At OSU, we recommend doing a Stoll's test which involves
a 1:5 dilution with a sugar solution. This is a lot more sensitive than
a McMaster's which uses a 1:100 dilution and is therefore only  able to
pick up faecal egg counts down to 100 epg (eggs per gram). If your vet
or lab requires further information about these techniques, get them to
contact us down here at the University.

Drugs and Doses

Fenbendazole [egPanacur, Safeguard]:
Available in paste and liquid formulations generally to serve the equine
and food animal markets respectively which is usually reflected in the
price. Generally pretty safe, can be used in pregnant dams and crias
from a young age if required.
Routine dosage: 10 to 20 mg/kg
To figure out how much to give using the paste formulation, the weight
scale on the plunger is usually based on a 5 mg/kg dosage. Therefore,
multiply the animal's weight by 2 to 4 and use the dosing scale based on
this. E.g. a 150 lb alpaca would receive the dose marked for a 300 (at
10 mg/kg) to 600 lb (at 20 mg/kg) horse.
For the liquid formulations, this normally comes in a 10% suspension
which contains 100mg/ml. Thus for a 20 mg/kg dose, you will need to give
2 ml per 10 kg (or 22 lb) or 10 ml per 50 kg (or 110 lb). You can use an
oral dosing syringe for this or a dosing gun which normally comes with
the larger packs.
Fenbendazole is available in a medicated feed formulation. This approach
should only be used if you can ensure that all animals receive their
prescribed dose: feeding in separate bowls may work but ensure that the
animals low in the pecking order also receive theirs. Because of the
higher dose recommended in camelids, animals may be required to eat more
than they should and there can be the risk of grain overload.

Albendazole [egValbezen]
Similar mode of action to fenbendazole but not quite as safe. Do not use
in pregnant animals if possible and use care when giving to young crias.
Much better coverage for tapeworms than fenbendazole.
Oral suspension.
Dosage: 10 mg/kg

Avermectins [egIvomec, Dectomax]
Widely used for meningeal worm control. Meningeal worm prevention
programs usually require ivermectin or doramectin to be given by
injection every 30 to 45 days, respectively. Certain types of
gastrointestinal parasites, such as nematodirus/whipworms/tapeworms, are
highly resistant to avermectins. There not to be relied upon for control
of gastrointestinal parasites.
Avaiable in injectable (1% solution = 10 mg/ml), oral paste, and feed
additive
Dose: 300 ug/kg (1 cc of 1% injectable solution per 70 lbs body weight)

Specific Problems

We are increasingly diagnosing resistance among intestinal parasites in
llamas and alapacs. We recommend doing a follow-up faecal exam 2 weeks
after treatment to confirm that the treatment has worked. A fecal egg
count reduction test (checking the parasite egg count before and 14 to
21 days after deworming medication is given) allows evaluation of
deworming efficacy. We expect to see >90 % egg reduction if successful.
These tests should be done using the Modified Stoll's Fecal Test - this
is the only tests available sensitive enough to detect the low egg
counts expected after deworming.

Nematodirus or Whipworms (egtrichuris)
These parasites are notoriously variable egg shedders. Even one egg
identified on a faecal exam suggests a problem. Aggressive treatment may
be required. Dose fenbendazole at 20 mg/kg for 5 consecutive days.

Significant strongyle load
Typically, a single dose of any of the various dewormers discussed is
adequate for most strongyles. Occassionally heavy burdens are seen.
Treat animals for 3-5 days at 20 mg/kg dose of fenbendazole when burdens
are severe or damage from larval migrations is suspected. 

Moderate strongyle load
A single dose of ivermectin, fenbendazole, or albendazole may be
sufficient. If the animal is severely thin, then we recommend using a
3-5 day course as discussed.

Tapeworm [egmoniezia]
Albendazole has better efficacy for tapeworm than fenbendazole.
Use a 5 day course of fenbendazole at 50 mg/kg given once daily.

Coccidia [egEimeria sp.]
Coccidia are protozoan parasites. Anthelmintic drugs as discussed for
intestinal parasite treatment are no effective against protozoa.
Coccidia is treated with sulfa drugs (e.g. sulfadimethoxine = albon),
but is prevented by using specific drugs such as amprolium (e.g. Corid)
or decoquinate (e.g. Decoxx). Label directions should be closely
followed because overdosing these drugs can be harmful to the animals.

Discussions on Reproduction in New World Camelids
11-7-03
Michelle L. Hedrick, Veterinary Student
David E Anderson, DVM, MS, DACVS
International Camelid Initiative
College of Veterinary Medicine
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio

    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 challenge 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 induced ovulators: that is when the cervix is stimulated, there is a
surge in LH (lutenizing-hormone), which causes ovulation. This differs
from cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and people all of whom are
spontaneous ovulators: that is these species ovulate each time they
cycle. When nutritional needs are met, camelids show ovarian activity
throughout the year and are capable of breeding, conceiving, and giving
birth at any time of the year.  An advantage to this is that mating can
be timed so that parturition will occur during the season in which
pasture is most nutritionally sound.  "Spring matings" are carried out
to ensure that the subsequent births and lactation are timed to coincide
with peak pasture growth. In North America, spring breedings might occur
in March through May; in South America, spring breedings might occur in
October through December. Research at Ohio State University has shown
that spring crias have the fewest problems with disease during the
period from birth to weaning. Spring crias were nearly 4 times less
likely to get sick compared with crias born in Autumn, Winter, and
Summer.

    The mechanisms for controlling parturition are not well
understood in alpacas and llamas.  In several South American studies, it
was shown that births usually occur during the day, frequently in the
morning and usually in calm weather.  This suggests that alpacas and
llamas can delay giving birth for an unknown period of time 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 best at 21 to
30 days postpartum as compared to those at 2 weeks postpartum.  This
leaves a 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 pastrure-breeding, natural service pen-breeding, and natural
service hand-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 Optimal conception rates
(esp for novice breeder owners)
Disadvantages -     Behavior and receptivity often not observed.
Uncertainty about breeding dates.
Disruption of breeding program if stud male not fertile.

Pen-Breeding: Concept - One male and one fermale 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 Females may
be over bred, resulting in decreased fertility or infection.

Hand-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. Breeding dates are known.
Duration of breeding activity is known.
Disadvantage -     Male has very dominant, aggressive libido and may cause
more severe bruising, etc in reproductive tract which can lower
conception rates Observation of receptive behavior of female may give
"false positives" because female "submits" to domineering male

In a study performed at Tara Hills High Country Research Station in
1996, pen-breeding was most successful in terms of the numbers of
pregnancies with respect to the number of matings.  (Bruce 299) 

    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 collection and unreliable methods for extension or freezing of
semen.  Male alpacas will breed a female for an average of 25 minutes.
They are "dribble ejaculators" and deposit a relatively small amount of
semen into the female. Semen deposition is intracornual, with the female
in a ventral recumbent position ("cushed"). Some methods that have been
employed to collect semen from alpacas have included condoms or vaginal
sacs, electro-ejaculation, vaginal sponges and cannulation of the male's
urethra.  However, the most reliable samples have been collected via a
"dummy" female with an artificial vagina heated to the appropriate
temperature and equipped with a stricture that is made to resemble a
natural cervix.  According to a study conducted in Peru in 1993,
pregnancy rates were higher when the collected semen was deposited
directly through the cervix, into the left uterine horn, rather than
intracornual deposition via laparoscopy. (Bravo 619, 624)

    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.) Currently, Dr. Jane
Vaughan and researchers in Australia are working to perfect methods for
semen collection and preservation and on embryo harvesting, transfer,
and preservation.

    Artificial breeding technologies offer the advantages of nearly
absolute bio-security. Imagine being able to import new genetics while
maintaining a "closed herd" bio-security plan! Artificial breeding
technologies offer the advantages of dissemination of superior genetics.
Provided that appropriate, consistent and reliable genetic or phenotypic
standards are identified, these genetics may be marketed without the
risk of animal transportation and with fewer obstacles for importation
and exportation of genetics. Frozen semen or embryos can be stored
indefinitely for preservation of genetic materials. Imagine the genetics
we would have today if semen or embryos had been stored on genetically
superior animals that had passed on over the years. These are purely
scientific or health related issues. Industry development issues must be
considered when contemplating artificial breeding technologies.
   
References
   
Gorden, Ian  (1997)  Controlled Reproduction in Horses, Deer & Camelids.
            New York:  CAB INTERNATIONAL
   
    Aba, M.A., Auza, N., Forsberg, M., Kindahl, H. & M. Quiroga
Levels of
            Progesterone and changes in PGF2 - alpha release
during
            luteolysis and early pregnancy in llamas and the
effect of
            treatment with flunixin meglumine.  Animal
Reproduction
            Science, 59: 88

Bravo, P.W, Flores, U., Garnica, J. & C. Ordonez. Collection of Semen
            Artificial Insemination of Alpacas..
Theriogenology, 47: 619

    Bruce, G.D., Davis, G.H., Dodds, K.G & G.H Moore.  Seasonal
effects of
            Gestation length and birth weight in alpacas.
Animal
            Reproduction Science, 46: 297-303

    Cortez, Sandra, Ferrando, German, Gazitua, Francisca J.,
Parraguez,
            Victor H. & Luis A. Raggi.  Early pregnancy
diagnosis in
            Alpaca (Lama pacos) and llama (Lama glama) by
            Ultrasound. Animal Reproduction Science, 47:
113-121

    Taylor, Paul.  Embryo Transfer in South American Camelids.
            Alpaca Registry Journal. Spring 2000.
   
    Web-sites:  www.purdyvet.com
                              Author: Stephen R. Purdy, D.V.M
              
                              www.alpacas.com
                              Author:  Michael Safely

            www.internationalcamelidinstitute.org

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.

http://www.ivis.org/advances/Camel_Skidmore/toc.asp

David E Anderson, DVM, MS
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Surgeons
Associate Professor of Surgery, Food Animal
601 Vernon L Tharp Street
College of Veterinary Medicine
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Anderson.670@osu.edu
Phone: 614-292-6661
Fax: 614-292-3530
VISIT OUR WEB-SITES:
         http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/docs/ClinSci/bovine/index.htm
         http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/docs/ClinSci/camelid/index.html
         http://www.internationalcamelidinstitute.org

Here is the AP Story
>4-20-03
>For release Sunday, April 20, and thereafter
>Prosthetics provided for animals
>AP Photos MIJAC501-502, CO105-107 of April 15
>jhfonnn
>By JAMES HANNAH
>Associated Press Writer
>    WILMINGTON, Ohio (AP) -- Photographs of dogs, cows, horses,
>llamas and even a kangaroo were fanned out on an examination table
>at the office of American Orthopedics.
>    Office manager Richard Nitsch has fitted all of them with
>artificial limbs.
>    Nitsch and veterinary surgeon David Anderson at Ohio State
>University teamed up three years ago to give animal amputees new
>lives by replacing lost limbs.
>    "All of them are success stories in one way or another,"
>Nitsch said while flipping through the photos.
>    Cor that, Anderson did artificial-limb operations once every
>couple of years. In 2000, Anderson discovered Nitsch "by luck"
>when local hospital officials told him Nitsch made artificial limbs
>for people.
>    When Anderson presented the idea of making an artificial leg for
>a rare black alpaca, Nitsch agreed.
>    Since teaming up with Nitsch, Anderson said he now does one or
>two artificial-limb operations a year. Nitsch also receives
>referrals from other veterinarians and has made limbs for 14
>animals from Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia.
>    "I can't say there is anyone I know that is doing this
>routinely," he said.
>    Linda Kubiak, whose llama broke its right front leg, heard about
>Anderson through a friend.
>    After it broke its leg, Mocha, the 6-year-old, coffee-colored
>llama, had been laying helplessly on the ground at its home in
>Springport, Mich.
>    "In order for her to eat and drink, I would have to hold her
>head," owner Linda Kubiak recalled. "I finally had to get a hoist
>in the barn. Every other day I had to lift her up to try to
>strengthen her leg."
>    Anderson amputated the leg, and Nitsch fitted it with an
>artificial limb. The llama can now run through the woods and even
>presents its artificial leg for changing, Kubiak said.
>    "She is not suffering. She is happy. Mocha's going to have a
>long life ahead of her," Kubiak said.
>    Anderson said owners turn to artificial limbs because of their
>attachment to their animals or they want to preserve them for
>financial reasons. Llamas are raised for their fur, and animals
>that lose a limb may not be able to breed.
>    "There's an increasing use of prosthetics," Anderson said.
>"Animal owners want to maximize the quality of life for the
>animals. Owners are no longer willing to accept that there's an
>artificial limit to an animal's life."
>    Making and fitting artificial limbs for animals occurs
>worldwide, according to Thorofare, N.J.-based O&P Business News, a
>publication devoted to orthotics and prosthetics.
>    Alan Lipowitz, executive secretary of the American College of
>Veterinary Surgeons, said he has heard of individual instances of
>animals being equipped with artificial limbs, but he does not know
>of anyone who makes a business of it.
>    Anderson said loss of a limb can shorten an animal's life by
>increasing the stress on other limbs and overstressing the joints.
>That can prevent an animal from standing.
>    Nitsch custom-makes the plastic and Fiberglas limbs using the
>same molding and fitting process he uses for humans. He first makes
>a cast of what's left of the animal's amputated limb, fills the
>cast with plaster and produces a replica of the leg.
>    The replica must then be modified -- with the plaster shaved away
>or filled in -- to make sure it bears the animal's weight in the
>best way and enables it to walk with a normal gait. That takes
>several fittings, with the process lasting up to a month. The limb
>is then secured to the animal with a strap or hinge.
>    "The animal can't tell me it hurts or it's falling off, so it
>has to be foolproof," Nitsch said. "The first few steps they're
>trying to kick it off. It takes some animals longer than others to
>get used to it."
>    Nitsch makes no profit, charging only for labor and materials.
>For most animals, the cost of a new limb is between $400 and $600.
>For horses it is between $500 to $1,000.
>    Nitsch said he may some day make it a business, but for now will
>continue to do it out of pure enjoyment.
>    "I love what I do. The second thing is I love animals," he
>said. "So it kind of fell in line."
>    Tammy Rogers, director of the International Kangaroo Society,
>said Nitsch provided a prosthetic for a kangaroo that lost a foot
>due to injury.
>    Rogers, who nurses sick and injured kangaroos back to health at
>her one-acre sanctuary in Lancaster, said the 3-year-old animal
>could not "posture," a natural observing position for kangaroos
>in which they stand on their hind legs with their front paws up in
>the air.
>    "She walked on three feet. She did not hop," Rogers said.
>    To make matters worse, Rogers was forced to prevent the animal
>from mating because she feared the weight of carrying the offspring
>in the pouch would be too much for the one-footed mother.
>    Since receiving an artificial foot from Nitsch, the kangaroo has
>been re-energized, has begun to posture again and will be allowed
>to breed.
>    "It gave her confidence," Rogers said. "You could just see it
>in her eyes."
>    ------
>    On the Net:
>    Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine:
>http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/
>    American College of Veterinary Surgeons: http://www.acvs.org/
>    International Kangaroo Society: http://www.roosociety.org/
>    End advance
>    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)
>    APTV-04-15-03 1506EDT

David E Anderson, DVM, MS
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Surgeons
Associate Professor of Surgery, Food Animal
601 Vernon L Tharp Street
College of Veterinary Medicine
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Anderson.670@osu.edu
Phone: 614-292-6661
Fax: 614-292-3530
VISIT OUR WEB-SITES:
         http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/docs/ClinSci/bovine/index.htm
         http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/docs/ClinSci/camelid/index.html
         http://www.internationalcamelidinstitute.org

 What is Intensive grazing and how do you do it?
4-18-03
Daniel Linden, BS
Camelid Nutrition Graduate Student
Ohio State University

Management Intensive Grazing (MIG) is a wonderful concept. It was used
in the 1950's to some success and has been used in New Zealand with very
good success. The concept is that by intensifying the manual labor of a
grazing system one can increase the animal stocking density by 20-30%. And
reduce cost by allowing animals to harvest their own forage instead of the
farmer harvesting the forage for them.

MIG involves rotating animals through a series of paddocks that have
optimal growth of forage in each pasture as the animals enter. This
generally uses 8-9 inch tall grass that is in the growth stages and NOT in
the flowering or bud stages. Once a plant has gone to flower it is too
mature and way too fibrous for good nutrition. The animals are allowed to
graze the plants down to 2-3 inches and are then moved to the next pasture.
Some systems allow crias or tuis (weanlings) to graze the new pasture first
like a creep grazing.

The key to MIG is to have proper sized pastures that allow the grasses
to regrow before the animals are put back in this pasture. This requires 3-4
weeks depending on the season. This also reduces some of the parasite burden
because it removes the animals from pastures with new feces that will
contain parasite eggs. It doesn't remove the problems totally, but may
reduce the problem.

The number of paddocks and the size depends on many
things:

How often you are going to move them? Sheep and cattle are moved
every 3-7 days. Dairy cattle 2 times / day.

How fast does you forage grow? Summer slump will slow down growth and reduce
the speed that you can rotate them.

Do you have rapidly maturing plants that
go to seed before you can rotate the animals? If so you need to mow the
grass to keep it young enough for the animals to digest. Excess in spring
and fall can actually be mowed and made into hay since there is so much of
it.

Each p[addock size will be determined by the lay of the land. Try to make
each pasture a 1:1 or 1:2 size ration. A pasture that is 100 ft x 300 ft
will not get good grazing in the back because the animals won't want to walk
that far. Also every paddock needs to have a water source that is easily
excessible. Animals graze closer to water sources. If they walk a long
distance to grass and water they won't utilize the pasture well.

As far as what plants to use this is a sticky situation. This depends on
your soil conditions. Legumes are essential. Clovers and alfalfa are
commonly used, but clovers do better in wet soil than alfalfa. Also keep the
% legume below 25%. High legumes can cause bloat and weight problems.
Grasses are easier. Timothy is up to you. I don't care for it because it is
pain to establish and keep alive. I know some peolple that won't have
pasture or hay without it. That is up to you. Orchardgrass is great, if you
get a new slower maturing variety. Kentucky bluegrass is hardy and just
keeps coming back. Some people recommend fescues and rye grasses, but I do
not. There are too many problems with these types of grasses that I feel it
is better to be safe than sorry. Bromegrass is nice for lots of growth.
Avoid the sudangrass crosses. They can produce prussic acid that is harmful.

David E Anderson, DVM, MS
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Surgeons
Associate Professor of Surgery, Food Animal
601 Vernon L Tharp Street
College of Veterinary Medicine
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Anderson.670@osu.edu
Phone: 614-292-6661
Fax: 614-292-3530
VISIT OUR WEB-SITES:
         http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/docs/ClinSci/bovine/index.htm
         http://www.vet.ohio-state.edu/docs/ClinSci/camelid/index.html
         http://www.internationalcamelidinstitute.org

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