- BACKGROUND: Parenteral nutrition is an important method of nutritional support in hospitalized animals, but minimal information has been published on its use in camelids. HYPOTHESIS/OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to characterize the use of total parenteral nutrition (TPN) in alpacas, evaluate the formulations used, and determine potential complications. ANIMALS: Twenty-two alpacas hospitalized at the Tufts Cummings School for Veterinary Medicine (site 1: n = 8) and the Ohio State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital (site 2: n = 14). METHODS: A retrospective analysis of all alpacas that received TPN between 2002 and 2008 was performed to assess clinical indications, clinical and clinicopathologic data, and outcome. RESULTS: The most common underlying diseases in animals receiving TPN were gastrointestinal dysfunction (n = 16), hepatic disease (n = 2), and neoplasia (n = 2). Several metabolic abnormalities were identified in animals (n = 20/22) before TPN was initiated, including lipemia (n = 12/22), hyperglycemia (11/22), and hypokalemia (n = 11/22). Median age was significantly lower for site 1 cases (0.1 years; range, 0.01-11.0) compared with those from site 2 (4.9 years; range, 0.1-13.7; P = .03). Animals at site 2 also had a longer duration of hospitalization (P = .01) and TPN administration (P = .004), as well as higher survival rate (P < .02). Twenty-one of 22 alpacas developed at least 1 complication during TPN administration. Metabolic complications were most prevalent (n = 21/22) and included hyperglycemia (n = 8/21), lipemia (n = 7/21), hypokalemia (n = 3/21), and refeeding syndrome (n = 3/21). CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: TPN is a feasible method of nutritional support for alpacas when enteral feeding is not possible. Prospective studies are warranted to determine optimal TPN formulations for alpacas.
- The effect of omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n3 PUFA) and vitamin E supplementation on blood fatty acids and vitamin E in alpaca were studied, and fatty acid profiles of managed alpaca were compared to Peruvian alpaca consuming native forage. In Experiment 1, 16 adult female alpaca, blocked by phenotype (n=8 Huacaya, 8 Suri), were offered either a control diet or supplemented diet through breeding, gestation and lactation. Cria remained with their dams and had access to the assigned diets until weaning at 6 months. In Experiment 2, 12 female alpaca (Huacaya) at maintenance were transitioned from their normal dietary ration to the supplemented diet for 5 months. In both experiments, blood nutrient profiles were examined. In experiment 3, the fatty acid profiles of blood samples from Peruvian alpaca (n=4) consuming native forage were analysed. Minor differences between phenotypes existed, but in general, supplemented diet consumption was associated with higher serum vitamin E concentrations compared to control or pre-supplemented diet periods (p
- Literature describing nutritional or nutrition-related diseases of llamas and alpacas was reviewed. Case reports of copper toxicity, polioencephalomalacia, plant poisonings and urolithiasis accounted for the greatest number of literature citations relative to llamas and alpaca nutritional diseases. However, the overall number of published studies detailing nutritional disease of llamas and alpacas is very limited. Metabolic bone disease, associated with Vitamin D deficiency, and hepatic lipidosis were metabolic diseases for which controlled research studies were completed to address underlying mechanisms. Circumstantial evidence would suggest llamas and alpacas are similar to other ruminants relative to most nutrient deficiency or toxicity disease problems. Llamas and alpacas are unique compared to other ruminant animals in their susceptibility to zinc and Vitamin D deficiency diseases. A zinc-responsive dermatosis has been described, but the true role of zinc deficiency is debated. Llamas and alpacas show a seasonal deficiency in Vitamin D resulting in a hypophosphatemic rickets syndrome. Camelids may have a lower capacity to endogenously synthesize Vitamin D or higher requirement compared to other species. Although mechanisms are not fully understood, llamas and alpacas are somewhat different in metabolic responses to negative energy balance and subsequent hepatic lipidosis. Further research is necessary to better define llama and alpaca nutrient requirements and metabolism as they directly impact potential for nutritional disease.
- Down to earth practical tips on everyday alpaca nutrition.
- The approach I use in feeding alpacas attempts to mimic their natural grazing and foraging eating habits. From what I've read, alpacas are both grazers and foragers and are very good at selecting the tiniest morsel when they are searching for “something” they desire or believe is missing from their diet. So since I've removed them from an extensive/endless/free range environment and enclosed them in a pasture, I've eliminated a wide variety of “culinary” choices. Therefore on our farm, they have access to both hay and pasture year around. Probably says a lot about why my alpacas never body score low!