• Are You Ready for Summer?

    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.More »
  • Daily Regulation of Body Temperature Rhythm in the Camel (Camelus dromedarius) Exposed to Experimental Desert Conditions

    In the present work, we have studied daily rhythmicity of body temperature (Tb) in Arabian camels challenged with daily heat, combined or not with dehydration. We confirm that Arabian camels use heterothermy to reduce heat gain coupled with evaporative heat loss during the day. Here, we also demonstrate that this mechanism is more complex than previously reported, because it is characterized by a daily alternation (probably of circadian origin) of two periods of poikilothermy and homeothermy. We also show that dehydration induced a decrease in food intake plays a role in this process. Together, these findings highlight that adaptive heterothermy in the Arabian camel varies across the diurnal light–dark cycle and is modulated by timing of daily heat and degrees of water restriction and associated reduction of food intake. The changed phase relationship between the light–dark cycle and the Tb rhythm observed during the dehydration process points to a possible mechanism of internal desynchronization during the process of adaptation to desert environment. During these experimental conditions mimicking the desert environment, it will be possible in the future to determine if induced high‐amplitude ambient temperature (Ta) rhythms are able to compete with the zeitgeber effect of the light–dark cycle.More »
  • Heat Stress

    Alpacas evolved in the higher altitudes of the Andes Mountains where the temperature rarely gets above 75 to 80 degrees. They are not equipped to handle high heat and humidity. This creates management problems in many parts of the United States during the summer months.More »
  • Heat Stress and Alpacas

    In the Southeast one of the things most dreaded by alpaca owners is heat stress, especially after the "Summer of 2007". Heat stress can not only cause temporary or permanent sterility, it can be lethal regardless of type, sex or age of the Alpaca. After the unusual heat wave and high humidity in the Southeast this past summer, I wanted to share what High Meadow Alpacas does to prevent and cope with if it happens. This is certainly not what everyone will do or should do, but just happens to be "our" protocol. Having shade and shelter is imperative. And then you go to work from there.More »
  • High Follicle Density Does Not Decrease Sweat Gland Density in Huacaya Alpacas

    When exposed to high ambient temperatures, mammals lose heat evaporatively by either sweating from glands in the skin or by respiratory panting. Like other camelids, alpacas are thought to evaporate more water by sweating than panting, despite a thick fleece, unlike sheep which mostly pant in response to heat stress. Alpacas were brought to Australia to develop an alternative fibre industry to sheep wool. In Australia, alpacas can be exposed to ambient temperatures higher than in their native South America. As a young industry there is a great deal of variation in the quality and quantity of the fleece produced in the national flock. There is selection pressure towards animals with finer and denser fleeces. Because the fibre from secondary follicles is finer than that from primary follicles, selecting for finer fibres might alter the ratio of primary and secondary follicles. In turn the selection might alter sweat gland density because the sweat glands are associated with the primary follicle. Skin biopsy and fibre samples were obtained from the mid-section of 33 Huacaya alpacas and the skin sections were processed into horizontal sections at the sebaceous gland level. Total, primary, and secondary follicles and the number of sweat gland ducts were quantified. Fibre samples from each alpaca were further analysed for mean fibre diameter. The finer-fibred animals had a higher total follicle density (PMore »
  • Make Your Own Electrolyte Paste

    There is an easy recipe you can prepare and have on hand which can provide a quality, easily stored, and easily administered form of electrolytes. And best of all it will only cost pennies per dose.More »