• Reproductive Biotechnologies in Swedish Male Alpacas

    Alpacas have become more popular during the last decades. The herds have been built up by importing live animals since reproductive biotechnologies, for example artificial insemination and semen preservation, are not well-developed in this species. A major problem is the viscosity of the seminal plasma which hinders processing or evaluation of the semen. Enzymes have been used to deal with the viscous seminal plasma but they may damage spermatozoa or render them incapable of fertilization. The use of reproductive biotechnologies would permit the introduction of new genetics without the need to import live animals, thus improving animal welfare and reducing the risk of spreading diseases. Therefore, our aim was to improve reproductive biotechnologies to help develop the Swedish alpaca breeding industry. Laboratory techniques were performed to select the best spermatozoa with Single Layer Centrifugation (SLC), in order to improve cryopreservation. These techniques were developed first using bull semen. There was an improvement in sperm quality in the SLC-selected samples, particularly from poor quality semen. In addition, the SLC technique could be modified to process small volumes. Alpaca epididymides were obtained after routine castration for husbandry purposes, with the intention of comparing semen extenders using extracted epididymal spermatozoa. Most of the organs came from pre-pubertal animals and therefore did not contain spermatozoa. Nevertheless, a decision-making tool for alpaca husbandry under Swedish conditions was developed. We suggest a combination of testicular size and body condition score as a tool for decision-making in the selection of potential sires for animal husbandry under Swedish conditions. A phantom was designed and built to collect semen samples in Sweden, and semen collection trials were also performed in Perú. The advantages and disadvantages of different semen collection techniques were evaluated. However, the problem with semen viscosity still has to be solved. Therefore a semen collection method should be established so that semen handling methods can be developed. We conclude that a phantom could be the best method to use for semen collection in Sweden, since it is a fairly simple technique and, as far as we are aware, there are no animal welfare concerns. more »
  • The Effect of an Omega-3 and Vitamin E-Enhanced Diet on Nutritional Status of Alpaca

    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 more »
  • Nutritional Diseases of South American Camelids

    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. more »
  • Hyperglycemia, Hypernatremia, and Hyperosmolarity in 6 Neonatal Llamas and Alpacas

    Neonatal camelids can develop hyperglycemia, hypernatremia, and hyperosmolarity in response to a combination of stress and inadequate water intake. Clinical signs of this syndrome include a fine head tremor, ataxia, and a base-wide stance of the hind limbs, but biochemical analyses are necessary to confirm the diagnosis. Camelids appear to be susceptible to this syndrome because of a poor insulin response to hyperglycemia; hypernatremia results from free water loss associated with glucose diuresis. Water loss associated with glucose diuresis may necessitate a higher rate of fluid administration in camelids with this syndrome than is typically used for treatment of hypernatremia in calves. more »
  • Eimeria macusaniensis Infection in 15 Llamas and 34 Alpacas

    Case Description—15 llamas and 34 alpacas between 3 weeks and 18 years old with fecal oocysts or intestinal coccidial stages morphologically consistent with Eimeria macusaniensis were examined. Nineteen of the camelids were admitted dead, and 30 were admitted alive. Camelids admitted alive accounted for 5.5% of all camelid admissions during this period. Clinical Findings—Many severely affected camelids had signs of lethargy, weight loss, decreased appetite, and diarrhea. Camelids with clinical infection also commonly had evidence of circulatory shock, fat mobilization, and protein loss. Nonsurviving camelids also had evidence of shock, edema, bile stasis, renal insufficiency, hepatic lipidosis, muscle damage, relative hemoconcentration, and sepsis. Postmortem examination frequently re-vealed complete, segmental replacement of the mucosa of the distal portion of the jejunum with coccidial meronts and gamonts. For 17 of 42 camelids, results of initial fecal examinations for E macusaniensis were negative. Treatment and Outcome—Most camelids admitted alive were treated with amprolium hydrochloride, plasma, and various supportive treatments. Fifteen of the 30 treated camelids died or were euthanized. Clinical Relevance—Findings suggest that E macusaniensis may be an important gastrointestinal tract pathogen in camelids of all ages. Clinical signs were frequently nonspecific and were often evident before results of fecal examinations for the parasite were positive. As with other coccidia, severity of disease was probably related to ingested dose, host immunity, and other factors. The clinical and herd relevance of positive fecal examination results must be determined. more »

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