• Sarcocystosis in South American Camelids: The State of Play Revisited

    Members of the genus Sarcocystis (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae) are intracellular protozoan parasites that infect a wide range of domestic and wild animals, resulting in economic losses in production animals worldwide. Sarcocystis spp. have indirect life-cycles where canids and felids serve as main definitive hosts while a range of domestic and wild animals serve as intermediate hosts, including South American camelids (SACs) such as alpacas, llamas and guanacos. These animals primarily occur in South American countries on Andean, elevated plains but in recent years, alpacas and llamas have become emerging animal industries in other parts of the world such as Australia, Europe and the USA due to their high-quality fiber, meat and hides. For instance, alpaca meat is becoming popular in many parts of the world due to its lower cholesterol content than other red meat, thereby it has the potential of a valuable product for both local and international markets. However, SAC meat can be degraded and/or even condemned due to the presence of macroscopic sarcocysts in skeletal muscles, leading to significant economic losses to farmers. The infection is generally asymptomatic, though highly pathogenic or even fatal Sarcocystis infections have also been reported in alpacas and llamas. Despite the economic importance of sarcocystosis in SACs, little is known about the life-cycle of parasites involved, disease transmission, epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, control and public health significance. This review article provides an in-depth analysis of the existing knowledge on the taxonomy, epidemiology, clinicopathology and diagnosis of Sarcocystis in SACs, highlights knowledge gaps and proposes future areas of research that could contribute to our better understanding of sarcocystosis in these animals. more »
  • Testicular Length as an Indicator of the Onset of Sperm Production in Alpacas under Swedish Conditions

    The popularity of alpacas (Vicugna pacos) is increasing in Sweden as well as in other countries; however, knowledge about optimal management practices under Swedish conditions is still limited. The wide age range reported when the onset of puberty can occur, between 1 and 3 years of age, makes management decisions difficult and may be influenced by the conditions under which the alpacas are kept. The aim of this study was to find out when Swedish alpacas can be expected to start producing sperm, by using testicular length and body condition score as a more precise indirect indicator than age. more »
  • Dysuria due to Discospondylitis and Intervertebral Disc Herniation in a Male Alpaca (Vicugna pacos)

    Dysuria in camelids is usually associated with the presence of lower urinary tract disease such as urolithiasis. As another differential diagnosis, urine retention may be caused by neurological disturbances resulting from infections of the spinal cord, discospondylitis or trauma. more »
  • Dystrophic Mineralization of the Arterial Fibrovascular Tissue Associated with a Vitamin D Hypervitaminosis in an 8-year-old Female Alpaca (Vicugna pacos)

    Prophylactic Vitamin D supplementation is a common practice in Alpaca breeding in many regions around the world. An overdosage can lead to dystrophic mineralization of soft tissues. In this paper we illustrate a suspected case of hypervitaminosis D in an 8-year-old female Alpaca. more »
  • Fleece Variation in Alpaca (Vicugna pacos): A Two-Locus Model for the Suri/Huacaya Phenotype

    Genetic improvement of fibre-producing animal species has often induced transition from double coated to single coated fleece, accompanied by dramatic changes in skin follicles and hair composition, likely implying variation at multiple loci. Huacaya, the more common fleece phenotype in alpaca (Vicugna pacos), is characterized by a thick dense coat growing perpendicularly from the body, whereas the alternative rare and more prized single-coated Suri phenotype is distinguished by long silky fibre that grows parallel to the body and hangs in separate, distinctive pencil locks. A single-locus genetic model has been proposed for the Suri-Huacaya phenotype, where Huacaya is recessive. more »