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Postal survey of the population of South American camelids in the United Kingdom in 2000/01
  1. G. L. D’Alterio, DrMedVet, MSc, FRCVS1,
  2. T. G. Knowles, BSc, MSc, PhD2,
  3. E. I. Eknaes, BVSc, MRCVS1,
  4. I. E. Loevland, BVSc1 and
  5. A. P. Foster, PhD, DipACVD, MRCVS3
  1. 1Farm Animal Practice
  2. 2Division of Farm Animal Science
  3. 3Division of Companion Animals, Department of Veterinary Clinical Science, School of Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU


The members of the two leading British camelid breeders associations were surveyed by means of a postal questionnaire between December 2000 and January 2001; 696 questionnaires were posted and 218 usable responses were returned. A total of 3520 camelids were recorded, of which 2719 (77·2 per cent) were alpacas (Lama pacos) and 726 (20·6 per cent) were llamas (Lama glama). Ninety-four per cent of the camelid herds were of one species, and 70 per cent of the animals were kept for more than one purpose. Camelids imported from South America were present on 45 per cent of the units surveyed. Husbandry procedures and preventive health measures were uniform; 92·2 per cent of the animals were kept on pasture all year round, 99 per cent were supplemented with hay and 97·7 per cent with concentrate feed; 88·1 per cent were vaccinated against clostridial disease with a multivalent vaccine licensed for sheep, and 96·3 per cent were treated periodically with anthelmintic drugs. During 2000, ill health, other than dermatological conditions, was reported by 24·3 of respondents, and 32 different conditions were described. Skin disease was reported by 51 per cent of breeders. Zinc deficiency was diagnosed presumptively as the cause of skin disease by 31·9 per cent of the respondents, and ectoparasitism by 26·4 per cent. Of those who treated a skin condition, 71·9 per cent reported an improvement, but less than half of them considered the improvement to have been permanent.

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  • Dr D’Alterio’s present address is Via Colle, San Martino 50, 01010 Farnese, VT, Italy

  • Dr Foster’s present address is VLA – Shrewsbury, Kendal Road, Harlescott, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY1 4HD

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