Alpaca nutrition news
Caring for elderly alpacas
alpaca producers who have been in the business for several years may have
accrued some older, non-reproductively active animals. Whether they are kept
around for emotional reasons or for their quality fiber, producers need to be
aware that geriatric alpacas , like older humans, have an increased
vulnerability to stress-induced infection.
medicine attributes this vulnerability, known as immune senescence, to changes
in the traditional immune system (immunoglobulins). However, because stress is
involved, we need to look at the gut microflora, which are the front lines of
the immune system. Nutritional factors can cause these beneficial microorganisms
to be weaker than normal, thus allowing potentially fatal infections to get to
the infections that kill older animals can be shaken off by healthy animals of
Nutritional factors to be aware of are:
Accessibility to feed - are the older animals penned with younger, more
aggressive alpacas? These latter animals may prevent adequate feed intake
and cause stress.
Proper nutrition for a nonproductive animal - nonreproductively active
alpacas have different energy, protein, and vitamin and mineral needs. Make
sure oldsters have access to good grass hay and a vitamin/mineral mix. A;so,
control parasites, which can rob them of valuable nutrients.
Causes of stress - while this is always a good idea in all alpacas, it
should be a priority in maintaining geriatric animals. Stress can come from
abrupt changes in weather, extremes of temperature, inadequate shelter,
access to food, the loss of a pen mate or care giver (this is especially
true when older animals are sold as pets, Well-meaning new owners can
accidentally kill their geriatric pet.), even routine handling for shearing
and toe trimming.
Prevention is the key
with alpacas of all ages that experience stress, the regular use of a daily
probiotic such as MSE granulated, and drench or paste after stressful events can
maintain your elderly animals as long as biologically possible. Because stress
is a major culprit, and probiotics help strengthen and repair the gut microflora,
probiotics like MSE can help avoid immune senescence. This disorder is not
inevitable and there s indications that it can be reversed.
www.naturs-way.com to buy MSE granulated, drench and paste. Please write
nutritionist Lark Burnham at
firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments.