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OSU works to meet alpaca care demand

CARRIE COPPERNOLL Modified: August 10, 2009 at 10:00 am •  Published: August 10, 2009
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uot;The people that are coming out of there are able to disperse into the Oklahoma area and into the nation and be (alpaca) veterinarians.”

Alpacas in Oklahoma often face similar health problems, said Boileau, the OSU assistant professor.

For example, when alpaca farming first started in Oklahoma, the most common problem was heat stress. Now owners are more educated about preventing it, she said.

Another common problem alpaca farmers face is survival of alpaca young, known as crias, Boileau said. They are susceptible to infection and diarrhea.

They’re used to having babies in the mountains, she said, not in the heat.

Vets also check for problems typical of all animals, such as parasites, lameness and heart problems. The university recently received a chute for alpacas, so students and teachers can better examine alpacas up close.

Students have been willing to learn, which is a good thing, Boileau said.

"There’s a need for veterinarians willing to take care of the alpacas,” she said. "Definitely.”