thirty days. This preventive herd health
A Microscope procedure goes a long way towards
eliminating repercussions associated with
an infestation by any one of the various
Can Help types of parasites that can affect camelids.
Many people, however, may not think
of a microscope as an integral part of an
Your Breeding Program alpaca-breeding program. As alpaca
breeders, we are always concerned about
the amount of sperm that a male is
by Ed Friedman producing. At Mountain Edge Alpacas Photo above : Mr. Mark Hoffman, Ranch Manager
Mountain Edge Alpacas one of the tests that we frequently at Mountain Edge Alpacas and the developer of this
perform occurs right after the mating of technique, is shown using a quality microscope to
examine a slide.
microscope is a versatile piece of a male and female. More often than not,
equipment that can provide many after the male has completed
useful services for an alpaca penetration, there is a discharge from
About the Author
breeder. Today, microscopes can Ed Friedman and his wife, Charlene, are
the female vulva (see photograph A).
the owners of Mountain Edge Alpacas located in
be purchased relatively inexpensively, This discharge can then be transferred State College, Pennsylvania. They specialize in
either new or used, from medical to a microscope slide (see photograph helping new breeders get started in the alpaca
supply companies. Smaller ones can be B). When the slide is placed in a business and supplying high quality breeding stock
bought through various scientific microscope, we can see the amount of to experienced breeders.
catalogues and local stores. sperm present and whether there may be Ed has developed seminars on various alpaca
Most alpaca breeders associate a some deformed cells or problems with topics and is a frequent contributor to the Alpacas
microscope with examining fecal samples Magazine. Before turning his attention to raising
sperm motility. This quick examination
alpacas, Ed was a real estate developer and
to determine if there are any parasites reveals valuable information about a attorney and is also currently an adjunct professor
present in a specific animal. On our male alpaca’s breeding ability at the at Penn State University. Ed and his wife live on
ranch we do random fecal samples every time. Additionally, this test may help us a 175 acre ranch with their 48 alpacas, five dogs
determine whether the male or female is and a red-tailed hawk. They can be reached at
responsible for a female’s infertility. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sometimes when the microscope slide
is examined after a mating, we can detect
red blood cells. If there is a bloody
discharge (which is not always a cause
for alarm because many times it happens
as a natural consequence of mating) we
can then be alerted about a possible
problem. In some instances alpaca
owners tend to over breed their females,
which can result in a serious or
permanent injury. Thus, if red blood
cells are found repeatedly on a slide, a
Photo above shows discharge from female alpaca’s
vulva after mating. veterinarian should be consulted.
A discharge can also be examined to see
B if there may be a substantial amount of a
particular bacteria present in the female
vulva. The presence of bacteria can give
us a clue that the female might have a
uterine infection, which may make it very
difficult for her to be impregnated.
Frequently, a uterine flush and/or
antibiotics can eliminate the bacteria.
In conclusion, the microscope is a
purely optional herd health aid.
However, the benefits of owning a
microscope far outweigh the initial cost
and can often lead to a more accurate
Photo above shows the author obtaining sample by
and successful breeding program.
pressing microscope slide gently against vulva.
The Camelid Quarterly 1 June 2002