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Evaluation of serum trace mineral, vitamin D, and sex steroid hormone concentration, and survey data in llamas and alpacas with metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal hyperextension

Stacy A. SemevolosDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331.

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Shannon K. ReedDepartment of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

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Loren G. SchultzDepartment of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.

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Abstract

Objective—To characterize serum trace mineral, sex steroid hormone, and vitamin D concentrations and identify factors associated with metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal hyperextension in llamas and alpacas.

Samples—Serum samples from 79 llamas and 15 alpacas and owner survey data for 573 llamas and 399 alpacas.

Procedures—Serum samples were stored at −20°C until analysis and were evaluated for trace mineral, vitamin D, estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone concentrations. Information regarding age of onset, number of affected animals in herd, feed and supplements given, type of housing, and management practices was obtained in an owner survey.

Results—Higher serum zinc and iron concentrations were associated with metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal hyperextension in camelids, compared with controls. In summer and fall months, vitamin D concentrations were significantly higher in affected camelids than controls. Overall prevalence was 13.3% in llamas, compared with 0.7% in alpacas. No management factors were found to be predictive of this condition. No other factors examined were associated with metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal hyperextension.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Despite similar supplementation practices and environmental conditions between affected and unaffected animals, an association of high serum zinc, iron, and vitamin D concentrations in affected camelids, compared with controls, may indicate differences of intake or absorption of dietary supplements.

Abstract

Objective—To characterize serum trace mineral, sex steroid hormone, and vitamin D concentrations and identify factors associated with metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal hyperextension in llamas and alpacas.

Samples—Serum samples from 79 llamas and 15 alpacas and owner survey data for 573 llamas and 399 alpacas.

Procedures—Serum samples were stored at −20°C until analysis and were evaluated for trace mineral, vitamin D, estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone concentrations. Information regarding age of onset, number of affected animals in herd, feed and supplements given, type of housing, and management practices was obtained in an owner survey.

Results—Higher serum zinc and iron concentrations were associated with metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal hyperextension in camelids, compared with controls. In summer and fall months, vitamin D concentrations were significantly higher in affected camelids than controls. Overall prevalence was 13.3% in llamas, compared with 0.7% in alpacas. No management factors were found to be predictive of this condition. No other factors examined were associated with metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal hyperextension.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Despite similar supplementation practices and environmental conditions between affected and unaffected animals, an association of high serum zinc, iron, and vitamin D concentrations in affected camelids, compared with controls, may indicate differences of intake or absorption of dietary supplements.

Contributor Notes

Supported by the Northwest Camelid Foundation.

Presented in part as an oral presentation at the 21st Annual American College of Veterinary Surgeons Symposium, Chicago, November 2011, and the 2011 American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Forum, Denver, June 2011.

The authors thank Drs. Patrick Long and Laurie Bohannon for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Semevolos (stacy.semevolos@oregon-state.edu).