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  • Author or Editor: Ellen B. Belknap x
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Objective—To establish reference range values for synovial fluid from clinically normal New World camelids.

Animals—15 llamas and 15 alpacas.

Procedure—Llamas and alpacas were anesthetized with an IM injection of a xylazine hydrochloride, butorphanol tartrate, and ketamine hydrochloride combination. Synovial fluid (1 to 2 ml) was obtained by aseptic arthrocentesis from the radiocarpal and tarsocrural joints. Synovial fluid evaluation included determination of total nucleated cell count (NCC), absolute number and percentage of polymorphonuclear (PMN) and mononuclear leukocytes, total protein, and specific gravity.

Results—Synovial fluid evaluation revealed a total NCC of 100 to 1,400 cells/μl (mean ± SD, 394.8 ± 356.2 cells/μl; 95% confidence interval [CI], 295.2 to 494.6 cells/μl). Mononuclear leukocytes were the predominant cell type with lymphocytes, composing 50 to 90% (mean, 75.6 ± 17.2%; 95% CI, 70.8 to 80.4%) of the mononuclear leukocytes. Approximately 0 to 12% (mean, 1.3 ± 2.9%; 95% CI, 0.49 to 2.11%) of the cells were PMN leukocytes. Total protein concentrations ranged from 2.0 to 3.8 g/dl (mean, 2.54 ± 0.29 g/dl; 95% CI, 2.46 to 2.62 g/dl); the specific gravity ranged between 1.010 and 1.026 (mean, 1.017 ± 0.003; 95% CI, 1.016 to 1.018).

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—In llamas and alpacas, significant differences do not exist between species or between limbs (left vs right) or joints (radiocarpal vs tarsocrural) for synovial fluid values. Total NCC and absolute number and percentage of PMN and mononuclear leukocyte are similar to those of other ruminants and horses. However, synovial fluid total protein concentrations in New World camelids are high, compared with other domestic species. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:576–578)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine the effect of experimental infection with bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) on llamas and their fetuses, evaluate seroprevalence of BVDV in llamas and alpacas, and genetically characterize BVDV isolates from llamas.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—4 pregnant llamas for the experimental infection study and 223 llamas and alpacas for the seroprevalence study.

Procedure—Llamas (seronegative to BVDV) were experimentally infected with a llama isolate of BVDV via nasal aerosolization. After inoculation, blood samples were collected every other day for 2 weeks; blood samples were obtained from crias at birth and monthly thereafter. For the seroprevalence study, blood was collected from a convenience sample of 223 camelids. Isolates of BVDV were characterized by reverse transcription- polymerase chain reaction assay.

Results—Viremia and BVDV-specific antibody response were detected in the experimentally infected llamas, but no signs of disease were observed. No virus was detected in the crias or aborted fetus, although antibodies were evident in crias after colostrum consumption. Seroprevalence to BVDV was 0.9% in llamas and alpacas. Sequences of the llama BVDV isolates were comparable to known bovine isolates.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings suggest that llamas may be infected with BVDV but have few or no clinical signs. Inoculation of llamas during gestation did not result in fetal infection or persistent BVDV infection of crias. Seroprevalence to BVDV in llamas and alpacas is apparently low. The most likely source for BVDV infection in camelids may be cattle. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223:223–228)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association