Camelid Symposium Fuels Revival of Camelid Medicine at UC Davis
by Elizabeth Adams and Sarah Depenbrock, Co-presidents
Student Llama and Alpaca Medicine Association
The veterinary student Llama and Alpaca Medicine Association put on the Second Annual Camelid Symposium with the help of the California Association of Alpaca Breeders, Calpaca, January 6 and 7. The event was a huge success in bringing veterinarians, students and breeders together. The School of Veterinary Medicine's Gladys Valley Hall classroom complex was the site of the conference this year and was a great facility for the 250 people in attendance.
This year featured three tracks based on the level of camelid experience, from a beginning owners' track to a veterinarians' track for continuing education.
People who attended the basic track learned about nutrition, husbandry, vaccinations, emerging diseases and cria care. In the intermediate track people learned about fertility evaluation, congenital diseases, reasons to call the veterinarian, toxicology and parasitism. Veterinary students, residents and faculty members learned more about gastrointestinal disorders, fluid therapy, reproductive evaluation exam and infertility. The very popular veterinary panel was held again this year and allowed all the veterinarians who spoke to contribute answers to a variety of questions from the mostly lay audience.
Expert camelid veterinarians included Doctors Chris Cebra from Oregon State, Walter Bravo from Ohio State, and Robert Poppenga of the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory and a member of the veterinary faculty. Local veterinarians also participated: Doctors Danny Mora, Michelle Ing, and Betsy Adamson. Father of zoological medicine Murray Fowler, professor emeritus at the School of Veterinary Medicine, also spoke about parasitology and contributed to the panel discussion.
Llama and alpaca breeders came from California, Nevada, Oregon Washington, Idaho, Utah and Arizona. A casual meet and greet was held Saturday evening in Valley Hall and allowed the students to mingle with breeders and veterinarians in a casual setting. Sponsoring breeders had educational displays for students and fellow breeders to enjoy.
Students of the Llama and Alpaca Medicine Club attended the conference and sold club clothing to raise money to send two student representatives to the National Camelid Conference at Oregon State this March.
Symposium participants also toured the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital as part of the weekend's activities.
The Alpaca-Llama Symposium is believed to be one of the only such meetings produced jointly by a veterinary school and an alpaca organization.
Calpaca, co-sponsor of the event, played a critical role in the planning of the Camelid Symposium. Calpaca's generous donation will help sponsor students attending the Camelid Conference in Oregon. Their donated subscriptions of the Alpaca Breeders Magazine and Camelid Quarterly will add to offerings of the UC Davis Medical Sciences Library.
The student club, veterinary faculty and Calpaca have already started to plan next year's symposium. With the growing alpaca industry in Northern California, the student club hopes to raise awareness and educate future UC Davis graduates about camelid medicine.
Clinicians of the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital provide veterinary services for alpacas and llamas at the Large Animal Clinic, where students in their final year of veterinary school also learn clinical skills by working with faculty members on hospital cases.
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Make an appointment at the Large Animal Clinic: (530) 752-0290