Future crias in a crisis have one less thing to worry about, thanks to some life-saving alpaca blood donors! We at Towcester Veterinary Centre held our first ever Camelid Blood Drive on Tuesday 29th July, when we welcomed breeders bringing healthy adult camelids to donate blood for the harvest of plasma. We are really pleased that so many of you were able to join us; for some time we have been keen to find a way for our camelid breeders to have ready access to plasma for needy crias (and maybe the occasional sick adult).
Once taken, the blood was processed to the highest standard in association with the Pet Blood Bank, who have worked with us to ensure that Blood Drive participants receive high quality, safe plasma that can be stored frozen for future use. This plasma can be administered to crias whose immune system is struggling – usually due to failure of passive transfer (FPT), in which a cria has not taken in enough of mum’s colostrum in the first few hours of life. This colostrum is rich in antibodies, which are normally absorbed into the cria’s bloodstream to provide their immunity in early life. Crias who have missed out on this early colostrum intake and absorption of antibodies are very vulnerable to infection, thus plasma is a real life-line. Once a problem is identified, plasma can provide a direct injection of antibodies into the cria’s bloodstream via transfusion. We have had several crias in at the practice for plasma transfusions this season, and although we never like to see them struggle, it is wonderful to see the positive response you can get in a cria given a plasma transfusion.
So, our camelid blood donors really are life-savers! We at Towcester Veterinary Centre are keen to make this service available to anyone who would like to have access to plasma for use within their own herd. If you would like to be contacted about future Blood Drives and other camelid events at Towcester Veterinary Centre, please do get in touch – we would love to keep you informed!
One of our Alpaca Farmers blogged about it here.