Herd health plans provide a routine, planned schedule for preventing or minimising the impact of disease. In terms of the bottom line, prevention of disease is far more economical than treatment and potential losses. At the end of the day, you want to protect your financial (and time!) investment in your livestock.
Camelid Veterinary Services Ltd offers a Herd Health Planning service based on 25 years of experience working with Camelids and Camelid-specific veterinary expertise that is second to none across Europe.
No single plan will work for each farm or smallholding due to the varying conditions found in each – for example, animal numbers, amount and type of available pasture, location and geographical conditions, type of soil, ratio of different age groups and genders, timing of birthing and breeding, and locally important disease issues…. This is why it is essential to have a plan that is tailored to your own farm and your own unique set of circumstances.
Whether you are a new owner or breeder just starting out, or someone with an established herd, it can never be a bad idea to have an independent assessment of your herd health plans. An outside view can help identify weak points that could improve the health and productivity of your alpacas. Sometimes you can get so hung up on small details that you can’t see the whole situation clearly. Herd health planning is a vital part of owning alpacas: if you forget one aspect of it, deficiencies in that one area could have a significant negative impact on the herd with consequent associated costs and losses. In addition, there are always new diseases becoming known, new drugs coming onto the market while other drugs become ineffective due to resistance, and potentially significant new information available for producers to continue to learn from, which gives the opportunity to modify or enhance current plans. This is potentially even more important in the alpaca world since new discoveries are not usually headline news and it can take a while for information to filter down. It’s just not likely that you can expect other owners and your own regular vet to know the most up-to-date information. This is where consultation with a vet with a focussed expertise in alpacas can be particularly valuable and complement the services provided by your regular vet on a day-to-day basis.
An added benefit of having a good Herd Health Plan in place, apart from protecting the health of your own animals, is that the chances of you selling an animal on to someone else that will develop problems is low and this will enhance your standing as a reputable breeder. The effects of stress-induced immunosuppression will be lessened for those animals, and they are less likely to be carrying subclinical problems that become clinical secondary to stress. For example, the most common types of problem that may be being kept under control by an individual’s immune system until animals are subjected to stress (ie movement to a new herd) are gastrointestinal parasites (worms and coccidia) and mange mites. After stress, these sorts of problems can get out of control and potentially introduce all sorts of problems into a buyer’s herd.
Frequently Asked Questions
Herd health planning involves a holistic approach to the maintenance of health in all animals in the herd. It takes into consideration all aspects of farm and individual animal management from farm layout considerations and issues of biosecurity through parasite control strategies and nutrition to dealing with individual animal issues.
Herd health planning is far more than just when to give your vaccinations and wormers and what drugs to use. For example, if worming is necessary, it should always be targeted at the particular parasite types found on a faecal test and only wormers known to be effective against those types should be used (see Faecal Testing Service).
Herd Health Planning is one of the many Camelid-specific services offered by Camelid Veterinary Services (CVS). Claire has over 25 years of experience with alpacas, and 14 years of experience as a vet doing almost exclusively Camelid work with nearly 10 years performing second-opinion work within a specialist hospital setting. Because of this specific focus, and her on-going involvement and commitment to teaching and to research into Camelid health and production, Claire is ideally placed to have the most up-to-date information at her disposal.
Yes, and it will be tailored to your farm based on your answers to specific questions. However, you will receive a more thorough and comprehensive plan that is better customised to your own farm if you request this service along with a farm appraisal visit as this will permit a more in-depth assessment of your individual farm. A farm visit is included in the Annual Herd Health Package but it is also offered as a stand-alone service. (For more information about Camelid Health Packages, click here. For Farm Appraisal Visits, click here.)
You will receive a report containing tailored herd health advice for your own individual herd based on information provided about herd size, distribution of animal genders and ages, breeding information, current activities, farm layout and facilities. This will include an action plan that includes suggested timings for husbandry procedures as well as potential areas for improvement in terms of husbandry, facilities, nutritional or reproductive management and biosecurity.
Camelid Veterinary Services Ltd provides Herd Health Planning at a cost of £250 + VAT. (Price at July 2015)
If you would like to improve the level of assessment and include a farm visit, please ask for a Farm Appraisal Visit. Alternatively, if you wish to access on-going advice throughout the year, consider one of our annual Camelid Health Packages.