LANA 2018/2019 Winter Newsletter

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LANA NEWS! Llama Association of North America! Winter Edition 2018/2019

2019 is LANA’s 38th year serving lamas and the people who love them. Please join us. Renew your membership and encourage others to join.

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The Wonderful World of LANA


President’s Message


LANA Board of Directors


LANA Business Office


Editor’s Note


Suri Llama Breed Standards


Possible Indicators for Stress


Young Start Shine Bright


Learning Experience in Rescue 12 LANA Youth Medallion Winner 16 Kids & Camelids Show


Urinary Tract Problems


LANA’s Hobo Classic


Effects of Castration




LANA T-shirts


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Happy New Year!!


2018 was a successful year for LANA members with a huge entry at the Spring youth show and increased participation at the annual overnight camping/hiking trip. Of course, your LANA board wants to provide opportunities for all LANA members to enjoy camelid fellowship. If there are activities or outreach events you would like to add to its calendar, please email your ideas or suggestions to

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Sadly, the lama community lost two wonderful members last year, EstherSue Sykes and Suzy Pollard. Our hearts and deepest sympathy go out to their families. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

! Sincerely, !

Michelle Anne Kutzler, DVM, PhD, DACT President, Llama Association of North America

LANA Hobo Show February 9-10, 2019, Stanislaus County Fairground Turlock, CA


Kids & Camelids Show April 27, 2019, Macedo Mini Acre Turlock, CA


Fiesta Days Parade May 25, 2019 Vacaville, CA 2

Dearest Camelid Community Members,

Elections will take place at the Annual Membership meeting February 9th at the Hobo Show. If you are interested in running for the Board of Directors, please contact the LANA office.

! LANA Board of Directors


Michelle Kutzler President Sue Rich Secretary

 3966 Estate Drive
 Vacaville CA 95688 707.447.5046 Please contact the LANA Business Office for Member Services, Advertisements, Event Calendar updates, and any llama- , alpaca-, or LANA-related questions you may have. Visit LANA at:

Joy Pedroni Treasurer, LANA Business Office, Webmaster Jana Kane Director Kathy Nichols Director, Newsletter Editor Dolly Peters Director Cathy Spalding Advisory Chair

LANA News DISCLAIMER LANA News is published for educational purposes only. The information published herein is solely the opinion of the authors and does not necessarily represent the view of LANA, its Directors or Officers. LANA’s acceptance of advertising does not imply endorsement of any products or services whatsoever. Articles, letters, editorials and other contributions are welcome and may be edited for brevity. Inclusion and placement is solely at the discretion of the Editor. Before undertaking any herd work with your animals, you are advised to always consult with your veterinarian.

THANK YOU for CONTRIBUTING Thank you to the following for their contribution to this newsletter: Mary Adams, Dr. Murray Fowler, Jerry Kimbro, Matt Kimbro, Dr. Michelle Kutzler, Marilyn Milton, Sue Rich, and Cathy Spalding.

Editor’s Note: How many of you remember Dan and Marilyn Milton”s excellent presentations at the LANA Expos? Marilyn’s presentation about Suri llamas was interesting and informative. I hope you enjoy her article from a LANA Expo notebook. If you’re unable to attend the Hobo Class Show, you can still participate by showing your support as a sponsor or donating an item for the silent auction

Kathy 3


! Suri Llama Breed Standards


Fiber Standards OVERVIEW OF FIBER PHENOTYPE The hallmark of a suri llama is distinct locked fiber architecture with luster. The fleece hangs straight from a natural midline part on the neck through to the tail. The straight, narrow locks form close to the skin, and maintain a uniform profile to the tips. Suri llama fiber exhibits independent movement. The primary characteristics which distinguish the suri llama are it’s high luster, independent, narrow lock structure, cool, slick handle, long staple length, fineness, and lock definition in regrowth after shearing. The ideal Suri Llama exhibits little medullation and an absence of crimp. The fiber should not display loft or puffiness. The natural characteristics of suri llama fleece are displayed consistently and uniformly throughout the entire animal. There are four architectural styles presently recognized in Suri Llama Fiber.
 All lack crimp and medullation.
 Lock types are not listed in order of desirability.



! ! Natural characteristics ideally displayed consistently and uniformly throughout the fleece and shared by the four suri fiber architectures:


Well defined locks exhibiting independent movement

Uniformity of lock structure

Uniformity of fiber diameter

Lock definition in regrowth after shearing

Long staple length relative to age

Fleece lies close to the body


Smooth, cool hand



Generous Suri Fiber Coverage

Negative fiber traits in the Suri Llama:


Lack of well-defined lock

Presence of crimp, crinkle or medullation

Lofty or voluminous appearance

Warm, fuzzy or coarse handle

Lack of generous suri fiber coverage

Lack of density

Lack of luster

Lack of uniformity

Fiber does not lie straight and close against the body

Felted, chalky, dry, dead or brittle fiber

Lack of lock definition in regrowth after shearing

GROOMING THE SURI LLAMA Suri llamas should be shown in a clean natural state. The fleece should be clean, free of
 major debris and dry. Exception will be made at shows or Keurings for wetting down
 legs in hot weather. The use of shampoos or artificial luster and fiber enhancements is strongly discouraged. If use is detected by the inspectors, the llama will be excused from the Keuring for that day. Brushing out of lock structure may excuse the llama from an inspection. Shearing is acceptable and strongly encouraged. Owners may choose to explore a ‘suri show clip’ that allows for fiber evaluation on the neck, side and rump while still providing relief from heat. For Keurings, a three inch regrowth is required.


! ! Suri Llama Fiber Types Drawings and descriptions are representations of the ideal suri fleece. Variations in fineness, density and lock width are possible in all lock types. All lock types may exhibit widening of the lock at the skin. Uniformity of lock type from front to rear is ideal. Suri fiber appears different relative to: 1) age of the llama 
 2) shearing 
 3) location on the body Adults who have been previously shorn may exhibit less lock definition and character as compared to a tui fleece.


 ! A lock which is mostly straight from base to tip, but may exhibit a very slight twist in a tui fleece or one greater than 6 inches long. Exhibits a draped, hanging appearance. Independent movement is evident in a tui fleece or one greater than six inches long. Less independent movement may be exhibited in an older llama, especially after multiple shearings. Fleece lies very close to the body.



A flat lock which undulates back and forth and may or may not have slight twist. May exhibit a full, somewhat denser appearance with slightly less independent movement. Fleeces with solidity of lock will exhibit greater density. Fleeces with looser wavy locks may lie slightly away from the body.



A lock which twists from near the skin to the tip. Exhibits a draped, hanging appearance. Independent movement is evident in a tui fleece or one greater than six inches long. Less independent movement may be exhibited in an older llama, especially after multiple shearings. Fleece lies close to the body.




A lock which curls back on itself while exhibiting an undulating back and forth wave. May exhibit a denser appearance with less independent movement. Lies slightly away from the body but is not lofty or without lock definition. Fleeces with solidity of lock will exhibit greater density. Fleeces with looser curled locks may lie slightly further away from the body.

Article from Marilyn Milton’s presentation at LANA Expo Photo of GNLC Silver Moon Chiri Alluro provided by Mary Adams


! POSSIBLE INDICATORS for STRESS and/or ILLNESS …. A small collection

! by Cathy Spalding !!

A phrase often repeated throughout the camelid communities is: “They are so stoic. Once they really begin to act as though something may be wrong .. something usually is really wrong!”


Following is a brief listing of some possible behavioral cues that may indicate something may not be going well. Though these behaviors can mean different things at different times for different animals, they do give us cause to pause and consider the possibilities.


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up and down frequently – can not seem to get comfortable consistently changing positions when kushed stays kushed in one area much of the day awkwardly kushed kushed alone and apart from the heard excessive humming stomping feet kicking belly eyes glazed, partially closed, squinting eye wrinkles, drooping eyelids head/neck very forward head held straight out just above the ground holding neck very stiff burping drooling flared nostrils tight lip or drooping lip hunched top line grinding teeth out of balance sniffing pasture grass or feed bin but not actually grazing or eating sweating clamped tail, rear tucked under ears continually half mast holding breathe, irregular or heavy breathing grumpy with herd mates lack of participation in her activity Cathy Spalding Gentle Spirit Llamas

Young Stars Shine Bright by Sue Rich

The California State Fair Llama & Alpaca Show is a glorious opportunity to really spend time with 4H youth and animals. The four intense days of in the barns at 7 AM and out at 10 PM with the fireworks bursting overhead make for long days and, more importantly, good times. Good times for watching kids bond more closely with their animals, good times for watching kids step up to field all the questions and requests for photos coming from the fair attendees who stream through the barns, and good times for gaining comfort with public speaking.

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It is true that there is a lot of repetition in those questions. What is the difference between an alpaca and a llama? Do they really spit? What do you do with one of those? But that repetition provides an opportunity to really get the answer down pat. Now, the odd and unusual question is a little more difficult to handle. Do they lay eggs? Well, no, mammals generally give live birth, don’t you know? On the first day of fair, I tend to plant myself in front of the pens to interact with the public, but as Thursday rolls to Friday and then into the weekend, I step back and watch and listen. It is amazing how articulate the young handlers become. Never was this more in evidence this year than the last day in the barns when the television cameras came to call. Good Day Sacramento and KCRA-3 both came early, before the barns were officially open, to find some handsome llamas and some willing youth to interview. And so it is with pride, that I commend Tallia Cardiff, Terra Blevins and Lola Garcia for braving the cameras. Lola Garcia’s mom, who was in Sacramento, got an excited phone call from her mother, Lola’s grandmother, who was starting her day with Good Day Sacramento. Suddenly, the screen was focused on her granddaughter who was eloquently explaining what ribbons went with what events. What began as a routine was lifted to extraordinary. It is heartening to be witness to talented youth as they develop and grow. What a joy and what an honor to be in a front row seat for it all.


A Learning Experience in Rescue Jerry and Kim Kimbro reside in Shingle Springs, California

Most llama folks, providing that you have the password and know the secret handshake of course, know that twins are pretty rare and sometimes getting both up and healthy and on their own(ish) can be a bit of a challenge all by itself. The situation REALLY compounded when they lose their mother while they’re still nursing! We have a set of twins, I guess more accurately we have a set and half. The “half” of a twin set was Rick and Mary Adams’ first born that was gifted to my son, Matt. As if we needed another reason to think the Adams are great people! The last large batch of rescues we got in here was a good size collection from Gardnerville, Nevada. I want to say somewhere between sixty and seventy llamas, but I don’t remember exact

by Jerry Kimbro

numbers. It was a bunch! A bunch that continued to grow as once we got the females they were continually dropping cries. A bunch of impregnated females and intact males comingling was just one of the several reasons we had to go in and separate the animals from the owner. Our first trip to this ranch was with several trailers and a van to pick up the males. Again, I don’t remember exact numbers, but I think the male count ended up being a few more than the females. When we arrived on site, one of the first things I saw was a set of twins. We were told that the twins had been born just a bit before we got there. So of course they, along with mom, had to come with me. There was also an older female that had leg issues that we felt needed some vet attention pronto, so we grabbed her as well. Funny thing was, that the hobbling female that made it so clear that she needed immediate medical attention seemed to be miraculously cured just by leaving her bad situation.

! Matt Kimbro and Phantom’s Gemini, the twin from the Adams, at the Grass Valley Show (pictured on the left).

! Matt with Reo (pictured on the right at the Harvest Fair) were a great team winning many championships including National Reserve Champion Junior Youth Performance at the 2008 ALSA Grand Nationals in Nebraska.

As soon as we landed at our place and got her situated, she was cured! Whether she just faked it or not to get a ticket out of there didn’t matter. We ended up being very thankful that she ended up here…..more on her (we named her Grace) later. Getting all these males separated and loaded into trailers was an adventure all by itself but we had good help. I would love to name names and give the credit due but I’m getting older and will forget deserving people. Ron and Joy Pedroni were there and will remember everyone who should be given credit. I think after it was all said and done, everyone poured themselves into their vehicles and left with a feeling of accomplishment. Accomplishment, total body soreness, tired and worn out, ya, all those feelings! After a couple of hours on the road, the males, along with the twins and their mom, and Grace were loving life roaming our pastures. A visit to UC Davis for vet checks and castration for the newcomers were in the works and all was going smoothly for a while.

I just happened to be out of town one night and got a call from my wife informing me that the twins’ mother had dropped dead in the pasture. Of course whenever one dies, especially from a new unfamiliar group, one should try to find out if you just brought something bad onto your property or if it was something on communicable. I cut my trip short to get her over to UC Davis to see if they could figure out what happened. Unfortunately, we still don’t know what happened as the necropsy ended up inconclusive. Regardless, so started yet another chapter in our adventures of bottle feeding. While these guys were far from our first bottle feeding projects, they ended up being one of our toughest … one of them anyway. Different crias seem to balk over different issues. It could be various nipple sizes or shapes all the way to the various liquids we’re trying to get them to ingest. Some will accept goat’s milk but not cow. Some want formula, but others want a mix, etc…etc. I think it’s safe to say that we’re pretty good at getting reluctant crias to bottle feed now.


Gelding “party” at UC Davis

However, the female was taking to the bottle while the male wanted nothing to do with anything we put in front of him. He was starting to lose weight. I had to break down and hit up one of the experts I know in Orangevale, Dr. Michele Ing. She’s great - LOVE her. I wish she was closer; I’d be using her more often. One of her many skills is getting crias to bottle feed. He stayed with Dr. Ing for a few days and when he arrived back home, he was suckin’ down bottles like a pro. It didn’t take him very long to pass up his sister in the weight department. Needless to say, keeping up the rigorous feeding schedule for a set of twins was starting to put a little dent in my and Kim’s (better not forget her!) little remaining sanity. Once again, everything seemed to be going smoothly, except for our sleep of course. Until a day or three later we noticed their interest in the bottle was waning and they just weren’t putting away as much milk as they were before. A bit of panic set in as we tried to figure out why before these little critters started


losing weight. We typically keep the rescues that pass through here isolated from our permanent herd mostly for the obvious bio reasons. It also seems to help keep the status quo letting things run just a bit more smoothly. I’m all about running smoothly which is why the adult female with the imaginary leg issues, Grace, was being housed only with the twins. After another disappointing feeding of the twins (disappointing for us), we kept an eye on them as we turned them loose in the pasture. First thing they did was run over to the “faker” female and start nursing. I chuckled a little and probably said out loud that she wasn’t going to be able to help them. I had milk right here in this bottle if they would just drink it! I kept watching them and they were making a bit of a project out of this, what I thought was, fake nursing. They were even politely taking turns depending on your definition of “politely.” I went over to where the action was to do a little investigation and as the twins were swapping positions, I

noticed a bit of a milk mustache on one of them. What?! I coaxed them all into the barn to get some hands on with this gal who, I’m now certain, faked an injury to get her golden ticket out of the concentration camp she was in. After a little examination we discovered that sure enough, this gal was lactating. She stepped up and took on these two orphaned cries as her own. The clouds parted, sunlight poured down and I swear I heard harps. We were a little bit in shock, but probably more happy and relieved. Happy and relieved that these two crias had a mom again. Happy and relieved that our every few hour feeding schedule was just cut dramatically. We would be able to get to know sleep once again. With her turning out to be our “saving grace,” we decided that she was going to be added to the permanent fixtures here and she was given the very appropriate name of Grace. Grace stayed with us for a few years and we got her fat and happy. She ended up being riddled with cancer. Dr. Julie Dechant and the crew at UC Davis worked on her more than once (we were on a first name basis). They did what they could be sadly she finally succumbed. We were/are still extremely thankful for Grace. The twins, adults now, are doing well. They don’t get enough hands on time from us, but what else is new? We learned a lot from these two and the whole experience. Various lessons, but some that certainly include helping us with bottle feeding issues that we may run into in the future. We’ve done quite a few rescues over the years and continue to do so typically taking two, three, and four animals at a time. None this big, so far, and all of these were just the males. The females, their crias, and all the crias that were about to surprise us, were all yet to come. Along with just the plain ol’ fun that Kim and I had cracking a bottle of wine and sitting out in the pasture with nine or ten crias, each daring other to see who could get closest to us to show the others how brave they were.

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This one was a bit of work with some challenges and sprinkled with a little sadness but that’s pretty much the norm. That’s just part of why we LOVE bringing these critters here, getting them fattened up and finding homes for them. Though, it does seem like quite a few end up staying here for some reason. None have given us as many good stories and great learning experiences as this one.






This award recognizes the good deeds of youth at shows, encourages good sportsmanship, and promotes youth interest in llama herdsmanship. The judge, show superintendent, or any board member can determine who receives the award.


Terra Blevins


In order to be considered for the award, a youth must first be a registered entrant in the show and be observed willingly helping out in areas such as:


• Helping other youths or adults not of their own family or 4-H/FFA club. • Running ribbons or score cards. • Helping to set up or clean up anywhere needed. • Educating the public and others about lamas. (PR) • Exhibiting good sportsmanship.


One award will be given at each show where a youth is deemed qualified for such recognition. Youth are not limited to one award per year, but may earn additional medals for any lama show in which they participate and qualify.


As with the other LANA Youth awards and contests, a recipient is not required to be a LANA member.


Show superintendents who wish to i n c l u d e L A N A Yo u t h A w a r d s programs in their shows should contact the LANA Business Office. A picture and brief bio of the recipient should be sent to the Business Office for publication in the LANA News and on the LANA website.

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! CONGRATULATIONS to Terra Blevins who was awarded the LANA Youth Medallion at the 2018 California State Fair Llama and Alpaca Show in Sacramento. Terra was selected by the show superintendent and the youth coordinator (both are LANA board members) for her outstanding efforts such as: Participating in the Youth Demonstrations Assisting with the set up of the performance courses including unloading/loading obstacles Participating in Walk-a-Llama with her llama Interacting with the public and media through out the four days of the Fair

April 27, 2019 Macedo Mini Acre Golf Link Road Turlock, CA



presented by Dr. Murray Fowler at LANA Expo

Figure 1 is a diagram of the urinary tract. Kidneys function to flush unwanted or unneeded substances fro the body. Ureters carry urine to the bladder for storage to await periodic emptying through the urethra. Malfunction of any part of the system may lead to chronic, debilitating disease or acute disease with death occurring in a few days time.


The objectives of this presentation are: 1. To alert the llama or alpaca owner to conditions that may damage the kidney or other urinary tract organs, so that prevention may be practiced. 2. To describe and illustrate signs that may be indicative of urinary tract disease so that veterinary assistance may be obtained before irreparable damage is done.




! Obstruction to the tract ! Toxic damage to the cells !


Heavy metals – lead, arsenic, mercury Oak bud poisoning – tannins Oxalate containing plants – dock, sorrel, rhubarb, kochia Antifreeze – Ethylene glycol Drugs – Gentamicin, tetracyclines, sulfas, vitamin D (if used improperly) Mycotoxins – substances produced by fungus or molds

Secondary damage to the kidney Heat stress Septicemia Severe intestinal obstruction Hemolytic anemia – low phosphorus, copper toxicity Low blood pressure – hear failure, shock Disseminated intravascular clotting (DIC) – snake bite, heat stress

! Infectious disease ! Leptospirosis – acute and chronic kidney disease and abortion ! Congenital defects !

Patent (open) urachus – urine flowing from the umbilical stump




! Cause !

Urinary calculi (urolithiasis, uroliths, nephrolith, bladder stone, cystolith) may be formed in the kidney, but are more commonly formed in the urinary bladder. Calculi may obstruct the ureter or urethra. Camelid veterinarians must rely on information extrapolated from cattle, sheep and goats, which have urine of similar composition to camelid urine. Urinary calculi are formed in males and females equally, but the bore (diameter) of the female urethra generally allows free passage of a calculus that enters the urethra. Thus obstructive urolithiasis is rare in the female. Cattle pastured on grasses with high levels of silicates may develop silicate urolithiasis.

! Composition of calculi at UCD ! Crystobalite Struvite Apatite Urate Carbonate

Silicon Magnesium Ammonium Phosphate Basic Calcium Phosphate Uric Acid Calcium Carbonate 19

Clinical Signs

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! Urethral obstruction – Signs prior to bladder rupture ! Colic Stance to urinate Dribbling urine No urine flow Blood-tinged urine

! ! Urethral obstruction – Signs after bladder rupture !

No colic Depression Anorexia No urine flow Distention of abdomen (urine in abdomen) Uremia* (anorexia, weight loss, depression, dyspnea, minimal or no urine flow, muscular weakness, tremors, urine odor of breath, dehydration, fast heart beat, recumbency, coma, and death)

! • This is the final result of severe damage to the kidney from any cause or inability to excrete urine. ! ! Uroperitoneum (urine in the abdomen) ! Initially – excruciating pain, frenzy Colic pain disappears Source of urine Seepage through stretched bladder wall Ruptured bladder wall Ruptured ureter

! Identification of urine in the abdominal fluid – Sample from needle in abdomen ! Odor – Ammonia Creatine >15 mg/dl Potassium >185 mmol/L


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Please join us the second weekend in February for LANA’s 11th Hobo Classic. The show will be held at the Stanislaus County Fairground in Turlock, CA. LANA annual membership meeting including elections LANA annual awards Silent Auction Dessert Auction RV and tent camping available Please consider being a show sponsor Sponsorship benefits include: LANA membership Priority stalling Newsletter and website advertisement

LANA’s 11th Hobo Classic


February 9 & 10, 2019 Stanislaus County Fairground Turlock, California


Judges Margaret Drew, California Patti Morgan, Kansas


Single Show Performance Double Show Halter Shorn Fleece Finished Products


more information, show packet, vendor, entry and sponsorship forms are available on the LANA website and on page

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Effects Castration on Human-Directed Aggression in Llamas


by Michelle Anne Kutzler, DVM, PhD, DACT and Jennifer Grossman, DVM, MS, DACLAM



Aggressive behavior in camelids can include spitting, kicking, biting, and chest-butting. These aggressive behaviors are usually directed toward other llamas and alpacas. H o w e v e r, s o m e i n d i v i d u a l c a m e l i d s , particularly those that were hand-reared or overly socialized as crias, frequently direct aggressive behavior toward humans (Hoffman and Asmus, 1989). This aberrant behavior has been coined “berserk male llama syndrome� but has been observed to a lesser extent in male alpacas as well as hand-reared female llamas and alpacas.


Castrating male dogs and horses can decrease certain aggressive behaviors directed toward people (Neilson, 1997; Line, 1985). In rats, castration only curbs aggression in individuals that have no prior fighting experience (Miczek and DeBold, 1983). For other species, like prairie voles and rhesus monkeys, castration has no effect on aggressive behavior (Demas et al, 1999; Phoenix et al, 1973). It has been suggested that male camelid aggression cannot be managed by castration. Yet rescue groups

consider castration an important step for rehabilitating aggressive camelids (Krowka, 2006).


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of castration and the role of testosterone in male llamas on human-directed aggression. The hypothesis was that animals with higher testosterone levels would be more likely to display human-directed aggression.

! Materials and Methods !

Blood samples were collected from 40 llamas. Sixteen llamas had a history of human-directed aggression. Five of these llamas were intact and 11 were geldings at the time samples were collected. Samples were also collected from 24 intact male llamas with no history of humandirected aggression. Subjects were recruited through llama owner associations and llama rescue groups. Of the llamas sampled with a known birth date, all were over 2 years of age and the mean age for both aggressive and non-aggressive groups was 7 years. However, 6 of the owner-reported aggressive geldings had unknown birthdates.

When verbally corrected or punished by a member of the household When being groomed by a member of the household When having toenails trimmed by a member of the household When approached directly by a member of the household while it is eating When his food is taken away by a member of the household When approached by a child of the household while inside his pasture When approached by an adult of the household while inside his pasture When approached by an unfamiliar male llama while being walked


Box 1. Caretakers were questions about possible scenarios in which aggressive behavior could be elicited.

Blood samples were collected from the right jugular vein using a Vacutainer® tube without an anticoagulant and a 19-gauge needle. The blood samples were allowed to clot and then centrifuged at 3000 rpm for 15 minutes. Serum was pipetted off and stored at -20 C. A radioimmunoassay kit (DSL-4100 from Diagnostic Systems Laboratories, Webster, Texas) was used to measure testosterone concentrations according to the manufacturer’s protocol. This kit has been previously validated for use in camelid serum by Fite et al, 2005. Results were expressed as mean +/standard deviation. A two-tailed Student’s t test was used to compare testosterone concentrations between aggressive and control groups. A one-way ANOVA was used to compare aggression scores between intact aggressive, castrated aggressive, and intact control groups. Significance was defined as p < 0.05.

! Results !

The serum testosterone concentration for intact llamas was 1.52 +/- 0.80 ng/mL. For the five aggressive intact llamas, the testosterone concentration was not significantly different (p= 0.71) compared to the 24 intact nonaggressive llamas (1.40 +/- 0.86 ng/mL and 1.55 +/- 0.80 ng/mL, respectively). All castrated male llamas had testosterone concentrations below the detection limit.


The average age aggressive episodes were first observed was 2.5 ± 1.1 years, with 50% of respondents responding unknown or unsure. When asked the age the llama was most aggressive, the average response was 2.9± 0.79 years, with 50% of respondents responding unknown or unsure. Nearly 94% percent of respondents (15/16) reported the season had no affect on the level of aggression displayed and one respondent indicated the llama was more aggressive in the spring.


Attempts to correct the llama’s aggressive behavior were reported by all but one (15/16)

of respondents. The most common action to correct the aggressive behavior was castrating the llama (81%, 13/16), followed by training with a more experienced llama handler (69%, 11/16), introduction to a herd (38%, 6/16), improved nutrition (38%, 6/16), improved housing (25%, 4/16), training by owner (19%, 3/16), and parasite control (6%, 1/16).


Among the owner-acknowledged aggressive castrated llamas, 64% (7/11) reported the llama had become much less aggressive over time, 9% (1/11) reported that the llama was moderately less aggressive, 9% (1/11) reported the llama was somewhat less aggressive, and 18% (2/11) reported the behavior remained unchanged. Of the ownerreported aggressive intact males, 40% (2/5) reported the llama had become much less aggressive over time, 40% (2/5) reported the behavior remains unchanged, and 20% (1/5) reported the llama had become much more aggressive over time.


Seventy-five percent (12/16) of the aggressive llamas had injured a person. Of these, 50% (6/12) had done so on one or two occasions, 33% (4/12) had done so on three to five occasions, and 2 individuals (17%) had done so on six or more occasions. Of those llamas that had injured people, injuries ranged from knocking down (17%, 2/12) and jumping/ stomping (17%, 2/12) on people to bruises/ contusions (58%, 7/12) to lacerations (33%, 4/12), back injury/broken ribs (17%, 2/12), and injury requiring emergency hospital treatment (17%, 2/12).


Scores for the categories of owner-directed aggression and stranger-directed aggression were variable between individual llamas, with some displaying only owner-directed aggression and some displaying both types. Aggression scores for stranger-directed aggression were significantly different between intact aggressive and nonaggressive groups (p<0.001) and between castrated aggressive and nonaggressive groups (p<0.001) (Figure 1). However, scores were not significantly 23

different between intact aggressive and castrated aggressive llamas (p = 0.09). Aggression scores for owner-directed aggression were significantly different between all three groups (p<0.001). Aggression toward other llamas was not significantly different between any aggressive and the nonaggressive groups. Aggression type

Stranger directed

Owner directed

Llama directed

Intact Aggressive (n=5)

2.26 ± 0.38a

2.34 ± 0.21a

1.50 ± 0.37a

Castrated Aggressive (n=11)

1.88 ± 0.22a

1.58 ± 0.21b

1.36 ± 0.29a

Intact Nonaggressive (n=24)

1.04 ± 0.06b

1.03 ± 0.03c

1.20 ± 0.14a

Figure 1. Mean ± standard deviation aggression score by group and Figure 1. Mean ± standard deviation aggression score by group and aggression classifications. Values with a different superscript letter differed aggression classifications. Values with a different superscript letter significantly. differed significantly.



Serum testosterone was not significantly different between owner-acknowledged aggressive intact llamas and owner-acknowledged non-aggressive llamas. After castration, circulating testosterone concentrations decrease to an undetectable level by 24 hrs post-castration (Kutzler et al, 2009). This supported the undetectable level of testosterone recorded for the 11 owner-acknowledged aggressive castrated llamas.


Given the limited sample size of 16 owner-acknowledged aggressive llamas, these results may not be representative of the population of human-directed aggressive llamas, but there were some interesting observations. The owner-acknowledged aggressive males typically displayed human-directed aggression starting at age 2 and they were the most aggressive in the year or two following the start of the aggressive episodes. This coincides with the age at which most male llamas enter puberty. Seasonal changes appeared to have little if any effect on the level of aggression displayed.


In an attempt to correct the human-directed aggressive behavior, respondents tried a range of tactics. Respondents that had castrated the llama in an attempt to correct the human-directed aggression reported moderately to much improved behavior 73% of the time, as opposed to 40% of aggressive llamas that remained intact. When both training and castration were reported, 91% (10/11) of respondents saw moderately to much improved behavior. This is significant, in that it had been previously thought that human-directed in llamas was a permanent condition that could not be resolved by training or castration (Hoffman and Asmus, 1989).


It should be noted that 10 of the 16 of the owner-acknowledged aggressive males were currently being housed with a rescue group and were castrated upon intake. As a result, it is difficult to evaluate the effects of the training and castration separately. However, training may be the key component in successful rehabilitation of aggressive llamas given the lack of correlation between human-directed aggression and testosterone concentration. Furthermore, neither of the two aggressive llamas that were castrated but did not undergo training failed to show moderate to much improved behavior while one of the two males that had been trained but not castrated showed much improved behavior over time. Yet, there was a notable difference in success rates among trainers which indicates that evaluating the effectiveness of different training methods to stop aggressive behavior in camelids should be a goal for future research. 24

As for the human toll, serious injuries including broken ribs and lacerations were reportedly caused by multiple llamas in this study, often on more than one occasion. Caretakers of five of the aggressive llamas in this study had commented that they were seriously considering euthanasia at the time of sampling.


Conclusion Human-directed aggressive behavior in male llamas began and peaked around 2-3 years of age. The behavior was not related to season. Most respondents that had castrated their llama observed at least moderate improvement, but other factors (e.g. training) probably had a notable impact.


References Demas GE, Moffatt CA, Drazen DL, Nelson RJ. Castration does not inhibit aggressive behavior in adult male prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster). Physiology and Behavior 1999;66:59-62.


Fite C, Reeves de Avila J, Tibary A. Testosterone response in male alpacas (Llamas pacos) following hCG administration and correlation with testicular weight [abstract]. vet-med/fite-cheryl.html.


Hoffman C, Asmus I. Caring for Llamas: A Health and Management Guide. Wheat Ridge, CO: Rocky Mountain Lama Association, 1989, pp 34.


Hsu Y, Serpell JA. Development and validation of a questionnaire for measuring behavior and temperament traits in pet dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223:1293-1300.


Kutzler M; Fiamengo T.; Lamb S. Testosterone decreases to basal values within 24 hours following castration in llamas. Intl. Camelid Health Conf.; 2009 - March 12-15; Oregon State Univ.; p 141 Krowka J. Problematic behavior in llamas and misdirected territorial aggression. Line SW, Hart BL, Sanders L. Effect of prepubertal versus postpubertal castration on sexual and aggressive behavior in male horses. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1985;186:249-251.


Miczek KA, DeBold JF. Hormone-drug interactions and their influence on aggressive behavior. In: Svare BB (ed.), Horm Aggr Behav. New York: Plenum Press, 1983.


Neilson JC, Eckstein RA, Hart BL. Effects of castration on problem behaviors in male dogs with reference to age and duration of behavior. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1997;211:180-182.


Phoenix CH, Slob AK and Goy RW. Effects of castration and replacement therapy on the sexual behavior of adult male rhesuses. J Comp Physio Psych 1973;84;472–481.


Spalding C. Berserk or Aberrant Behavior Syndrome What Are We Talking About?





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