Mineral Deficiency - Mineral deficiency is common in alpacas due to the lack of minerals in New Zealand’s soils.
Selenium, Copper, Cobalt, Magnesium, Calcium and others can be checked by taking a blood sample. Selenium and Copper have been found to be low on some farms throughout the country. It influences fertility and general health of the animal.
Selenium can be injected but don’t give it before taking a blood sample. Most minerals become toxic if they are too high, including copper. The safest way of giving selenium is to apply it with your fertiliser (selenium prills at 1 kg/Ha). Long-acting injectable selenium can be given at a dose rate of 1ml/50 kg under the skin. This can elevate selenium levels for up to two years.
Copper (Coppermax) has been given successfully (1ml/70kg) to increase copper levels in deficient herds. This must be discussed with your vet first and only given when a deficiency has been diagnosed.
Multi-mineral lick blocks can be placed in the paddocks. Alpaca (especially the females) know what they need and will use them accordingly.
Vitamin D - Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamin supplements for cria. All cria require several doses of this in the first year to help the bones grow strong and straight and to prevent rickets.
Most Vitamin D comes in a cocktail of Vitamin A, D and E in an injectable form (subcutaneously). There are several brands and one has to be careful that the D content is highest, as it is the most important. You should consult with your veterinarian before administering Vitamin D, regarding dosage.
Comments from Geoff Neal, Veterinarian: Demand for ADE exists up until an alpaca reaches 2 years old. In adults demand is low except in pregnant females pre-unpacking. Vitamin ADE as an injection lasts 8 weeks so giving it too frequently can cause toxicity.
Vetade is still available but only in 500ml bladders. The cost saving is considerable when buying 500mls.
I have only used Hideject but I know that there is another 2 ADE products on the market in the injectable form.
If using Hideject as the standard (1x), the dose of AD-Jec (Ethical Agents) would be 1.2x and for Vet ADE (Bomac) the dose would be 6.5x. Because of this massive dose needed to make the VitD level correct, I would avoid Vet ADE, as to give the correct VitD dose can reach toxic levels of the VitA in it.
I tend to use 0.25-0.5ml in young cria <6 months old, 0.5-1.0 ml for tui 6 months - 1 year old and 1.0-2.0ml for >1 year depending on size, all SQ rather than IM even though you can go IM.
SQ= subcutaneous IM=intramuscular
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) is sometimes used on alpacas with rye grass staggers (causes a brain malfunction). Although Vitamin B1 does aid the animal somewhat, it is still imperative that the alpaca be taken off the effected pasture (see Paddock Card Rye Grass Staggers).
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) comes in an injectable form and should be administered subcutaneously. Discuss dose rate with your vet.
Multivitamins B Complex - Multivitamins B complex is used in sick or weak animals and premature cria as a boost. It increases appetite and aids the bacteria in the gut.