Camelid Medicine & Surgery
WSU offers a wide range of
services for all camelids. Llamas, alpacas as well as cervids
(animals in the deer family, from within the State of Washington)
are diagnosed and treated for a wide range of disorders.
program is composed of three sections:
clinical service, education and
Our core team - Drs.
Steve Parish and
Ahmed Tibary - has expertise in camelid medicine, disease, and
Please contact Mrs. Shirley Sandoval Instructional
Veterinary Technologist (509-335-0741)
Ms. Sallie Bayly, Licensed Veterinary Technician (509-335-7216)
for more information about scheduling clinical cases.
supervisor of the Washington State
University Veterinary Anatomy
Laboratory & Museum, shows the world
how to assemble an actual camel
spinal column, part of a full camel
skeleton he is assembling this
summer. Video by Bob Mitchell,
Queries on Quarantine
Respiratory Disease – aka “the snots”
Our team oversees a case load of over 600 cases per year from
neighboring herds or referred by practitioners across the Pacific
Northwest as well as other states. Our college has specialists in
all areas of veterinary medicine who are available to consult on
special problems which require advanced diagnostic or therapeutic
The anesthesia group provides the highest standard of care for the
management of anesthesia in critically ill or pregnant camelids.
This team is also involved in research on alpacas, evaluating heart
function with various anesthesia and pain management protocols. A
cardiologist provides consultation for advanced techniques in the
evaluation of heart disorders of camelids.
Our teams of
equine and small animal surgeons provide a wide range of advanced
surgical techniques. To cite a few recent examples: a neurosurgeon
working with radiologists diagnosed and treated a pregnant female
alpaca with a brain hemorrhage and a small animal surgeon was able
to correct a congenital urination problem in a cria. This cria,
although not suitable for reproduction, is now leading a healthy and
Pathologists and diagnosticians from the
Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab
(WADDL) provide diagnostic support using histopathology,
microbiology, toxicology, virology and parasitology. Leading
veterinary virologists at WSU are studying viral infections in
camelids and their significance in diseases such as abortion, as
well as studying the immune response to vaccination against specific
disease agents. Immunologists have also been able to define a
syndrome of immunodeficiency in llamas and alpacas and are working
diligently on an early diagnosis technique.
We at WSU know the importance of camelids and the
shortage of veterinarians with the necessary skills to care for
them. We have instituted several changes in our curriculum to
provide a strong training program for all our graduates.
First year veterinary students received three hours of introductory
lectures and one laboratory to learn about the behavior,
nutrition and handling of camelids.
All students are exposed to the practice of camelid medicine
during their senior year.
We offer a one credit course especially designed for the study of camelid medicine and surgery
Students with special interest in camelid medicine and surgery
may join a student club that organizes various activities under
the mentorship of a faculty member.
Annually, two students who demonstrate a special interest and
ability in camelid medicine and surgery, receive the camelid
scholarship awarded by the Western Washington Alpaca Breeders
As a result of these efforts, each year, at least two of our
veterinary graduates chose to work in a strictly or predominately camelid practice.
Graduate students are currently studying camelid reproductive physiology,
reproductive disorders and
anesthesia and pain management.
Continuing Education for Veterinarians:
Our team is asked by regional, national, and
international veterinary organizations to present on
various camelid care topics .
Extension and Continuing Education for
Breeders: Our team speaks regularly
at regional and national camelid breeders associations.
Our team of clinicians and scientists has contributed several
papers in scientific journals as well as presentations at
international and national meetings.