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  ARF Research Update: Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV)
  in North America Alpaca Herds
; Clayton L. Kelling, PhD, DVM, University of





October 22, 2006 


Progress on this study has been good and work accomplished so far has led to new collaborations with investigators at other institutions on alpaca BVDV spin-off studies.  However we need to remind committed breeders to follow through and to encourage non-responders to participate. The success of the BVDV prevalence study depends on the cooperation of alpaca breeders, whose names were chosen at random to participate.  

Thus far responses have been received from 91 of the 250 breeders that were randomly-selected to participate in the prevalence study.  Seventy (70) breeders have returned Informed Consent forms agreeing to participate.  Sample collection materials have been sent to the 70 breeders and so far 27 breeders have sent us samples.  While we would like a better response rate, we view the 28% acceptance rate as a good response which should enable us to fulfill project objectives.  The challenge will be to ensure that the remaining 43 breeders follow through and actually submit samples.  

In addition to assessing the prevalence of BVDV in North American alpaca herds, new studies of the pathogenesis of BVDV are underway and or in the planning stages. One study, in collaboration with Rob Callan, Colorado State University, is aimed at characterizing the distribution of antigens and lesions in persistently infected alpacas.  Preliminary results of this study were presented in June at the North Central Veterinary Diagnosticians Meeting and are scheduled to be presented at the American College of Veterinary Pathologists annual meeting later this year.   

Other studies that are in planning stages will be directed toward characterizing immunosuppressive effects (effects on lymphoid target tissues and effects on peripheral lymphocytes) of acute BVDV infections in alpacas.  We are hoping to collaborate with Bill Davis, Washington State University and with Daniela Bedenice, Tufts University on this study.  A few alpacas have been donated for this work, but adequate funding to carry the acute infection study to completion is currently lacking.  

In summary, we are making progress on our BVDV prevalence study and that study has lead to other ongoing and potential BVDV alpaca studies which involve collaborations with researchers at four universities.    

Thank you for your interest and for your support!  

This study was funded through ARF with a grant from the Mid-Atlantic Alpaca Association





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