Evaluation of cholesterol and vitamin E concentrations in adult alpacas and nursing crias

Andrea S. Lear, Stacey R. Byers, Jessica A.A. McArt, Robert J. Callan


The objective of this study was to determine if serum cholesterol and vitamin E concentrations change with production and physiologic state in alpacas. Blood was collected from 3 groups of alpacas. An adult female group was sampled in the periparturient period and once monthly until their offspring were weaned. Crias born to the females were sampled after birth, then once monthly until weaning. A group consisting of males was sampled once monthly throughout the study period. Serum vitamin E and cholesterol concentrations were measured and vitamin E to cholesterol ratios was calculated. Vitamin E concentrations were similar throughout the different physiologic states. Cria vitamin E concentrations closely correlated to that of their dam. Significant cholesterol concentration fluctuations in crias occurred after 4 weeks of life possibly due to milk fat content. After weaning, the cholesterol concentrations became similar to the adult animals within study. Vitamin E concentrations varied with age in crias as they transitioned from a milk to forage based diet. Cholesterol fluctuated with altered physiologic and metabolic demands, most noticeable in the crias. Further studies are needed to determine if vitamin E to cholesterol ratios would be more appropriate to fully assess the vitamin E status in nursing crias.


alpaca, cholesterol, vitamin E

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