Welcome to the British Veterinary Camelid Society (BVCS) 
Don’t say you were given inadequate warning! 
The 2016 BVCS Conference will be held in Chester over the weekend of 12/13th November.  
This year’s conference is taking shape, so here are the preliminary details to help with your planning: 
Dr. Andrew Niehaus 
DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS 
Associate Professor, Clinical Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, The Ohio State University. 
The main theme this year is surgery, and we have pleasure in welcoming our main speaker, Dr. Andy Niehaus from Ohio State University. The topics he will address are castration, emergency surgery, orthopaedic disorders, dental disease and ‘when things go wrong’. 
Supporting acts include Eva Rioja-Garcia on anaesthesia and the mash-up from the Ohio conference. There are further topics to be finalised, so if you have a case report you think will be of general interest, please get your bid in quickly while there is still a little flexibility in the timing. 
The conference will take place in the heart of Chester, so plenty to do for any accompanying partners and families. Our venue is the Queen Hotel, directly opposite the railway station. (http://www.hallmarkhotels.co.uk/hotels/Chester-The-Queen). 
As in previous years, we leave the booking of overnight accommodation to each delegate, and a number of rooms are being held at the Queen until 29th September. The arranged room rate is £129/night for B+B (single occupancy; please add £10 for breakfast for additional guests) for their Queen Classic room (or upgrade to Queen Executive for +£20, or King Executive for +£40). To book rooms, contact the hotel direct on 01244 305000 and mention that you are booking as part of BVCS. 
Further details on conference fee and booking will follow, but the whole weekend package (2 days of presentations, lunches & refreshments, dinner +/- entertainment on Saturday night, written notes) is likely to be in the region of £300. 
The Beaumont Estate Hotel, Old Windsor, the venue for the 2015 BVCS Conference which was attended by 30 vets over the 10th and 11th October, as well as over 40 owners who had their own meeting on the Sunday. 
The venue was absolutely breath taking, only a few minutes from the Thames at Runnymede but with an intriguing history of its own. The Beaumont Estate dates from 1300 but it was 1854 when it first housed Jesuit novices and later became a boys’ boarding school known as the ‘Catholic Eton’. Most of the amazing features date from that period: the first heated indoor swimming pool to be built in Britain (now the centre of a well equipped leisure centre), the beautifully restored Chapel which was the inspiration for the one featured in Brideshead Revisited, the porticoed, three storey White House with a sparkling chandelier suspended over the majestic staircase, the moving memorial to the old boys who lost their lives in two world wars and the Captain’s Pond – if the ice was thick enough to allow the school captain to skate, then all were given a half day holiday! 
Today it is a very comfortable hotel with parking for over 400 cars, 70+ conference areas and a 400 seater restaurant and we were looked after very well, although hiking boots and a compass would have been useful to find our way around the huge complex.  
Luckily everyone managed to find their way to our conference suite and with grateful thanks to main sponsor British Camelids Ltd as well as to Woodley Equipment Company Ltd, GWF Nutrition and Armitage Livestock Insurance Agency Ltd, we were able to put together a varied and interesting programme for both vets and owners. 
The shared speakers included Daniela Bedenice from Tufts University in Massachusetts; Claire Whitehead of Camelid Veterinary Services UK; Karin Mueller from Camelidworkshop; Alex McSloy from The Royal Veterinary College; David Harwood who spent the last 30 years as a veterinary investigation officer and gross pathologist for AHVLA (now APHA); Helen Scott and Elliott Simpson who were sponsored by BCL to attend the Oregon International Camelid Health Conference earlier this year and Andy Adler from Sure Farm. 
For information on the topics covered, CLICK HERE 
The British Veterinary Camelid Society is an informal group of vets and researchers with a particular interest in camelids - primarily alpacas and llamas, but also guanacos and vicunae 
Membership of the BVCS is open to all vets, vet students and researchers with an interest in camelids: there is a very modest annual fee to cover administrative costs 
The BVCS is run on a voluntary basis: currently the President is Claire Whitehead and the Secretary is Janet Nuttall 
President Claire Whitehead 
History and Aims 
The BVCS was established in 1994 in response to the growing interest in keeping new world camelids in the UK. At that initial meeting, and when reviewed more recently, it was generally agreed that it was impractical to establish a formal society with a fixed constitution and affiliation to the British Veterinary Association 
Instead, the aim was to provide a central source of information and advice to ensure the highest standards of clinical care for all camelids in the UK. The BVCS is always happy to give advice but can liaise only with fellow professionals 
In addition to the website, there is a lively online discussion group for the posing of queries and the sharing of experiences. The society also holds annual conferences and the proceedings of each year's conference are published, together forming an important body of knowledge 
Camelid owners 
The BVCS is always happy to give advice but as a matter of policy can liaise only with fellow professionals. Owners can ask their vet to make contact or, better still, encourage them to apply for membership of the BVCS. 
The Find a Camelid Vet section will help you find veterinary expertise in your area 
We have recently been seeing quite a few farms affected by gastrointestinal parasitism. The problem is mostly due to Haemonchus, the so-called Barber's Pole worm because of the appearance of the adult worms. This worm is a blood-sucker: the larvae set up camp in the 3rd stomach compartment where they grow into adults and then pass large numbers of eggs. Both the adults and larvae can cause severe anaemia in alpacas such that worm egg counts may not be spectacularly high but anaemia may be significant. This "summer's" wet and mild weather conditions have meant that parasites have had perfect conditions for survival on the pasture which is why we are probably seeing so many problems at the moment. I would like to encourage you to check your animals this weekend: check their body condition and also check their colour to see if they appear anaemic or not. The best way to do this is to evert the lower eyelid using one thumb while gently depressing the eye through the upper eyelid with the other thumb, causing the third eyelid to protrude. Normally these mucous membranes are pink and healthy-looking: the whiter they are, the worse the anaemia may be. Anaemic animals will also be quieter than normal and may move more slowly than healthy alpacas. If you suspect that you may have a problem, please call your vet and/or check faecal egg counts to assess the situation. The problem is likely to be worse if you have higher stocking densities and larger numbers of susceptible animals, but smaller units can also be affected. 
Claire E Whitehead BVM&S MS MRCVS 
Diplomate ACVIM (Large Animal) 
Camelid Veterinary Services 
Liver Fluke Warning  
As with many of the gastrointestinal parasites that affect camelids (eg Haemonchus, the “barber pole worm”), the tepid wet summer and autumn that we had in 2012 appears to have allowed liver fluke to flourish as well. This parasite loves wet ground. Although it may seem odd to talk about this now while temperatures are below freezing in many places and there is snow is on the ground, it is historical conditions that are of concern. Recently an alpaca owner has lost 4 animals despite routine 6 monthly preventative treatment. 
There are reports of acute, chronic and fatal forms of liver fluke in camelids. Clinical signs of disease include reduced appetite, generalised weakness, recumbency and anaemia – these are not particularly specific clinical signs unfortunately! Diagnosis may be difficult as detection of fluke eggs is a bit challenging – for Fasciola hepatica, the main parasite of concern, a sedimentation procedure is usually done as a regular faecal examination will not normally detect fluke eggs. 
Furthermore, because a negative test result is not always definitive, the test is probably better reserved for animals with a clinical suspicion of fluke rather than as a routine testing tool. In areas where fluke is known to be a problem, prophylactic treatment is worthwhile at intervals reflective of the extent of the problem in the area. In clinical cases, blood work may be helpful. Biochemistry results may show indications of liver impairment or damage, especially evidence of bile duct obstruction as indicated by increased GGT concentrations. 
Claire E Whitehead BVM&S MS MRCVS 
Diplomate ACVIM (Large Animal) 
Camelid Veterinary Services 
The BVCS works closely with camelid owners, particularly through the British Llama Society and the British Alpaca Society, both promoting the responsible ownership, registration, breeding and farming of camelids in the UK 
In addition, the President and one other member of the BVCS are on the board of trustees of British Camelids Ltd which is a charity dedicated to the welfare of camelids, representation and liaison with and DEFRA on behalf of all camelids and research and development relating to camelid health, welfare and good husbandry practice. In addition they are concerned with the promotion of, and education about, camelids to the general public in the UK and on their web site publish papers relating to research and development undertaken on behalf of the charity 
As part of these aims, each year British Camelids Ltd provides sponsorship for two members of BVCS to attend the annual International Camelid Health Conference held in the USA. The successful applicants give talks or write articles as stipulated by BCL and BVCS so that the knowledge from the conference can be disseminated 
BCL also promotes membership of BVCS by periodically offering sponsored membership to vets who may find themselves asked to work with camelids or by encouraging camelid owners to pay the first year’s membership fees 
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