Advancing the health and well-being of animals and people

Fellow: Mitzi Clark

Co-Mentor: William Miller
Co-Mentor: Danny Scott
Contact Information: Email:; Phone: 607-253-3029
Sponsor: American College of Veterinary Dermatology
Grant Number: N/A
Title: Normal Digital flora from Healthy Alpaca
Annual Direct Cost: $6,000
Project Period: 05/01/11-04/30/13

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Alpacas, like many domestic animals, suffer from a wide variety of foot diseases. To date, there have been no scientific studies looking at normal surface cytology and microbiology of digits from alpacas. In the study, 60 alpacas of varying gender and age without the presence of foot disease will be sampled. These alpacas are from a farm in central New York State. Samples will be collected from one front and one rear foot from each alpaca to account for potential differences in flora as alpaca often back up into their own excrement. Material will be collected using sterile cotton swabs and placed into sterile Petri dishes. The material will subsequently be divided onto glass slides. These slides will be stained using Diff-Quik® and Gram stains and examined independently by each of the three investigators. Bacteria, yeast and epithelial cells (nucleated and non-nucleated) will be quantified. Samples will be submitted to the New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center for aerobic bacterial culture, anaerobic bacterial culture and aerobic fungal culture to speciate the organisms observed on cytologic examination. Data collected will be statistically analyzed and reported.