North West Camelid Foundation

North West Camelid Foundation

Raising Funds for Camelid Research since 1987

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Oregon State University Cemelid Medicine College of Veterinary Medicine


NWCF News & Events

Austria Looks To Oregon for Camelid Expertise

Vienna College of Veterinary MedicineJuly 28-29, 2017 The First International Camelid Congress in Vienna, Austria, featured four speakers from Oregon, including Dr. Chris Cebra, Dean Sue Tornquist, and OSU alum Rachel Oxley. OSU has been a world leader in camelid research for thirty years. Dr. Cebra has written or co-authored over 70 scientific articles concerning camelids, and has been involved with over 40 camelid research projects.

Nearly thirty camelid owners and sixty veterinarians attended the two-day conference at the Veterinary Medicine University Vienna. Camelids are becoming more popular in Austria, and the conference sought to broaden attendees' knowledge of camelid medicine.

The third oldest vet school in the world, Veterinary Medicine University Vienna has more than 2000 students. “Its interesting to see a different approach. There is a lot of attrition as they go through the five-year program; over 200 start in a class and they only graduate about 100,” says Dr. Tornquist. ” These students are right out of high school so they are learning undergrad at the same time they are starting their veterinary education.”

While attending the conference, Dr. Tornquist took a tour of the college where she was particularly interested in their clinical skills lab which contained many models for practicing things like placing catheters and palpating. She would like to create a similar lab at OSU. “In Europe they do a lot more with models and keep the use of live animals to a minimum,” she said. “We are looking at the best way to combine models and live animals to give our students the best experience. For example, we start to teach physical exams in the ‘Animal Care and Handling’ class. Then in the second year, they are expected to do physical exams in anesthesia class, and we have felt they are not quite as prepared as they could be. Physical exams are one of those things you need to practice over and over to feel confident about your proficiency.”

OSU College of Veterinary Medicine currently has several animal models including those that allow students to listen to different heart or lung sounds, and models they can bandage or suture. “If we’re really going to do this right, we need to add more,” says Dr. Tornquist.


Veterinary Medicine University of Vienna


OSU Vet College has Another Endowed Professorship

September 2015 The highest honor a university can bestow on a professor is naming them to an endowed position which is funded by a generous donor. The position provides annual funds which can be used for research or to support fellowships or student projects.

Dr. Susanne Stieger-VanegasRecently the Oregon State College of Veterinary Medicine announced Dr. Susanne Stieger-Vanegas was the first recipient of the Camden Endowed Professor of Diagnostic Imaging.

Dr. Stiger-Vanegas has received North West Camelid Foundation grants including Development of CT Protocol for Examination of abdomens of Camelids with Colic Symptoms and the Evaluation of Camelid Cardiac Abnormalities Using CT.

Rebecca Camden serves a on the Dean's Advisory Council. She recently retired as Chief Accounting Officer for CHC Group, Ltd., a company which provides helicopter services and search and rescue to offshore oil and gas companies. She is a 1979 graduate of Stanford University with a degree in Economics and Anthropology. Her late husband was a 1977 Oregon State graduate. Rebecca is a lifelong Dachshund owner and is active in Dachshund rescue. Her Dachshund, Maude, has helped with recent fundraising.

The first endowed professorship at the College was the Glen Pfefferkorn and Morris Wendorf Endowed Professor of Camelid Medicine, first of its kind in the nation, awarded to Professor Chris Cebra.

Newly Endowed Professor


New Dean of OSU Veterinary School Announced

I was pleased to be on the Oregon State campus March 6th when Dr. Sue Tornquist was announced as Dean of the Veterinary College. Dr. Tornquist joined the OSU team in the late 1980's. She immediately became interested in alpaca and llama research. Many animals owe their lives to her research into liver functions and identifying protocols to determine norms and how to treat problems. She also is a national leader in camelid red blood cell disease.

She has always been a friend of camelid owners. We should be proud to have her lead the OSU nationally renowned camelid medicine program into making even greater discoveries.

Congratulation Dr. Tornquist!

Glen Pfefferkorn
Glen Pfefferkorn, President NWCF

Susan Tornquist Named to Lead OSU Veterinary School

by The Oregonian/OregonLive [edited]         March 6, 2015

A longtime Oregon State University professor and administrator will lead the university's College of Veterinary Medicine, the university announced today. Here is the text of a news release announcing the appointment:Dr. Susan Tornquist

Susan Tornquist, who has been interim dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University since October of 2013, has been named dean of the college.

Tornquist has been on the faculty at Oregon State since 1996 and previously was associate dean of student and academic affairs in the college, where she also is a professor of clinical pathology.

"Sue Tornquist has been a very effective leader for the College of Veterinary Medicine over the past 17 months, and has demonstrated that she has the very best interests of the college at heart and the skill set for enhancing the college's education, clinical services, research and outreach," said Sabah Randhawa, OSU's provost and executive vice president.

While Tornquist was interim dean, the college surpassed its fund-raising goal of $47 million through The Campaign for OSU; again received full accreditation in 2014 from the American Veterinary Medicine Association; launched a new graduate program in comparative health sciences; and saw the class of 2014 achieve a 100 percent pass rate for the national board exam for veterinarians.

As associate dean, Tornquist helped the college grow its enrollment, coordinate student internships, build partnerships with the Oregon Humane Society and other organizations, and make student experiential learning a hallmark of the program.

Tornquist received her veterinary medical degree from Colorado State University and her doctorate in veterinary pathology from Washington State University. Her research interests have focused on immune responses to infectious and metabolic diseases in animals, particularly llama and alpacas.

Full text:


2015 NWCF's Education Seminar & Fundraiser

Oregon llamas


Our March 7, 2015, gathering among the llamas in central Oregon was a day filled with learning, sharing, fun and giving.


Thank You for your Contributions & Support! Together we make Alpacas & Llamas healthier.

2013 North West Camelid News

Thank You to All who attended the gala 2013 NWCF Banquet and Fundraiser in March 2013. With your hearty participation in the auctions and raffle, and the Showcase Parade of llama and alpaca herdires, NWCF raised funds for further camelid research projects.

The July 2013 Camelid Herd Health Seminar, held at OSUVC's Magruder Hall and in conjuction with the International Veterinary Conference, offered educational tracks including Nutritional Feeding Fundamentals, Understanding Camelid Behavior for Better Management, and Alternative Therapies for Pain Management.


2012 North West Camelid News

NWCF Research Committee Funds New Projects

The NWCF Board met August 24, 2012, on the OSU campus.  Grant requests received totaled $54,256. The Committee had just over $22,000 to invest.  That amount included a $5,000 individual donation and just over $17,000 raised at the March 2012 Banquet and Auction Fundraiser. $5,000 was approved for partial support of the alpaca and llama research herd at OSU. 

Two health studies were approved: $8,600 was approved for Dr. Chris Cebra to study the effects and efficiency of a long lasting antibiotic.  He is trying to find a drug that owners can administer every few days rather than daily to treat tooth abscesses or other  problems requiring long term antibiotic support.

Another $5,000 was encumbered to help support Dr. Cebra's investigation into the effect of mother's milk on glucose tolerance in crias. The total request was just under $20,000. This is a continuing investigation to unravel the mysteries of proper support for sick alpacas and llamas. We've learned from past studies that Camelid blood resembles that of a diabetic person. We also discovered that cria glucose levels are very different from adults. Recently, camel milk has been touted as beneficial for treatment of human diabetics.  We may find this study leads to benefits to more than alpacas and llamas. 

Owners or Camelid Associations are encouraged to contribute additional funding for this project. Donations for the North West Camelid Foundation should be sent to the NWCF Treasurer.

Dr. Kathy O'Reilly
reported on her progress to develop a PCR Assay for Camelid diarrhea. Some unexpected delays were encountered because of equipment differences. In addition insufficient numbers of samples were submitted by practitioners and owners. Still the test has been developed and is now available from the Diagnostic Laboratory. Samples must be submitted timely. Ask for a 'scours screen'.

Dr. Loehr reported on two studies the Foundation funded. The first was her data base review of stillbirth and abortion records. Few of the stillbirths resulted from bacterial infections. Streptimonus was most common. There was an age grouping at five years of age and another grouping around 12-13 years of age. The abortion records showed one third were caused by placental deficiencies. Only one showed leptospirosis lesions, two toxoplasmosis, one equine herpes virus and ten appeared as congenital defects. She hopes to have her manuscript finished by year's end.

Her second study was a review of megaesophagus records from the past ten years. Her review is not complete. Preliminary data shows more alpaca cases than llama. Most animals were approximately eight years of age. More observations will be done and the statistics analysized for preparation of the manuscript.

Dr. Jones reported on the project funded for Dr. Ahmed Tibary at Washington State University. He hoped to show that alkaline phosphate levels would be a good indicator for diagnosing infertility in alpaca males. His conclusion was that is not the case. Results of his project were reported at the International Camel Health Conference in Ohio earlier this year.

Dr. Steiger-Vanegas submitted a written update on her project to evaluate cardiac abnormalities using CT. Ten alpacas and two llamas have been scanned and a triple protocol developed which provides the best enhancement of the right and left side of the heart. Four animals with abnormalities have been scanned. Veterinarians and owners are encouraged to submit more animals with heart problems for scanning. Her manuscript will be completed by the end of the year.

      A Healthier Tomorrow for Animals

August 13, 2012

Glen Pfefferkorn
North West Camelid Foundation

Dear Glen:

As you are a generous study sponsor, we would like to share the final update from the principal investigator on the project you sponsored. This condensed update can be shared with donors and members of your organization, and with anyone insterested in animal health.

D07LA-006: Arginine Stimulation Testing in Healthy and Sick Camelids, Anna Firshman, BVSc, Ph.D.

FINAL UPDATE: Results: Researchers Develop New Test to Measure Pancreatic Function in Camelids.

Hospitalized llamas and alpacas (camelids) frequently develop a condition known as fatty liver syndrome, which, regardless of the severity of the initial healthy problem, often causes their death. Previous studies have suggested that this syndrome is due to an inherent insulin resistance or reduced pancreatic function in sick camelids. Funded by Morris Animal Foundation, scientists at the University of Minnesota developed a rapid, non-invasive test to measure pancreatic funcion in llamas and alpacas. The test is based on the arginine stimulation test used to measure pancreatic funciton in humans with diabetes. Testing showed that sick camelids appear to have a lower beta cell repsonse and a higher alpha cell response than healthy camelids do. These cells are critical to managine glucose levels. Scientists also discovered differences between llamas and alpacas in pancreatic response to arginine. Llamas and alpacas appear to have similar beta cell response; however, llamas appear to have a weaker alpha cell response than alpacas. This study has provided valuable insight into why sick camelids appear prone to developing problems associated with insulin resistance, such as fatty liver, and the findings will help scinetists develop dffective treatment strategies for this disease.

We are honored to partner with you to support animal health and welfare research, and we thank you for joining Morris animal Foundation in our mission to protect, treat and cure animals.

Thank you again.
Megan Hampton
Development Officer

Dr Anna Firshman was at OSU when NWCF funded the Arginine Stimulation Testing study in 2008.

Dr Stacey Semevolos of Oregon State University (along with Dr Shannon Reed and Dr Loren Schultz of University of Missouri) published an evaluation of dropped pasterns in the January 2013 issue of the American Journal of Veterinary Medicine. An abstract of the study is available without a subscription to the publicaiton.

Our Mission: Raising funds to support education and medical research
for the health and well-being of camelids worldwide.

Alpaca Research FoundationMorris Animal FoundationWashington State University

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For more information, Contact:
North West Camelid Foundation
Glen Pfefferkorn, President
865 S. La Posada Cicle, Unit 1802
Green Valley, AZ 85614
(520) 437-2218

The NWCF is a 501(c) (3) organization. All donations are tax deductible.
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