v    Introduction:


Ø      The University of Massachusetts initiated the nation’s first undergraduate Camelid Studies Program at its Amherst campus.

Ø      The program is under the direction of Stephen R. Purdy, DVM, an experienced camelid practitioner and speaker at national and regional veterinary and owner meetings.

Ø      The program started in April of 2005 after a generous contribution from Ian and Jennifer Lutz of Cas-Cad-Nac Farm in Perkinsville , Vermont , provided funding for initial salary and start up costs.

Ø      The program encompasses:

§         undergraduate and graduate teaching

§         veterinary and owner seminars

§         practical humane research projects

§         laboratory and outpatient services for alpacas and llamas.






v    Program Description:


Ø      The Goals of the Camelid Studies Program are to expose undergraduate and graduate students, owners, and practicing veterinarians to the latest techniques in camelid medicine, surgery, reproduction, and management.





Ø      The camelid barn at the University farm is used to house the program’s teaching, research, and breeding herd.

Ø      Several alpaca breeders have donated non-breeding animals, breeding females, and stud services for these efforts.


Ø      Camelid Courses:


§         Taught in the fall and spring semesters to all freshmen students in the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences’ four year bachelor’s degree program (part of Introductory Animal Science- ANSCI 101 and 103)

§         Dr. Purdy will teach an additional course starting in the spring of 2006 at the advanced level (Animal Diseases- ANSCI 372) covering common camelid diseases.

§         A student Camelid Club provides opportunities for students to get in depth exposure to all aspects of the camelid industry.

§         Additional independent study, practicum, and elective courses are offered.



Ø      Dr. Purdy’s primary goals at the University and through the Camelid Studies Program are:

§         to provide students with extensive camelid experience for employment within the alpaca and llama industries and

§         to direct qualified undergraduate students towards a career in large animal veterinary medicine with a particular emphasis in camelid practice.


v    Camelid Research at UMass Amherst


Ø      The program currently has three camelid research projects in operation:

§         The diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of meningeal worm disease in alpacas and llamas

§         Exploring the use of camelid white blood cells to manufacture disease specific immunoglobulins for the treatment of animal and human bacterial, viral, and neoplastic diseases.

§         Investigation of neonatal blood tests as a means of predicting risk for infection and need for preventative treatments.


Ø      Support from the Department’s world class immunology and reproduction faculty and other campus experts are vital to the progress of these and other planned projects.






v    Contact Information:


Ø      Please direct all inquiries regarding the Camelid Studies Program to its director:

§         Dr. Steve Purdy

§         413-549-3820



v    Tax deductible contributions to the UMass Camelid Studies Program


Ø      may be made to the UMass Large Animal Studies Program Fund.

Ø      A detailed list of funding opportunities for donors is available.

Ø      Interested donors are invited to contact Dr. Purdy to arrange for a visit to the program’s farm, teaching, and research facilities.



UMass Amherst Camelid Studies Program

Stephen R. Purdy, DVM, Director

UMass Hadley Farm

111 North Maple Street

Hadley, MA  01035