International Camelid Institute

By Barbara Baker, Associate Director
As owners of camelids, many of us have been frustrated when we’ve tried to find the latest research information on de-worming, nutrition, general health or any of the other concerns we have about our animals. We jump on the internet and start cruising around the myriad sites, gathering names, websites, study results that lead to other websites, other study results, more names and on and on.

With The International Camelid Institute, www.icinfo.org,  pretty much all this information and much more is available, 24/7/365. The ICI was founded in 2000 at The Ohio State University (where it still resides), by Dr. David Anderson, DVM, MS, and DiplomateACVS. Dr. Anderson was, and is, one of the pre-eminent camelid veterinarians and researchers, but realized that a gap existed between available scientific information on camelids and the majority of people who needed the information.  Dr. Anderson, with the help of other researchers as well as several dozen local and regional owners and breeders along with positive support from camelid aficionados worldwide, developed a Mission Statement and goals for the new entity. It would be an information repository that would promote collaboration, education and service among researchers, owners, breeders and animal enthusiasts around the world. It would not conduct research or solicit funds nor would it administer grants. The Institute would serve as an educational conduit to fulfill its mission of improving the health and well-being of camelids. This makes The ICI unique among livestock industries.

Due to a distinct lack of success of other organizations that depended on memberships or donations for operating funds and the need to constantly replenish and renew those, it was decided that the most secure method of funding this endeavor was to raise an endowment. An endowment ensures the perpetuation of The ICI because all monies donated become part of the principal which is invested (by the Endowment Fund of The Ohio State University) and means that all these efforts will be around for generations of alpaca and llama owners. All donations keep on giving and the money is only available for the animals. The day-to-day operations of the Institute are funded by an annual deposit of five percent (5%) of the current market value of the endowment.

Since 2007 Dr. Jeffrey Lakritz, DVM, PhD, ACVIM has served as Director. He oversees that the Mission is being met and works with the Associate Director to keep the website fresh and up-to-date and reviews  all new information posted to the website. The Associate Director monitors the website, updates posts and responds to and follows up on all inquiries that come through the site.

When you visit The ICI website you will be able to take advantage of all of the following and you can do it for FREE!

Click on the “Resources” tab and there are links to topics ranging from Bio-security to Minimum Standards of Care, the Research Library, Normal Reference Ranges to State Travel Recommendations and also the very useful “Camelid Medications & Dosages” document (keep this handy in your barn as a great reference tool)

Under the “Camelid Community” tab find numerous promotional brochures that you can download and print for use at shows, fairs and school visits with your camelids. These were created and produced by groups of alpaca and llama owners and edited by camelid veterinarians for accuracy.

On the Home page, you have access to the “Video Series” where you will learn from camelid vets and experienced owners how to properly do many of the ongoing health, maintenance and training activities: How to Assess Your Animal Before Calling the Vet, Giving Injections, Removal of Fighting Teeth, Passing a Stomach Tube to name a few. Funding of “The Video Series” was made possible by The Alpaca Registry (ARI) which financed the production of them. Look for the newest video, “How to Do Body Condition Scoring”, which will be available in May, 2017. Body Condition Scoring is a critical component in managing the health of your animals. The videos can make you a better-informed and confident owner, capable of taking even better care of your animals.

Also available on the Home page are the “Barn Book” pages; these are highlights from several of the videos that can be printed and kept in your barn for quick reference when you need them most . You will also find a “Recommended List of Supplies and Medications” that is handy in your barn or vet area, right next to the “Medications and Dosages” mentioned above.

One of the most used offerings on the website is the “Consult Corner” by owners who want to make sure they get the most current and credible information. With this feature you can connect with camelid vet specialists when you have a question, concern or situation that you haven’t been able to get answered elsewhere. Although it’s not to be used in an emergency situation, it is a useful tool that will provide you helpful information for the issues on your farm and it is our goal to answer all inquiries within 24 hours. We have vets in all specialties on our Consult List and they will do their best to get you the answers you need. You may want to share this with your vet as an additional resource for them if they are not fully acquainted with camelids.

There is a wealth of easily-accessed information for smart, savvy camelid owners, veterinarians, researchers and enthusiasts at www.icinfo.org and all FREE*. So visit often for the most IMMEDIATE, CREDIBLE, INFORMATIVE camelid information – we’re here to help you help your animals!

*While all the information on the ICI website is FREE, there is expense, over and above the monies from the endowment (which varies depending on market fluctuations), in producing and maintaining the website to keep it current. If you are one of the man who find the ICI beneficial to you and your animals, please consider a donation to the ICI. It is a 501©3, and donations are tax deductible; check with your tax advisor.