Are alpacas becoming brachycephalic? Determining the trend towards a brachycephalic phenotype within the UK Alpaca industry and its implications.

Fund

Student Grant

Grant

£2072

Research period

2024

Area of study

Student Research

Species

Farm animals

Theme

N/A

Status

Current

Investigator(s): Phillippa Hampson

Supervisor(s): Dr Liz Paul 

The UK Alpaca industry has surged in interest over the last 20 years with 60,000 animals estimated to be living in the UK. During this time, there has been an increase in anecdotal reports from veterinarians treating these animals relating to facial conformation, including vitamin D deficiency, and compromised respiratory function.
This research project aims to investigate whether there is an ongoing trend towards shorter nasal lengths and increased facial fleece coverage in the UK alpaca breeding population, leading to increased frequencies of the above conditions.
The findings will be used to inform breeding practices, veterinary care, and management of the UK alpaca population, ensuring their continued welfare.