Alpaca Castration

As we have now had over 100 Alpacas Castrated and have been doing this for 10 years, I feel that I am able to make some comments on this subject.

We believe that 99% of all young Male Alpaca should be castrated as we should only be keeping the very best young males as Potential Stud Sires.

The problem occurs when emotion comes into the selection process and every breeder thinks their young males are ‘Special" and he should be left entire to see how he develops.

Thief of Hearts Alpaca Stud personally castrate our young males anywhere from 10 months to 18 months of age. If these animals are castrated at this young age then their testosterone levels have not yet developed and they are then able to be run with your females and live with them for all of their lives.

If a male becomes sexually mature and then he is castrated, he is unable to be run with the females. These males still annoy the females even after they are castrated and the last thing any breeder needs are males annoying pregnant females.

Below is an article written by Peter Aitken on Castrating Procedures for Alpacas. This can be printed off and given to any vet who has not yet done any Alpaca castrations. It gives the procedure required to carry out this simple task.

Peter Aitken BVSc

Castration is a common practice in machos not required for breeding purposes. It is a procedure that can be done from 6 months of age onwards, but preferably not until after skeletal height maturity has been reached (12-18 months). If behaviour or facilities demand action sooner, early castration does not appear to create any problems such as those seen in other species.

Should castration be done prior to 12 months of age; the only limiting factor is that both testicles are present in the scrotum. It is important to note, that early castration 6-8 months doesn't appear to be associated with any major problems.
Castration can be safely performed under local anaesthesia and suitable restraint (Chuckering); general anaesthesia is not required although some larger or more aggressive individuals may require some sedation.

Following suitable preparation of the perineum using surgical scrub techniques, local anaesthetic is infused in a line over each testis (volume will depend on the size and age of the animal). In a full grown male Approximately 4-5ml is infused subcutaneous over each testis and a further 1ml is injected into the body of each testis.

The skin is then incised over the testis and through the overlying fat pad. The testicle, epididymis and ductus deferens are then exteriorised within the common tunic (closed technique) and the surrounding fat and fascia separated away. The ductus deferens and other vessels are then clamped and ligated before transection. This procedure is then repeated for the other testicle.

Following removal of both testicles, the incisions are stripped of any fat or tissue that may be hanging out and are left open to heal by secondary intention. Providing strict asepsis has been observed, antibiotics are not indicated. Minimal bleeding should occur post-operatively.

Complications that can arise include bleeding, swelling and infection. They are very uncommon but should be attended to promptly should they occur.