Collection of Alpaca Blood for Plasma Extraction
The ideal animals to use are large weathers or males, preferably older than two years of age. They should weight more than 55kg, have an up to date 5in1 vaccination history, and have had no serious illness or disease in their past or present history.
- Materials needed are a 2, 3, or 4 bag human blood transfusion collection set, a set of scales (digital kitchen ones are best) and a long, soft rope.
- The procedure begins by chuckering the alpaca with the rope so that he is sitting on his chest with the head and neck vertical. For those alpaca that are a little stroppy a premedication 10-15 minutes prior to collection with 5-7mg Butorphanol will take the edge off them without sedating them out flat.
- An area around the jugular vein is clipped and disinfected with alcohol. The right side of the alpaca's neck (left as you look front on) is easiest for right handed people.
- The bag system is then organised to allow blood to flow only into the first compartment.
- The bag set up is then zeroed on the scales.
- Venipuncture is performed by raising the vein and inserting the needle into the vein in a cranial direction.
- As the blood begins to flow into the bag have an assistant gently press the bag to ensure mixing of the blood with the anticoagulant.
- A total of 470grams of blood is needed to be collected into a human collection bag.
- After collection the bag should be massaged a couple of times to ensure complete mixing prior to transport.
- Males can be collected every 8 weeks if need be.
Transporting Blood for Spinning
In the cooler months of the year whole collected blood can be transported at room temperature. In the Summer it is advisable to send the bags slightly chilled for spinning (couple of slick pads in the box with the blood).
Blood should reach the destination for spinning in less than 36 hours in order to obtain quality plasma. Less than 24 hours is best.
Plasma is stored frozen in a deep freeze rather than a small fridge freezer and has a shelf life of 12 months from the date of first freezing. Thawed units cannot be refrozen.