The number of llamas and alpacas requiring special care at The Sanctuary seems to average about one third of the total residents. Needless to say, the new ‘Refirmary’ building is a busy place, catering for this elite group of chronically ill, injured or otherwise immobile camelids. As Sofia was released back into the main Tribe’, another arrived. Ping had been suffering from severe degenerative joint disorder, but being crippled in the hind end didn’t seem to make a lot of difference to her zest for life! The deep cold of winter however, took its toll on her this year and left her unable to get up by herself.

‘Conventional’ veterinary medicine had little to offer Ping and we are always looking for alternative and more natural healing modalities. I know I beat the drum for natural therapies, curatives and restoratives, but Ping lived 9 years longer than the highest level veterinary referral believed was possible. That does not mean there isn’t a place for modern drugs. We have sung the praises of pharmaceutical medications and surgical techniques in a few emergencies, but we have yet to see much benefit in cases of chronic disease.

A few months ago Lynne and I encountered Parental Essential Oils; a precise blend of raw, cold-pressed seed and plant oils selected to provide the perfect balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s). EFA’s are among the most commonly consumed supplements, but not so new ‘new’ information has emerged that demands they be given further consideration.

If you are not consuming fish oil capsules, I’m sure that you have at least heard of them. They purport to be the healthiest food supplement available …unless you happen to be allergic to fish. So popular is fish oil that it has become a multi-billion dollar industry. This might have served well for a time and I know some people who swear that they owe their quality of life to these little golden pills. A challenge arises however, when a consumer-oriented industry becomes too big. It can become immovable and unchangeable and tends to resent evidence that might threaten its existence. Too many people have a vested interest in maintaining the fish oil industry, even if it flies in the face of new scientific discovery that reveals possible error in previous interpretation of data. The giants of the pharmaceutical industry surround themselves with a mighty fortress of legal warriors and the figures are readily available that reveal that these mega-corporations spend more money on defending old products than they spend on research and development. Judgment can become a little clouded when money speaks! If new science doesn’t improve the profit margin, then ‘off with the heads’ of anyone who dares to rock the boat with new scientific discoveries.

llama with broken leg
llama with lead rope donated by Dogpatchsf
ccara llamas
llama with osteoarthritis in braces

Just because something is popular, doesn’t mean it’s scientifically correct and just because something is dismissed as quackery, doesn’t mean it’s the truth. Parental Oils seem to fall into this latter category.

Professor Brian Peskin has worked tirelessly for many years to understand EFA’s and why they are often ineffective. And the conclusion he has drawn is really simple to understand: balance. Fish oil might have served well once upon a time, but a shift in popular diet and a reduction in the nutritional content of food means that things are quite different now to how they were fifty years ago.

Our flesh bodies require a CAREFUL BALANCE of many different fatty acids. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people around the world, not just North Americans, seek most, if not all, of their food requirements in the grocery store. This trend of consuming food-like substances from a grocery store has knocked the balance of Omega-3 to Omega-6 EFA’s is way out of whack! Instead of a healthy ratio of around 1:3 Omega-3 to Omega-6 EFA’s the average modern diet provides a ratio closer to 1:30. I presume that figure to be a lot lower for camelids, but it is probably still a long way out of balance, although I have no data to support that statement. Nor do I have solid data to show daily nutritional requirements of EFA’s for cameids.

In my crude, boiled-down version of somebody else’s lifetime of serious study, I put it thus: If you have joints that creak and crack or otherwise give you daily painful reminders of what we like to call ‘age-related’ disease, then it’s a pretty good bet that the balance of Omega-3 to Omega-6 EFA’s in your body is out of limits. Consuming fish oil is NOT the real solution. The typical modern diet provides too much Omega-6 relative to Omega-3, even if it seems that we have enough Omega-3 to grease the squeaky wheel …for a while.

Now most llamas, at least in this neck of the woods, do not visit the grocery store for their nourishment, but processed foods, unnatural forage and environmental influences are upsetting nutritional balance, because we see so many serious skin diseases and joint problems. Nutrition in hay, grain and forage is entirely dependent upon the nutritional balance in the soil and water from which it sprouts. I doubt there is a single square inch of perfect soil remaining in the developed world, in which nutritional balance is sufficient to support life for very long.

So what are Parental Essential Oils? A precise blend of pumpkin seed oil, sunflower seed oil, flax oil and oil of evening primrose, all cold–pressed in the raw, organic state with no other additives except vitamin E as a preservative and coconut oil. This blend of oils infuses the cells of the body with oxygen and we know that disease has a better chance of taking hold where there is a shortage of oxygen at the cellular level. A healthy ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 EFA’s infuse body cells with oxygen, combatting disease and reducing pain and inflammation.

My own severe joint pain that refused to budge under any other medication or supplement entirely disappeared as did a skin irritation of long-standing and Lynne had two severely squeaky wheels that suddenly started rolling smoothly within days of starting on the PEO’s. So how well would this work with animals? Llamas don’t grumble about their pain …well, most don’t, but that doesn’t mean they don’t feel it and rheumatic disease is prevalent, not just in llamas, but in many species of animal. Professor Peskin believes PEO’s can help relieve pain and disease in animals as much as in people.

Managing chronic diseases in animals can be more challenging from the point of view that they are unable to describe exactly where it hurts and what they feel. Careful observation must determine this, but since it is easier to control the diet of a llama than it is the diet of someone who forages in a grocery store, any benefits from adding or withdrawing certain dietary elements may be more obvious. With the generous sponsorship and support from Professor Peskin and the US manufacturer of PEO’s Oxygen4Life, The Llama Sanctuary has introduced Parental Essential Oils to a number of chronically ill llamas. Sadly for us, Ping had an appointment with the angels and was not able to participate in the trials, but initial results with the other llamas have been very encouraging.

Gypsy was rescued from cougars last year, but arrived with severe stiffness in the hind quarters. She couldn’t run, her joints cracked and clicked horribly with every movement and her skin was among the worst we have ever seen. Precise clinical data is not so easy to extract in these circumstances, but given four weeks of taking 20ml of PEO’s twice daily, stirred into to a serving of soaked beet pulp, her skin looks remarkably better, with the fibre growing long on previously bald patches and her joints are absolutely silent! One downside to that is our little blind alpaca used to follow Gypsy’s cracking joints.

Toby was one llama we really wanted to trial with. He suffered a severe torsion break in the humerus last summer. After much research, we decided not to amputate, but instead had our friends at K-9 Orthotics create a special, removable orthotic cast and brace that severely inhibited movement. Nature took over from there and he made a good recovery, but was left with a severe limp and he could not draw his leg under him to cush. The leg was always stuck out to the side. Within two weeks of commencing treatment with PEO’s he was getting up and down with ease and grace and his limp diminished considerably, which would indicate that the pain he was experiencing has gone.

The trials are yet young and we are keen to see what might happen with three extremely severe cases of dropped pastern that arrived last year. As the trials continue, I will provide updates on which kinds of diseases are being treated and how they are responding. This may be a drop in the ocean compared to the pain and suffering inflicted upon animals across the world, but if it’s the right stuff, then a drop or two a day might help keep chronic disease at bay. Watch out llamas! That painful ‘llama-groomer’s elbow’ is no more!

And finally, I have it on good authority that the Ancient Egyptians were well acquainted with Parental Oils and used a certain blend to help maintain good looks, perfect skin and longevity. I wipe inside the empty bottle with a little sponge on the end of a wooden skewer and daub it on my face. Wrinkles be gone!

Our gratitude and blessings go out to Professor Peskin and Oxygen4Life for their technical assistance and sponsorship of The Llama Sanctuary. To learn more about Parental Essential Oils visit www.oxygen4life.com. A number of other PEO studies can be found on the Internet, including a few on the rapid healing of wounds using Parental Oils that could be most valuable.

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