Endoparasites (Worms and Coccidia)

  • Alpaca Emac - A Lethal Parasite

    Eimeria macusaniensis ( commonly called Emac ) is a type of coccidium seen only in alpacas. There are four types of coccidia seen in alpacas. Emac is rarely seen or identified and even in research very few cases are ever identified. Coccidia as a whole is a necessary part of life in any species, and exposure helps build tolerance and potential immunity. Without this the animal will not survive, as coccidia is everywhere and so if an animal is never exposed to coccidia, they will have no immunity to fight it, because it is impossible that any animal will not be exposed to coccidia at any stage of life. For treatment, if there are less than 100 eggs on a slide, it does not need to be treated with Panacure (SafeGuard). However, Emac, which is type of coccidian, can be lethal and must be treated if you see just one egg.More »
  • Alpaca Parasites

    Alpacas and llamas are susceptible to many of the gastro-intestinal nematodes or “worms” that infect sheep and cattle, including barber’s pole worm (Haemonchus spp) and the scour worms. The behavior of worms in alpacas is not well described and is currently being studied at the University of Melbourne. The project is identifying worm species, worm behaviour, methods of diagnosis/monitoring of worm burdens and worm control in alpacas. In the interim, camelid farmers need to extrapolate from sheep research on how best to control worms.More »
  • Anthelmintic Resistance in Gastrointestinal Nematodes of Alpacas (Vicugna pacos) in Australia

    BACKGROUND: Gastrointestinal nematodes (GINs) can cause significant economic losses in alpacas due to lowered production of fibre and meat. Although no anthelmintics are registered for use in alpacas, various classes of anthelmintics are frequently used to control parasitic gastroenteritis in alpacas in Australia and other countries. Very little is known about the current worm control practices as well as the efficacy of anthelmintics used against common GINs of alpacas. This study aimed to assess the existing worm control practices used by Australian alpaca farmers and to quantify the efficacy of commonly used anthelmintics against GINs of alpacas.More »
  • Barber’s Pole Worm in Alpacas

    The gastrointestinal parasite Haemonchus spp. is better known as the barber’s pole worm (BPW) because the adult female worm has a white tubular uterus that winds around their blood-filled tubular gut, giving the look of a barber’s pole (Figure 1). This parasite is a blood sucker of domestic livestock, causing anaemia and illthrift and can kill alpacas (and sheep, cattle and goats) quickly and in high numbers.More »
  • Coccidiosis in Alpacas

    Coccidiosis is a parasitic infection of alpacas that can also be found in a wide variety of other animals such as cows, poultry, and dogs. The cause of the disease is the infestation of the intestines of the alpaca by a parasitic protozoan. Symptoms of coccidiosis in alpaca include dehydration and loss appetite. There can also be diarrhoea, possibly with blood in it. Medication is available for treatment of coccidiosis in alpaca. But good management techniques should also be introduced to prevent outbreaks.More »
  • Coccidiosis in New World Camelids (Proceedings)

    A variety of parasites affect the gastrointestinal tract of New World camelids. Some of these are unique to camelids, but many also infest or infect ruminants, other domestic animals, cervids, or other wildlife as well. As a rule, parasitic infections are more associated with ill thrift than more specific and overt signs of GI disease, such as diarrhea or colic, but as such, they are among the most common causes of poor-doing in domestic camelids. Awareness of the importance of protozoal enteritis has been growing steadily. This is reflected both in the number of scientific publications, and the overall recognition that parasite control strategies must extend beyond anthelmintics. Also, once considered diseases of crias, certain protozoal enteritides are now widely recognized as important disorders of all ages of camelids.More »
  • Diagnosis of Gastrointestinal Parasites in Camelids and Small Ruminants

    A presentation on how to perform a diagnostic fecal examination and identify the eggs of common ruminant gastrointestinal parasites.More »
  • Drug Resistant Worms: Anthelmintic Resistance is a Growing Concern for Alpaca Owners

    Scientists from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine evaluated 32 privately owned camelid (16 alpaca and 16 llama) farms in the southeastern United States to determine if anthelmintic (dewormer) resistance was evident in the Haemonchus contortus (barberpole worm) populations on these farms.More »
  • Eimeria macusaniensis Infection in 15 Llamas and 34 Alpacas

    Case Description—15 llamas and 34 alpacas between 3 weeks and 18 years old with fecal oocysts or intestinal coccidial stages morphologically consistent with Eimeria macusaniensis were examined. Nineteen of the camelids were admitted dead, and 30 were admitted alive. Camelids admitted alive accounted for 5.5% of all camelid admissions during this period. Clinical Findings—Many severely affected camelids had signs of lethargy, weight loss, decreased appetite, and diarrhea. Camelids with clinical infection also commonly had evidence of circulatory shock, fat mobilization, and protein loss. Nonsurviving camelids also had evidence of shock, edema, bile stasis, renal insufficiency, hepatic lipidosis, muscle damage, relative hemoconcentration, and sepsis. Postmortem examination frequently re-vealed complete, segmental replacement of the mucosa of the distal portion of the jejunum with coccidial meronts and gamonts. For 17 of 42 camelids, results of initial fecal examinations for E macusaniensis were negative. Treatment and Outcome—Most camelids admitted alive were treated with amprolium hydrochloride, plasma, and various supportive treatments. Fifteen of the 30 treated camelids died or were euthanized. Clinical Relevance—Findings suggest that E macusaniensis may be an important gastrointestinal tract pathogen in camelids of all ages. Clinical signs were frequently nonspecific and were often evident before results of fecal examinations for the parasite were positive. As with other coccidia, severity of disease was probably related to ingested dose, host immunity, and other factors. The clinical and herd relevance of positive fecal examination results must be determined.More »
  • First Report of Anthelmintic Resistance in Haemonchus contortus in Alpacas in Australia

    Parasitic nematodes can cause substantial clinical and subclinical problems in alpacas and anthelmintics are regularly used to control parasitic nematodes in alpacas. Although anthelmintic resistance has been reported in ruminants worldwide, very little is known about anthelmintic resistance in alpacas. The present study was carried out to confirm a suspected case of anthelmintic resistance in Haemonchus contortus in alpacas in Australia.More »
  • Haemonchus contortus and camelids

    Author: Lisa Williamson University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, United States Date of Publication: April, 2014 Publication: American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control Excerpt: As is the…More »
  • Husbandry: Worms And Alpacas

    Alpacas are susceptible to cattle, goat and sheep worms, however the four most likely to cause problems with alpaca are: Barber’s Pole Worm (Haemonchus contortus) up to 10,000 eggs per day Small Brown Stomach Worm (Ostertagia ostertagi) 100-200 eggs per day Black Scour Worm (Trichostrongylus spp) 100-200 eggs per day Liver Fluke (Fasciola hepatica) 20,000-50,000 eggs per day The eggs are passed out in the faeces and can remain in the paddock for long periods, until warm moist conditions are present and they begin to hatch into infective larvae. Alpacas with a worm burden can be passing eggs in their faeces over winter with the eggs not hatching due to the cold, only to have millions of eggs begin hatching when the warm spring days arrive. This sudden arrival in the paddock of millions of larvae can result in sudden and severe worm infestations with severe consequences.More »
  • Internal Parasites in Alpaca: Part 1

    One of the major advantages of keeping alpacas is the low maintenance required in their upkeep. In comparison to other classes of stock, alpaca come out head and shoulders (not to mention neck) ahead. One particular area of advantage is the alpaca’s comparatively low parasitic burden. That is not to say, however, that alpacas are not affected by internal parasites. Like all ruminants alpacas are susceptible to a wide range of internal parasites of varying degree of concern to the breeder. Some minor infestations often may go unnoticed for months, if not years, whereas others, if left unchecked, can and do all too often, prove to be fatal.More »
  • Internal Parasites in Alpaca: Part 2

    Gastrointestinal worms are by far the most prevalent of the internal parasites that can affect alpacas. Stomach worms are common place, and it is likely that the majority of animals in your herds will have a number of worms and worm eggs, particularly if you have other classes of stock sharing the same paddocks. A regular worming program will reduce the numbers of worms present and will prevent the problems associated when the numbers multiply and become too great a burden for an animal. There are, however, a few other internal parasites that are less common but can adversely affect alpacas and other classes of stock. To date we have discussed intestinal worms and there is one more parasite of note that can on occasion reside in the intestinal tract of an alpaca and that is the Tapeworm or Cestode. Like all ruminants alpacas are susceptible to a wide range of internal parasites of varying degree of concern to the breeder. Some minor infestations often may go unnoticed for months, if not years, whereas others, if left unchecked, can and do all too often, prove to be fatal.More »
  • Liver Fluke in Alpacas

    Liver fluke is the common name of the trematode, Fasciola hepatica. The parasite is found worldwide and is the only liver fluke found in Australia. Infection can lead to reduced productivity and death and costs millions of dollars each year in lost production (meat, wool, milk, liver condemnation, secondary infection, replacement stock requirements), stock deaths and costs of treatment and prevention. The fluke mainly affects cattle and sheep, but can also affect alpacas, goats, horses, pigs, kangaroos, wombats, rabbits and deer. Humans may also be infected, for example after eating watercress collected from fluke-infested creeks or following use of contaminated water on vegetable gardens. The adult fluke is a pale brown or grayish-brown flat worm about 1.5-4 cm long that lives in the bile ducts of the liver (Figure 1).More »
  • Meningeal Worm Literature Review with Implications for Alpaca Owners

    Meningeal worm (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis) is a parasite of special concern for many alpaca farmers. Carried by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and intermediate slug and snail hosts, “m-worm”, as it is commonly known, lives and reproduces in the deer. Although the deer are generally not affected by the parasite, any other animal ingesting an infected slug or snail is usually killed by the activity of the parasite as it travels through the nervous system.More »
  • Parasite Control in Alpacas (Hot, Dry Summers; Cold, Wet Winters)

    Parasite larvae live in the lower 2 cm of grass AND need water to survive (dew, rain). Longer pastures enable alpacas to graze away from the worm larvae and reduce worm pick-up!More »
  • Parasite Paradise: Barber’s Pole Worm in Alpacas

    Humid air, moist grass and mild temperatures are ‘party central’ for the enemies of alpacas – gastrointestinal worms. More alpacas die through parasitic infestation than virtually any other single cause, yet owners often find it difficult to spot the signs of infestation, and improve husbandry to reduce the effects. Many nematode worm species occupy sections in the gastrointestinal tract of your alpacas. From mouth to rectum is a warm, moist, dark space, perfect for feeding, growing and reproducing. Consider it from the worms’ perspective, life could not be better, tucked away with constant warm temperature, food and protection at no cost to them. Of course, as in all ecosystems, and the digestive tract of your alpacas is an ecosystem, there will be competition between worms for the best ‘pitch’. Different species of worm favour different spaces within the tract. The worm must avoid immune responses of the host but in the main the gut is a very hospitable place for worms to survive, hence their success. These insidious parasites share a common objective; to shelter, grow and reproduce within their host, bringing nothing to the party whilst taking all they can.More »
  • Quest for a Meningeal Worm Vaccine

    Once an alpaca shows obvious signs of infestation from meningeal worm, recovery is unlikely. Partial recoveries, probably with residual physical impairment, are possible with extraordinary veterinary measures. Because the signs mimic other neurologic disorders, early detection and positive diagnosis are problematic.More »
  • Sarcocystosis in South American Camelids: The State of Play Revisited

    Members of the genus Sarcocystis (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae) are intracellular protozoan parasites that infect a wide range of domestic and wild animals, resulting in economic losses in production animals worldwide. Sarcocystis spp. have indirect life-cycles where canids and felids serve as main definitive hosts while a range of domestic and wild animals serve as intermediate hosts, including South American camelids (SACs) such as alpacas, llamas and guanacos. These animals primarily occur in South American countries on Andean, elevated plains but in recent years, alpacas and llamas have become emerging animal industries in other parts of the world such as Australia, Europe and the USA due to their high-quality fiber, meat and hides. For instance, alpaca meat is becoming popular in many parts of the world due to its lower cholesterol content than other red meat, thereby it has the potential of a valuable product for both local and international markets. However, SAC meat can be degraded and/or even condemned due to the presence of macroscopic sarcocysts in skeletal muscles, leading to significant economic losses to farmers. The infection is generally asymptomatic, though highly pathogenic or even fatal Sarcocystis infections have also been reported in alpacas and llamas. Despite the economic importance of sarcocystosis in SACs, little is known about the life-cycle of parasites involved, disease transmission, epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, control and public health significance. This review article provides an in-depth analysis of the existing knowledge on the taxonomy, epidemiology, clinicopathology and diagnosis of Sarcocystis in SACs, highlights knowledge gaps and proposes future areas of research that could contribute to our better understanding of sarcocystosis in these animals.More »
  • Severe Biliary Hyperplasia Associated with Liver Fluke Infection in an Adult Alpaca

    An adult alpaca (Lama pacos) had a locally extensive area of hepatic atrophy involving the right lobe. Grossly, the atrophic lobe was light tan and firm and contained small, raised, white to yellow, partially mineralized circular nodules predominantly at the periphery of the atrophic tissue. Microscopically, viable hepatocytes were not present in the atrophic area, and the tissue consisted of diffuse biliary epithelial proliferation without any evidence of nuclear or cellular atypia or the presence of mitotic figures. The circular mineralized nodules consisted of granulomatous inflammation with intralesional parasitic ova surrounded by fibrous connective tissue. Morphologically, the ova were compatible with those of Fasciola hepatica. The severe biliary hyperplasia was unusual, and it was not clear whether it was caused by an aberrant host response to the parasitic infection or whether it was an unrelated event.More »
  • Studies on Gastrointestinal Nematodes (“Worms”) of Alpacas

    Objectives: 1.To assess the worm control practices used by alpaca farmers in Australia by conducting a questionnaire survey 2.To determine the prevalence of gastrointestinal nematodeof alpacas in various climatic zones in Australia, using traditional and the latest molecular diagnostic methods 3.To undertake field efficacy studies to determine the status of anthelmintic resistance in gastrointestinal nematodes of alpacas 4.To train a research higher degree (MPhil/PhD) studentMore »
  • Tips for Controlling Worms in Your Herd

    Use drenches most effective on your property: ideally those that are 98% effective, as shown by a drench test. Especially important for strategic summer drenches in winter rainfall regions.More »
  • Worms and Drench Resistance

    Drench resistance is generally regarded as the most economically important sheep health problem in Australia today with an estimated 90% or more farms experiencing the phenomena. There is no sheep drench on the market today that is not affected to some extent. Unless unnecessary drenching is reduced, the cost of drench resistance to the sheep industry alone is estimated in excess of $700 million per annum in the next five years. Less well documented but equally well known are drench resistance problems in other livestock industries.More »