- 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.
Use of a Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay to Study Response to Oxytetracycline Treatment in Experimental Candidatus Mycoplasma haemolamae Infection in AlpacasObjective—To develop a PCR assay for Candidatus Mycoplasma haemolamae (CMhl) infection in alpacas and use it to study the efficacy of oxytetracycline treatment and development of a subclinical carrier state. Animals—8 healthy adult alpacas. Procedures—Alpacas initially had negative results for CMhl in blood samples via PCR assay and were experimentally infected with CMhl; 4 were treated with oxytetracycline, and 4 were not treated. All were monitored regularly via PCR assay, blood smear examination, PCV, rectal temperature, and physical examination. At 6 months after treatment, all alpacas were immunosuppressed by administration of dexamethasone and tested for CMhl. Results—7 of 8 alpacas had positive PCR assay results 4 to 6 days after experimental infection. When organisms were detectable on a blood smear, they were seen 2 to 6 days after positive results of PCR assay. Infection was often associated with mild anemia that was usually transient. No alpacas became hypoglycemic. Oxytetracycline treatment was not associated with faster clearance of organisms or resolution of anemia, and 4 of 4 treated alpacas still had positive results of PCR assay when immunosuppressed 6 months later; 0 of 3 nontreated alpacas had positive results of PCR assay following immunosuppression. Transient fever was detected in 3 alpacas during immunosuppression. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The PCR assay was more sensitive than blood smear examination for detection of infection. Clinical signs, anemia, and fever were not necessarily associated with infection. Oxytetracyline administration did not consistently clear CMhl infection. Although treated with oxytetracycline, infected alpacas remained chronic carriers.
- Among the population of an alpaca breeding farm, 5 alpacas (22 days to 14 months old) developed focal swellings in the subcutaneous tissues of the head or neck. Infection with Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis was confirmed on the basis of results of microbial culture of abscess material and a serum hemolysis inhibition assay to detect C. pseudotuberculosis toxin. The dams of the affected alpacas were seronegative for C. pseudotuberculosis toxin. The affected alpacas underwent surgical excision of the abscesses and were isolated from herdmates for 90 days; treatment was successful, and no other alpacas in the herd became infected. Common risk factors for sources of infection in the affected alpacas included housing in a maternity barn and a pasture. Also, the infection potentially originated from new alpacas introduced into the herd during the preceding 3 months. Infection with C. pseudotuberculosis should be considered as a differential diagnosis for camelids with peripheral lymphadenopathy or abscesses in subcutaneous tissues.
- The first reports of WNV clinical disease in camelids occurred during the 2002 epizootic, which happened to be a particularly bad year for WNV in other species as well, accounting for 284 human deaths and countless bird and horse losses. Confirmation of camelid clinical neurologic disease resulting from WNV infection was made from post-mortem testing using immunohistochemistry and reverse- transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from cases in Ohio and Iowa, respectively.
- Crias with sepsis do not appear to present with major biochemical, hematologic, or blood gas abnormalities, potentially complicating diagnosis. Affected crias may not have localizing signs at presentation and are not usually febrile, although hypothermia, tachypnea, and tachycardia are relatively common. Total protein concentration was not a substitute for immunoglobulin G measurement in septic crias in this study. Familiarity with the clinical presentation and common pathogens isolated should improve early recognition and treatment and ultimately outcome of crias with sepsis.