- I know the M word causes even more discussions than the weather, but it's back to talking about mites. We have been fairly fortunate not to have had any excessive reactions to mites within the herd, however the tell tale evidence of hair loss and dry skin around the feet of one or two of the herd, means that they are there alright. We have tried all the usual systemic and topical treatments in the past. Most work to a varying extent but they are both time consuming and expensive.
- One morning I noticed a crust on one of my female’s nose. It was pretty muddy so I figured it was caked on mud more than anything else. A couple of days later I looked at her nose again. Nope, it wasn’t mud but a really thick scab. Thinking maybe she got a cut I put anti bacterial ointment on it and turned her back out. A day or 2 later I looked at her again. Now both sides of her nose had crusty scabs. Now I know it wasn’t a cut and was something else so I read up on skin problems in alpacas. She ended up fitting the bill for Munge: Nasal Nyperkeratoxic Dermatitis and is common in alpacas under the age of 2.
- It is important to note that currently available ivermectin injectables and topicals do not work well in these species as the physiological makeup of their skin is different than other ruminant/semiruminant species. Chorioptes bovis can be found on several species and all potential sources of infestation must be considered (cattle, horses, etc.).
- The most important ectoparasites infesting/infecting alpaca (Vicugna pacos) and llama (Lama glama) are reviewed. The clinical manifestation and the diagnosis of the different parasitic infections/infestations of Sarcoptes scabiei, Chorioptes sp., Psoroptes sp., Damalinia (Bovicola) breviceps and Microthoracius spp. are described as well as therapies against them. Demonstrating S. scabiei and Chorioptes sp. with available diagnostic methods are challengingly often due to the relatively small numbers of mites that may elicit clinical disease. In Chorioptes sp. infestations it has been shown that alpacas are often subclinically infested. Predilection places are between the toes and in the axillae. The variable response to modern acaricidal treatments emphazises the need of more evidence based studies. The lack of lanolin in the fibres of South American camelids may explain the poor response to topical applications of modern insecticidal/acaricidal products used on other animals. Pharmacokinetic studies of such substances are limited. Few products are licenced although several products that are used and are available for other animals are used off-label. Applying a combination of systemic and topical treatments may produce optimal results. The need to apply treatments against the mange mites more frequently and with higher dosages of some of the acaricidal substances than recommended for other livestock is indicated. Lice infestations are often easier to deal with. Systemic treatment should be applied against suckling lice and topical against the biting lice. All animals in affected herds should be treated at the same time and stringent biosecurity measures following treatment is recommended to avoid re-infections/infestations.
- Skin disease in alpacas can be due to a variety of different causes: bacteria, fungi, allergies, nutritional problems, and various parasites. One of these parasites is the Chorioptic mange mite. Chorioptic mange can be a real headache to the alpaca owner. Difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat, this exasperating parasite can masquerade as its cousin, Sarcoptic mange, or hide out under secondary fungal and/or bacterial infections.