- The release in October 2014 of the new ‘Barbervax’ vaccine against barber’s pole worm gives the sheep industries a new weapon in the fight against an old foe. This provides a major alternative to drench-based control, and will help manage drench resistance. After many years of research in Scotland by the Moredun Research Institute, and recent collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Food in Western Australia, the world’s first sheep worm vaccine, and the first vaccine for a gut dwelling worm parasite of livestock, has been produced.
- Alpacas can be infected with the same parasites as other livestock in Australia. Fortunately, alpacas tend to use a communal dung heap, which means they spread fewer parasites across paddocks than sheep or cattle, but an alpaca grazing near the dung heap can pick up significant numbers of parasites. LIKELY SUSPECTS Internal parasites likely to cause problems in alpacas include liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica) and roundworms, black scour worm (Trichostrongylus sp.), Barbers pole worm (Haemonchus contortus) and small brown stomach worm (Teladorsagia circumcincta). These parasites can cause conditions from mild weight-loss to scouring, blood loss and death if left uncontrolled. Tapeworm appear to cause minimal problems in alpacas.
- Alpacas, which are South American camelids, are susceptible to both cattle and sheep internal parasites including liver fluke (Fasciola hepatica). Worms specific to South American camelids, such as Lamanema chavezi, are not known to occur in Australia. Alpacas use dunging ‘latrines’ which can help to control roundworm parasites. As a result, worm burdens are often not high. However heavy barber’s pole worm (Haemonchus contortus) burdens can occur, especially in high rainfall coastal areas in NSW and Queensland. Alpacas are also quite susceptible to liver fluke, possibly due to their relatively small livers.
- 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.