- Camelids are very susceptible to gastro-intestinal parasitism and this is probably one of the most common cause of illness we see as veterinarians, yet it is mostly preventable by employing some basic strategies. Alpacas have little natural resistance to parasites due to a lack of parasites in the climate and environment of the South American Andes. This poses a problem under the more intensive systems in which they are kept in the UK, where typically gastro-intestinal parasites are highly prevalent in all farmed species and on our pastures.
- 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.
- A list of off-label medications for parasite treatment and/or control.
- 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.
- This study aimed to compare the FECPAKG2 and the McMaster techniques for counting of gastrointestinal nematode eggs in the faeces of alpacas using two floatation solutions (saturated sodium chloride and sucrose solutions). Faecal eggs counts from both techniques were compared using the Lin’s concordance correlation coefficient and Bland and Altman statistics. Results showed moderate to good agreement between the two methods, with better agreement achieved when saturated sugar is used as a floatation fluid, particularly when faecal egg counts are less than 1000 eggs per gram of faeces. To the best of our knowledge this is the first study to assess agreement of measurements between McMaster and FECPAKG2 methods for estimating faecal eggs in South American camelids.
- There are several classes of gastrointestinal parasites which affect camelids to varying degrees. The intestinal nematodes affecting North American camelids include Trichostrongyle spp., Nematodirus spp., Haemonchus spp., Ostertagia spp., Trichuris spp. and Capillaria spp. The cestode, Monezia spp., may also be of some clinical significance. Protozoal concerns include Eimeria spp., Cryposporidium parvum and Giardia spp. Trematodes have also been shown to cause clinical disease in the biliary system of camelids, including Fasciola spp. and Dicrocoelium dendriticum. This document will focus on the control of gastrointestinal nematodes and coccidia of camelids.
- 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.
- 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.
- There are many factors to take into consideration when determining which drugs and what dosage to use in different situations. The information provided here is a basic guideline; specific treatments should be started only with the guidance of your veterinarian. Due to lack of complete information, the dosages used in camelids are frequently taken from dosages used in cattle and horses. However, several differences have already been discovered, for example antibiotics, as a general rule, appear to have a longer time of action in camelids compared to domestic ruminants.
- 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!
- Without a doubt, the biggest advantage of dryland farming is a sizeable reduction in parasitic infestation, as compared to wet, humid environments. Parasites can multiply rapidly and, if unchecked, can lead to severe illness and even death in livestock. Most internal parasites enter the alpaca through oral ingestion. Pasture grazing presents a higher risk of exposure than dry lot feeding.
Plasma Concentrations of Fenbendazole (FBZ) and Oxfendazole in Alpacas (Lama pacos) After Single Intravenous and Oral Dosing of FBZThe objective of this study was to determine plasma pharmacokinetics and bioavailability of fenbendazole (FBZ) and oxfendazole (OFZ) after intravenous (iv) and oral administrations of FBZ (5 mg/kg) to alpacas. Plasma concentrations of FBZ and OFZ after administration of FBZ iv and orally (5 mg/kg) were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection. Total clearance (CL) of FBZ was 16.5±4 mL/kg/min (range: 4–31 mL/kg/min), and steady-state volume of distribution (Vdss) was 3.3±1 L/kg (range: 1.7–7.4 L/kg). The terminal phase half-life of FBZ after iv administration was 5.9±3.8 hours (range: 0.8–20 hours). After oral administration, the FBZ terminal phase half-life was 23±5 hours (range: 9–37 hours) and the systemic bioavailability of FBZ was 16%±6% (range: 1%–41%). Peak FBZ concentrations after oral administration were 0.13±0.05 µg/mL (range: 0.05–0.28 µg/mL) at 10 hours (range: 8–12 hours). Peak plasma OFZ concentrations after oral dosing with FBZ (5 mg/kg) were 0.14±0.05 µg/mL (0.05–0.3 µg/mL) at 24±7 hours (range: 12–48 hours). FBZ clearance is lower in comparison to that of other species. Systemic availability of FBZ after oral administration is low after oral dosing. Metabolites of FBZ produced by alpacas are similar to those observed in other species.
- 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.