- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.