Alpacas are sensitive to all of the parasites that infect ruminants. Liver fluke is particularly vicious in alpacas and a common cause of sudden death in endemic areas.
No wormers are licensed for use in the camelids, however we have a range of treatment options with well researched dose rates
Recommended testing frequency: 4 times per year
Highest risk periods: after flooding, 3-4 month old cria
aka the Nematodes:
Teladorsagia, Trichostrongylus, Cooperia, Oesophagostomum
Poor coat quality
Poor body condition
Slow growth rate
Midline or jaw oedema
aka Barbers Pole Worm:
aka the Cestodes:
Look horrible when wriggling out - but surprisingly harmless!
Heavy burdens in Cria cause:
Reduced gut motility
Gut rupture & peritonitis
Mainly affects cria:
Diarrhoea (often pasty)
Blood & mucus in faeces
Skinny & weak
Permanent gut damage
Healthy adults will often have coccidia in their faeces - interpret positive samples with care before using a coccidiostat
Fasciola hepatica, Fascioloides magna
Anorexia & depression
Weakness & dry faeces
Increased respiratory rate
Ascites (belly fluid)
Dictyocaulus filaria, Muellerius capillaris, Protostrongylus rufescens
Increased respiratory rate
Cysticercus tenuicollis - the larval stage of the dog tapeworm Taenia hydatigena
large numbers cause liver failure:
5-10 day old Cria
active, alert & feeding well
very liquid diarrhoea
Worming Treatment Options
The main wormers suitable for Alpaca are listed.
Levamisole is not listed due to too many adverse effects, an exact weight is required to safely use this drug.
Milk & Meat withdrawal times are listed - just in case anyone needs to know!
POM-V products require a vet prescription, POM-VPS are obtained from a licensed pharmacist (inc online) who will ask some relevant questions
The 'Top-Shelf' wormers such as Zolvix (Monepantel), Supaverm (Closantel & Mebendazole) are not listed - these should only be used after in depth discussion with a vet.
Good parasite control is about more than using a drug every 3 months,
you can reduce risk & use of anthelminthic drugs:
do not graze with sheep or goats (they share worms)
do graze with horses (they 'hoover-up' ruminant worms)
Avoid previously flooded grazing
Avoid mud-snail areas, eg by streams
Encourage foraging behaviour
Feed hay in a rack, never the floor
Increase dietary protein in cria
Ensure new animals have a clear faeces check
Be fastidious with food & water bowl cleanliness
Follow our Small Holding at Orlestone Farm for 'Worm of the week' and 'Plant of the week' tips:
Focus On: Coccidia
The dreaded coccidia!
Why is it such bad news?
This tiny parasite (Eimeria) infects the gut lining of young Cria. The initial inflammation causes severe diarrhoea.
This inflammation then permanently scars, the animal will always be a 'Poor-Doer'.
The biggest problem - this scarring starts before shedding coccidia in faeces, so a positive test in a sick Cria is already too late.
To add to this complex bug's trouble - healthy adult Alpaca will have a normal population of coccidia living in their bowels - giving a positive test result when nothing is wrong.
As if that all wasn't bad enough - the treatment is difficult. No drug kills all the parasites. Decocquinate, Lasalosid and Monensin and Diclazuril will all help to reduce parasitic load, and should be used to treat in-contact crias.
Diclazuril (Vecoxan) can be given to all crias at 4-6 weeks of age on farms known to have a coccidia problem.
To add insult to injury - the bug is extremely difficult to kill in the environment. Sunlight & Ammonia are the only two things to kill this bug reliably.
The key to Coccidia Sucess? Prevention is Better than Cure.