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Parasites

External Parasites
Internal Parasites
Lice and mange affect alpacas.  There are no licensed products or doses for treating alpacas - some cattle and sheep doses can be used
 

Signs in an alpaca

Lice

  • large amount of dandruff seen in the fleece at shearing

Mange

  • May be itchy, irritable

  • Lesions around feet, under the abdomen and groin area, under the tail

  • Can be hard to diagnose or control, depending on the mite

If you are using one of the ivermectin type drenches to control internal parasites you are less likely to have alpaca affected with lice or mange

 

Contact your veterinarian for treatment options 

Alpacas get the same types of worms as sheep
  • These include round worms, whip worms, tape worms and liver fluke
  • Barber's pole (Haemonchus contortus) can be a serious problem in alpaca often causing death before diarrhoea is noticed

Signs in an alpaca

  • Scouring/diarrhoea
  • Loss of condition
  • Failure to thrive
  • Extreme = recumbancy and death
 

Treatment/Prevention

Oral and injectable products only - pour-on drenches have not yet been successfully designed for use on alpaca.  Avoid any products containing levamisole ("clear drenches" due to a narrow safety margin)

Although several breeders recommend using injectable products, with regular handling, care and patience alpaca can be successfully drenched with oral drenches

Follow the label doses as stated for sheep on each of the different products

All injectables must be given under the skin

Management practices
Because worms affecting alpaca also affect sheep, resistance of worms in alpaca to drenches is a high possibility even though it is not yet recorded in NZ.
 
  • Therefore, relying on drenches alone is not enough to control worms
  • Pasture/animal management is important
Ensure correct and accurate dosing when drenching
  • Weigh animals and dose to the heaviest in a mob
  • Make sure drench guns are delivering the correct dose
Yard animals for 3-4 hours before drenching with oral drench as this increases efficacy of drench (ensure free access to clean water)
When using an oral drench, split large volumes into two doses (may avoid having it all spat back at you!)
New animals arriving on property;  keep separate from other animals for a week.  This allows you to monitor general health too)
Give a quarantine drench, regardless of drench history
Grazing; grazing pasture in a rotation helps to control the amount of grass and also how low the alpaca graze. This in turn can reduce the amount of worm larvae eaten