Prepared by AAA Ltd. Animal Health, Husbandry & Welfare Committee HUSBANDRY
Alpacas are susceptible to cattle, goat and sheep worms, however the four most likely to cause problems with alpaca are: Eggs laid per day
Barber’s Pole Worm (Haemonchus contortus) Small Brown Stomach Worm (Ostertagia ostertagi) Black Scour Worm (Trichostrongylus spp) 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.
Effects of worms
Worms are damaging alpacas whenever they are active. They with the passage of food too quickly resulting in scouring. The affect alpacas in different ways and can cause tissue damage, scouring will result in reduced nutrient uptake from the food the removal of protein, depression of appetite and scouring. consumed affecting all areas of growth and breeding.
Barber’s Pole Worms and Liver Flukes also cause anaemia.
Drench resistance
Tissue damage may be temporary or permanent. To repair the tissues requires protein, carbohydrates and structural elements Drench resistance is common in sheep and an increasing that need to be diverted away from production or growth.
problem in alpacas. This occurs when some of the worms are able to survive the chemical used in the drench. This can The removal of protein occurs when round worms penetrate result in persistent worms within the herd causing sub clinical the lining of the gut, for example to seek a blood vessel to feed production losses or in the extreme severe production losses from. They remove protein from the bloodstream or the gut and deaths. Overuses of the same drench or under dosing are lining or ingested feedstuff for their own metabolism. Barber’s two common causes of drench resistance occurring. Pole (Haemonchus contortus) is a blood-sucker and is able to remove blood proteins and red blood cells resulting in anaemia. Bringing new animals into a herd is another very common A lack of protein will affect fleece production, muscle growth, way of introducing drench resistant worms. It is highly milk production, ovum and sperm production, metabolism, recommended to drench and quarantine all new arrivals to development and maintenance of immunity.
The depression of the appetite can vary from small reductions To prevent drench resistance occurring, grazing management that are unnoticed but affect the production of the animal, strategies, faecal egg count monitoring, alternating the broad to large reductions up to half the normal daily intake. Severe spectrum drenches and advice from your veterinarian on local untreated reductions in appetite will result in the wasting and As a rule of thumb, treatment should be considered when faecal Worms in the small intestine will cause the intestine to be irritated egg counts are above 300 epg for alpacas less than a year old and produce excessive mucus while being excessively stimulated, ALPACA NOTE > 11
Prepared by AAA Ltd. Animal Health, Husbandry & Welfare Committee At risk animals
Healthy adult alpacas with strong immune systems are Cria have immature immune systems and are at risk of picking generally able to cope with some larvae in the paddock and up worms. Rather than drenching cria, grazing them on hence worms in the gut, assisted by alpacas using communal clean paddocks is preferred unless severe worm burdens are dung piles. When the health of the alpaca is below optimum present. Most weanlings suffer some separation stress and are the immune system will not be able to cope with the larvae and susceptible hence they should be drenched. Consult with your hence worms ingested from the paddock. Late pregnant and veterinarian regarding appropriate drenching and management post partum females are under stress and hence their immune systems are compromised and are at risk of a worm infestation. Drench products
There are currently no drenches available that are registered for use in alpaca, however their use under the direction of a veterinarian is permissible. Many sheep drenches are in use to treat worms in alpacas with good success. Drenches fall into different categories: broad spectrum, narrow spectrum, long acting and short acting.
Broad spectrum, short acting is the most common in regular use.
Consult with your veterinarian prior to using drenches to determine the most appropriate for your farm. Trade Name
Short acting.
Round Worms, Lung Worms, nasal bots.
Long acting on parasites as listed above; but particularly for Barber’s Pole and Brown Stomach Worms. Not good on bots.
Short acting.
Round Worms, Lung Worms, Tape Worms.
Short acting.
The chemical Albendazole is not recommended with early pregnant females as high doses can be toxic to the embryo.
Long acting for Barber’s Pole Worms and Liver Fluke.
Short acting.
Round Worms, Lung Worms. More potent than Ivermectin.
Further information for breeders can be found at
Australian Alpaca Association Ltd. (03) 9873 7700
Disclaimer: The management practices detailed in this overview do not constitute veterinary advice. Any alpaca appearing to have an adverse condition should be assessed by a veterinarian.


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