Infectious Camelid Respiratory Disease
The ICI extends a large “THANK YOU” to the International Lama Registry (ILR) and the Ohio Alpaca Breeders Association (OABA) for their help in sending out critical information to the camelid community regarding the current situation with the respiratory virus. This cooperation is greatly appreciated and necessary for the health and well-being of the camelid herd.
Infectious Camelid Respiratory Disease
Affecting Major Areas of US Herd
Between the months of June and October 2007, an unknown number of respiratory
cases have been seen across the
In The Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital, the
initial information we received came from telephone calls and referrals of some
animals (mostly alpacas) with mild respiratory signs including nasal discharge,
coughing and fever. We examined several animals here and submitted samples
for serologic testing and virus isolation through our Ohio Veterinary Diagnostic
laboratory and the Veterinary Diagnostic laboratory at
The demographics of the animals we have examined include: Older females (>10 years of age) who are in late pregnancy or early after giving birth (<3 weeks), who present after abortion, or after normal gestation length and delivery of healthy crias. Several llamas with high respiratory rates, fever, abnormal lung sounds and pleural effusion survived after extensive treatment and supportive care. Several older Alpaca females (>10 years of age) with healthy crias (~ 2 weeks of age) presented in respiratory distress, pleural effusion and severe lung consolidation. These animals died en route or were euthanized due to severe pneumonia. Their crias survived without evidence of respiratory disease.
Based upon our local findings, and those reports provided to me from other
locations in the
Recommendations for Those Owners
Experiencing This Problem:
1. Enforce strict bio-security protocols to prevent animals from bringing this agent to your farm. I would consider animals that return from shows/breeding farms as potential vectors even if not clinically affected. House these animals separately from the breeding stock for a minimum of 5-10 days before re-introducing them to the herd. As the identity of this agent has not been determined, longer isolation periods may be prudent.
2. The quarantine facility should be separated in all aspects from the remainder of the farm. Separate personnel should tend to these animals during their quarantine period. Animal handlers, grooms, etc should be provided with disposable outer wear (including caps and shoe covers) to prevent the spread of infectious agents to other animals through contamination of clothing, footwear, etc. Clean equipment, bedding, feed, and all materials to be used in contact with these animals should be kept separate from the rest of the herd.
3. Maintain strict bio-security of bred females, especially older animals. In our experience these animals are the most severely affected. Limit the stress of handling of pregnant females by evaluation of respiratory rates in pasture (from a distance) and physically restraining only those with an unexpected rise or work in breathing.
4. Have your Veterinarian examine all animals with clinical signs at an early stage. If deemed necessary due to fever, respiratory rates or other concerns, treatment should be initiated. If your Veterinarian needs information on or about this respiratory condition, please feel free to pass this information on to them. Contact information for experienced Veterinary personnel is posted at the bottom of this statement.
5. Obtain blood samples (for serum) from those animals demonstrating the common clinical signs (nasal/ocular discharge, coughing, fever, open mouth breathing) and submit these samples to a veterinary diagnostic laboratory for respiratory serology. Although we may not get information back on what is causing this problem soon, those individuals investigating this respiratory condition indicate that future testing of frozen (banked) serum, especially paired serum samples taken 2-4 weeks apart may be useful in gaining an understanding of this problem.
6. Treatment of those animals with more severe symptoms (fever, pneumonia), should include broad spectrum antibiotics which are effective against gram negative and gram positive bacteria. Those animals we have examined have had a number of opportunistic bacteria isolated from their lungs.
Contact Information for
Respiratory Condition of Camelids
Barbara Baker or Nancy Medland, Co-Associate Directors,
614-403-1016 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Jeff Lakritz, Director, ICI
Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospitals: ask to speak with any veterinarian working with camelids
Phone : 530-752-8700
Phone : 970-221-4535
Oregon Veterinary Medical Diagnostic laboratory
Communications from Camelid Owners
to ICI in Past Week:
” Dr. Jeff Lakritz,
According to the info on the ICI website, you are in charge of the EAS. There is currently an outbreak of a respiratory virus in alpacas in many areas of the
I am the “Industry Liaison” for the “Greater Appalachian Llama and Alpaca Association” (GALA). I have received a number of emails from our Board members regarding some identified type of virus that allegedly has been fatal to a number of alpacas.
The only information I have on this subject is contained in the emails attached below.
Have you heard anything about this matter?
The ICI website indicates that ICI has established an Emergency Alert System (EAS); has this been done and what is required to activate the system?”
Some of you may have heard about the serious virus running
through the alpaca community. There have been a fair number of deaths, and
new ones are being reported daily.
On Friday a number of large universities and vets had a teleconference. A number of things have come out of the meeting:
1. They do not know what it is yet
2. It is viral
3. It is NOT adenovirus
4. Secondary bacterial infections are common
5. Take viral precautions to protect your herd (see Bio –Security Precautions above)
I am collecting data for two files, which are being sent to the participating universities and vets. A map shows the relationship between the outbreaks, shows, and counties where there have been deaths.
Click here: http://www.alpacawatch.com
The excel file gives more information on the total herd size, number infected and premature births cause by the virus.. Here is what I need to know:
State and County you live in
Date you first noticed symptoms
Total number in herd
Shows/transports/ visits before your outbreak
Comments and treatment used
Your information will be 100% confidential with no names, towns or ranch names. The universities have found this information very helpful, and want it to keep coming. Any vets that want the same information may contact me, and I will add them to my mailing list.
I thought that portions of Dr. Purdy's last email might be helpful to the list:
”Thank you for sending the updated info. I will pass it on to the camelid vet discussion group... The animals that are severely affected do seem to be overwhelmed by it with large amounts of fluid in the lung tissue. That was noted by some vets at university hospitals. In my experience lung sounds are not that useful in assessing the amount of lung involvement in camelids. I have seen animals that sounded fairly clear but had very firm lungs postmortem. Other vets have made the same comment. Fever and elevated respiratory rate seem to be the best indicators of lung damage
Please spread the word. Send any alpaca/llama farms that you have on your mailing list my contact information, and the list of things I need to know. We have been very surprised by the large number in the alpaca community that have not heard about this.
For the lack of a better name the alpaca community has been calling this virus `snots'. I know a pretty bad name. However, it does describe one of the major symptoms. Keep your eye open for snotty noses and fevers, and your ears open for coughs, sneezes, and labored breathing. Some of the worst have not had the snotty noses and the first sign of trouble was open mouth breathing and/or foaming at the mouth. (The foam was coming from the lungs which fill up, and some have actually drowned from it.)”
It is obvious from this sampling of emails that there is a problem in many parts of the country and correct information needs to be gotten to as many owners/breeders as possible. The ICI will continue to monitor the situation and will post all relevant updates on the website. The Emergency Alert System is experiencing an IT problem which is being addressed and should be corrected soon. In the interim, please continue to check the website for the most current information or contact any of those individuals, veterinary hospitals and diagnostic laboratories listed above.
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