Intestinal Parasite Control Program
Camelid Health Program
Veterinary Teaching Hospital
The Ohio State University
Claire Whitehead BVM&S MRCVS and David E Anderson DVM MS DACVS
Every worming program should be tailored specifically to the individual
farm: no one policy is going to be appropriate for every situation.
These are best worked out in conjunction with your local veterinarian
and we would be happy to consult with them should further advice be
required. In general though, we need to be concerned about the potential
for parasite drug resistance in our animals since indiscriminate use of
anthelmintics (these are drugs to treat internal parasites, e.g.
Panacur, Safeguard, Ivermectin, etc) can lead to "problem parasites" and
we only have a limited number of drugs at our disposal. For this reason,
periodic fecal exams and judicious use of anthelmintic drugs is the
responsible way to ensure that your farm remains disease-free.
Some farms may only require dosing for gastro-intestinal parasites twice
a year and others may need to worm every 2 months. The frequency of
worming depends a lot on your stocking density and management practices.
Also, always dose animals individually based on weights: I strongly
encourage you to purchase a set of scales for your farm. Under-dosing is
another easy way to induce drug resistant parasites. In 2003, we have
seen the emergence of "dual-resistance" herds. These herds have
intestinal parasites resistant to BOTH ivermectin AND fenbendazole. This
is a very grave concern and we have seen many llama and alpaca deaths
from this problem. You need to keep vigilant with herd monitoring.
These must be taken from individual animals and not from a communal
pooping area. This is important because it allows you to identify
particular animals with problems and may show up patterns if you have a
herd parasite problem. Take a latex examination glove with a little
lubrication and take the faeces directly from the rectum. Try to collect
a good size sample - about half a cup is ideal though labs can work with
less. Put it in a clean pot or ziplock bag and clearly label with the
animal's identification and the date. Take samples fresh and send away
or give to your veterinarian the same day as soon as possible to prevent
deterioration of the sample.
How many samples should I collect? We recommend collecting from 10% or
10 animals in your herd, whichever is the greater number. If you have
fewer than 10 animals, then test them all.
Which animals? If you need to choose between animals, select those that
may be a little on the skinny side and from a variety of ages. [While
we're on the subject, routine body condition scoring in these
heavily-fleeced animals will help you keep track of how good your
feeding strategy is and also if there may be a parasite problem lurking
in your herd.]
It is important that the correct procedure is performed for identifying
parasites in camelid faeces. Generally, camelids are a lot more
susceptible to parasite problems than other species. Therefore, make
sure that whoever is going to be doing your faecals knows the correct
method to use. At OSU, we recommend doing a Stoll's test which involves
a 1:5 dilution with a sugar solution. This is a lot more sensitive than
a McMaster's which uses a 1:100 dilution and is therefore only able to
pick up faecal egg counts down to 100 epg (eggs per gram). If your vet
or lab requires further information about these techniques, get them to
contact us down here at the University.
Drugs and Doses
Fenbendazole [egPanacur, Safeguard]:
Available in paste and liquid formulations generally to serve the equine
and food animal markets respectively which is usually reflected in the
price. Generally pretty safe, can be used in pregnant dams and crias
from a young age if required.
Routine dosage: 10 to 20 mg/kg
To figure out how much to give using the paste formulation, the weight
scale on the plunger is usually based on a 5 mg/kg dosage. Therefore,
multiply the animal's weight by 2 to 4 and use the dosing scale based on
this. E.g. a 150 lb alpaca would receive the dose marked for a 300 (at
10 mg/kg) to 600 lb (at 20 mg/kg) horse.
For the liquid formulations, this normally comes in a 10% suspension
which contains 100mg/ml. Thus for a 20 mg/kg dose, you will need to give
2 ml per 10 kg (or 22 lb) or 10 ml per 50 kg (or 110 lb). You can use an
oral dosing syringe for this or a dosing gun which normally comes with
the larger packs.
Fenbendazole is available in a medicated feed formulation. This approach
should only be used if you can ensure that all animals receive their
prescribed dose: feeding in separate bowls may work but ensure that the
animals low in the pecking order also receive theirs. Because of the
higher dose recommended in camelids, animals may be required to eat more
than they should and there can be the risk of grain overload.
Similar mode of action to fenbendazole but not quite as safe. Do not use
in pregnant animals if possible and use care when giving to young crias.
Much better coverage for tapeworms than fenbendazole.
Dosage: 10 mg/kg
Avermectins [egIvomec, Dectomax]
Widely used for meningeal worm control. Meningeal worm prevention
programs usually require ivermectin or doramectin to be given by
injection every 30 to 45 days, respectively. Certain types of
gastrointestinal parasites, such as nematodirus/whipworms/tapeworms, are
highly resistant to avermectins. There not to be relied upon for control
of gastrointestinal parasites.
Avaiable in injectable (1% solution = 10 mg/ml), oral paste, and feed
Dose: 300 ug/kg (1 cc of 1% injectable solution per 70 lbs body weight)
We are increasingly diagnosing resistance among intestinal parasites in
llamas and alapacs. We recommend doing a follow-up faecal exam 2 weeks
after treatment to confirm that the treatment has worked. A fecal egg
count reduction test (checking the parasite egg count before and 14 to
21 days after deworming medication is given) allows evaluation of
deworming efficacy. We expect to see >90 % egg reduction if successful.
These tests should be done using the Modified Stoll's Fecal Test - this
is the only tests available sensitive enough to detect the low egg
counts expected after deworming.
Nematodirus or Whipworms (egtrichuris)
These parasites are notoriously variable egg shedders. Even one egg
identified on a faecal exam suggests a problem. Aggressive treatment may
be required. Dose fenbendazole at 20 mg/kg for 5 consecutive days.
Significant strongyle load
Typically, a single dose of any of the various dewormers discussed is
adequate for most strongyles. Occassionally heavy burdens are seen.
Treat animals for 3-5 days at 20 mg/kg dose of fenbendazole when burdens
are severe or damage from larval migrations is suspected.
Moderate strongyle load
A single dose of ivermectin, fenbendazole, or albendazole may be
sufficient. If the animal is severely thin, then we recommend using a
3-5 day course as discussed.
Albendazole has better efficacy for tapeworm than fenbendazole.
Use a 5 day course of fenbendazole at 50 mg/kg given once daily.
Coccidia [egEimeria sp.]
Coccidia are protozoan parasites. Anthelmintic drugs as discussed for
intestinal parasite treatment are no effective against protozoa.
Coccidia is treated with sulfa drugs (e.g. sulfadimethoxine = albon),
but is prevented by using specific drugs such as amprolium (e.g. Corid)
or decoquinate (e.g. Decoxx). Label directions should be closely
followed because overdosing these drugs can be harmful to the animals.
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