Prevalence of Anthelmintic Resistant Gastrointestinal Nematodes in Camelids

Prevalence of Anthelmintic Resistant Gastrointestinal Nematodes in Camelids

(Morris Animal Foundation Project)


Principal investigator:

Lisa Williamson, DVM, MS
University of Georgia

Gastrointestinal parasites are a leading cause of disease in all grazing livestock, including camelids. Llamas and alpacas imported into new habitats, such as North America, are exposed to a new array of these parasites, making worm-related illnesses such as anemia and deaths an increasing problem. These parasites are difficult to manage because they are often resistant to dewormer medications. Current dosage recommendations for deworming alpacas and llamas were extrapolated from those developed for sheep and cattle, with little knowledge as to how camelids metabolize them. Veterinarians and owners are likely giving sub-therapeutic doses of dewormer medications to their animals, and this factor actually promotes resistance in worm populations. In addition, no one knows the current magnitude of the problem. Scientists from the University of Georgia studied hundreds of llamas and alpacas across 26 farms in the Southeastern states and determined there is a very high prevalence of worm populations resistant to current medications. The need for further research into proper dosing of dewormer medications specifically for camelids is critical in preventing worm-related illnesses and deaths. Furthermore, the scientists determined that the FAMACHA eye color chart, which predicts degree of anemia in livestock, can be accurately used in llamas and alpacas as a new tool to determine whether they are anemic. This in turn will help direct the appropriate treatment.