Skip to content

Alpaca Worm Control

Alpaca Worm Control

Do your alpacas need drench treatment now?

Alpacas are often wormed at shearing, cria marking, and weaning; other breeders have a set seasonal program. Unfortunately, many alpacas are routinely drenched without performing Worm Egg Counts (WEC) on faecal samples. This leads to overuse of chemicals, drench resistance, and ultimately poor worm control.

North Coast Veterinary Services recommends that a WEC be performed prior to drenching to determine how many worm eggs your alpacas are carrying. This will depend on a variety of factors including genetic resistance to worms, pasture managemet, nutritional status, and climate. Out semi-tropical climate means that worms can be an issue in alpacas for a large portion of each year. Routinely conduction faecal egg counts allows drenches to be used at the correct time, allows selection of worm resistance in breeding stock, and helps to control drench resistance.

Alpacas should be drenched with an effective drench if:

  • Faecal egg counts indicate high worm burdens and pastures are still green and harbouring worm larvae (this is also known as suppressive drenching). When using suppressive drenching repeat worm egg counts are advised every 6 weeks to monitor worm burdens and guide drenching.
  • Faecal egg counts are greater than zero per gram of faeces and pastures has dried off, so it is not harbouring worm larvae (this is also known as strategic drenching). When using strategic drenching, we are also using the environmental conditions to control worms, so worm egg count tests should be repeated once the pasture starts springing.
  • New alpacas (ideally in quarantine) have worm burdens greater than zero per gram (this is also known as quarantine drenching)

What drench treatment should you pick?

There are five classes of drenches for gastrointestinal parasites. Resistance to one product in a drench class generally means resistance to all products in that class, so simply changing brand is not enough to combat resistant worms. When you are buying drench you need to know what your worms are susceptible to and what class the drench is. So don't forget to read the fine print.

  • BZ - Benzimidazoles, white class drenches
  • LEV - Levamisols, clear class drenches
  • ML - Macrocyclic Lactones, mectin class drenches
  • MON - Monepantel, orange class drenches
  • CLOS - Closantel, barber's pole worm specific class drenches

Did your drench treatment work?

North Coast Veterinary Clinic recommends that Worm Egg Counts (WEC) are used routinely to determine when drenching is needed for your alpacas. We can also use WEC 10-14 days post drenching to make sure that the drench has worked, and your Alpacas are now not suffering a health and production sapping worm burden. In the 10 day post-drench faecal test we check to make sure that there has been a greater then 95% reduction in worm egg numbers.

If they numbers haven't dropped below this level then your have worms resistant to your drench and we need to change drench class, and then check again.

  • Posted 05 December, 2018

Back to all News