Health and Welbeing

We intend to build a database of articles on health issues faced by llama owners in New Zealand. Also on this page is a list of veterinarians throughout New Zealand who have an interest in treating camelids and Shearers who specialise in llama shearing.

A New “Old” Worm in Your Animals, Cause for Concern?

By Monique Koning, Selwyn Rakaia Veterinary Services, PO Box 52, Dunsandel and Stephen Mulholland Ph.D., for the Health and Education subcommittee

Recently a new worm has been confirmed to be present in llamas in New Zealand. The worm carries the scientific name of Lamanena chavezi. To our knowledge it is the first time this worm has been found outside South America. In South America the worm is found in alpacas and llamas and has the potential to kill the animal, although this seems mostly limited to recently weaned crias. The prevalence of this parasite in South America is described to be between 20 and 80 percent. The economic importance of the damage caused by this parasite is due to condemned livers at slaughter and lost production of meat and fibre. Most of the parasites are incidental findings during post mortems.

Lamanema has the ability to damage the liver, lungs and the gut. This is caused by its lifecycle. The ingested larvae exit the small intestine and travel via the blood to the liver and sometimes the lungs. There they moult and migrate again. The worms burrow through the liver, and sometimes the lungs, causing damage. From the liver they travel down the bile ducts into the small intestine again. Adult worms (which are 8-18 mm long) could potentially and with some extra effort be spotted in the small intestine, although microscopic conformation is needed to be sure, as there is often a mixture of parasites present in the small intestines.

In 2006, the first suspicion that we had this particular worm in New Zealand was raised by some faecal eggs found in a llama (P McKenna). Under biosecurity regulations MAF followed this up, but the presence of Lamanema was never confirmed, as the mature worm could not be recovered from the animals concerned. Recently, another lot of suspected faecal eggs were found in a batch of faecal samples. MAF was again involved. I was contacted to take individual faecal samples of each animal and drench the animals after sampling with an adequate worm drench. I choose Matrix, a triple combination worm drench, to get the desired effect. The individual faecal egg counts showed the suspected eggs to be present in only one female llama with a cria at foot and a low body condition score of 1.5/5. The other animals on the property were in good body condition. Drenching with unselenised Matrix (because of the high volumes of drench used in llamas and alpacas) at a dose rate of 1 ml per 5 kg by mouth delivered some dead adult Lamanema chavezi. This got the laboratory and all others involved excited and an article about the worm has been submitted to the New Zealand Veterinary Journal. Even more recently, more llamas excreting Lamanema chavezi eggs have been diagnosed. History links the recently diagnosed llamas to the early shipments of llamas into New Zealand.

So far L. chavezi does not seem to cause severe problems in New Zealand. It is not known what the relationship is between the number of eggs in the faeces and the actual worm burden inside the animal. This is very important to understand, as this point often causes confusion. The actual worm burden in your animal causes problems, not the number of eggs in the faeces of the animal. We know for a fact, in other species, that the number of eggs in the faeces are not very good at predicting the actual worm burden in the animal.

The history of the origin of the llamas diagnosed with L. chavezi suggests that L. chavezi has been around from their first arrival in New Zealand. With the time that has passed since their first arrival on our shores it suggests that L. chavezi keeps a low profile. This can have been achieved in a number of ways:

  1. The presence of L. chavezi in our camelid population is low, maybe because their life cycle is negatively affected by the New Zealand environment. It is known that L chavezi burdens in South America are highest during the dry periods and that their larvae prefer to hatch (and become infective) in a cooler climate.
  2. L. chavezi could be a variable egg producer. Therefore only on rare occasions are any eggs found in the faeces. This means that even if your faecal egg count is zero, the animal could be carrying L. chavezi. Like the Nematodirus worms L chavezi could be a low egg producer, like worms of the Nematodirus species. That is why the Nematodirus eggs are separately mentioned on the faecal egg counts of the lab report. Low egg production means that any detected worm egg becomes significant, as in being able to affect your animal. However, it is not known if L. chavezi is a low or a high egg producer. We simply don’t know enough yet! The recently diagnosed llamas with L. chavezi that had shown weight loss also had other worm eggs in their faeces, including Nematodirus.
  3. Because the plane of nutrition in New Zealand is high compared with South America the immune status of our animals is good enough to hold L. chavezi at arms’ length, most of the time.
  4. Diagnostic labs may not have been specifically looking for L. chavezi eggs before. However, the L. chavezi eggs resemble the eggs of a nasty Nematodirus species that we don’t have in New Zealand yet. Under the banner of biosecurity the labs are actively on the look out for this type of egg. It seems highly unlikely that they will have missed the L. chavezi eggs for so many years. Gribbles Veterinary laboratories will mention the L. chavezi separately on your result sheets.

It is important to stay with the facts, rather than run with perceptions and cause misconceptions or a panic. Go over each of your animals, check their body conditions. If the body condition is acceptable and your animal is otherwise healthy there is nothing to worry about. If your animal is sick or has a low body condition score, then include L. chavezi in your list of possible problems to deal with. Even if a faecal egg count doesn’t show up any L. chavezi eggs! This holds true for llamas and alpacas alike, as L chavezi is found in both llama and alpaca. If L. chavezi eggs are discovered, Stephen (stephen@suncrow.com) would like to be informed so that a better picture can be formed about the prevalence of this parasite in New Zealand. All information will be held in strict confidence by Stephen.
Overseas single drenches with either the ivermectin family or levamisole have been reported to be effective in dealing with L. chavezi. In New Zealand, at this stage, it may be prudent to use a triple drench if L. chavezi is suspected as this has been shown to be effective here, so far. This does not imply that there is a resistance to the above mentioned single family drenches. There is no proof of that! The low profile of L. chavezi in our New Zealand animals makes me extra careful, until we know more. If you have concerns discuss it with your vet. If you have a dead animal, it is always worth your other animals’ while to do a post mortem. Although it may be difficult to find L. chavezi specimens then and there, evidence of parasite damage or other clues may be present that can help you deal better with future problems. The intestines can be submitted to the laboratory for adult worm identification. But as long as your animals are healthy and in a good body condition, go about what you are always doing, you are doing fine.

Lamanema chavezi egg

Thanks to Gribbles Veterinary Laboratory for providing the image of the Lamanema egg.

Guidelines for Llama Vaccinations

By Mana Stratton, BVSc, BPhil, BSc

Before vaccinating any animal read the packet carefully. Make sure you have the right vaccine for the animals you are about to vaccinate and that you know how to vaccinate the animals correctly with the right needles. Do not vaccinate sick animals.

Care should be taken if using selenised vaccines. Selenised vaccines are okay for adults but not advised in cria. However, if adults are getting selenium from other sources then discuss with your vet first before using any form of selenised vaccine. You should also discuss with your vet first before deciding to use any form of supplement like copper injections/bullets or selenium injections. It is not wise to automatically assume what is good for cattle or sheep will work as effectively or safely in your llamas. Deaths can occur. Discuss mineral supplementation with your vet as requirement varies for each farm or lifestyle block. Blood testing to determine an animal’s levels can be money well spent.

It is recommended that all llamas be vaccinated with a clostridial vaccine. Traditionally 5 in 1 vaccines have been used. Now there are 10 in 1 vaccines on the market. It is still debatable as to which is the better one to use. However, once you decide which one to use then stick with it or you will need to restart the vaccine booster programme of two injections 4-6 weeks apart. A general vaccination regime is to first dose cria at age 6-8weeks (or even 8-12weeks) followed by a booster 4-6weeks later. Then booster 6 monthly or yearly depending on the perceived risk. It is recommended that boosters be given prior to high-risk events such as shearing or castration. For breeding females it is recommended they be boostered 4-6weeks before giving birth to improve antibody protection in cria.

In some cases leptospirosis vaccination could be advisable. This would be for llamas in a high-risk environment such as llamas living with pigs. Discuss with your vet first. In cases of uncertainty the newly formed Camelid Branch of the NZ veterinary association can be contacted by or through your local vet.

Facial Eczema

Have you decided how you will deal with Facial Eczema if spore counts start to rise in your area? Even if you have never had Facial Eczema in your area before, it wouldn’t hurt to have a plan of action ready, such as zinc oxide or zinc sulfate in the medical cupboard. Ask your vet if spore counts are monitored in your area, maybe offer your farm as a monitoring area and inquire whether you could be contacted if there are any Facial Eczema concerns in your region. Maybe you could consider setting up area networks where everyone can be contacted when spores are on the rise. Check into where spore counts can be done and educate yourself on how to prepare the samples for the Lab.

Facial Eczema by Dr Neil Towers, Ruakura

Fungus grows on dead material. Ideal conditions for fungus to grow include drought, dieback of grass, followed by rain. Watch out when you get warm overnight temperatures, high humidity and light rains or heavy dews, i.e. pasture base continually damp.

Influences on fungal growth include:

  • latitude
  • altitude – higher altitudes safer
  • aspect – if pastures facing sun they will dry out quicker, so cold, windy, dry slopes are safest.

Facial eczema is not eczema as such, but the result of secondary liver damage. Tissue damage will occur in any area where skin is exposed to sun. Facial eczema is very stressful for the animal (although if the bile ducts are not completely blocked off, liver should recover).

Symptoms of Facial Eczema to look out for include:

  • Animal seeks shade
  • Ears droop
  • Swelling, warmth around affected areas, such as eyes, ears or face
  • Signs of jaundice in gums, eyelids
  • Animal will scratch, bite or be edgy
  • Animal may rub eyes against fence posts
  • Tip of tongue may be ulcerated
  • Frequent urge to urinate. May squat.

Control Strategy:

Identify and avoid dangerous pastures

  1. Use fungicide
  2. Recognise dangerous weather conditions
  3. Count spores
  4. Substitute non-toxic feeds such as hay or silage
  5. Listen to radio spore counts but treat with caution – general information and conditions will vary in different areas.

Fungicide:

  1. Use a benzionidazole such as Benlate
  2. Will not kill fungus already present, but will stop it from growing further.
  3. Reduces spore rises by 55 – 65%
  4. Provides safe pastures for 4 – 6 weeks
  5. Respray if 7.5mm of rain (or more) falls within a day or so
  6. Must do a good job. Spray the entire area to be grazed

Zinc Dosing:

  • Must be done before animals eat toxins
  • Care needed with dose rates
  • Regular dosing gives better protection

Oral dose – zinc oxide

  • Adding to water – zinc sulphate
  • Slow release bolus – zinc oxide
  • (still experimental, may not be suitable for alpacas)

Possible Developments:

  • Possibility of bio-control
  • Almost all NZ spores are toxigenic
  • Most overseas spores are non-toxigenic. If these could be grown in New Zealand they should reduce toxic levels by 80%, but it would be necessary to isolate and get enough of these non-toxic spores to cover a large area. In addition, they don’t survive beyond one season.

Spore Counting

When cutting material for spore counting, take whatever part of the plant that animals eat. Spore counting is useful when spores are rising; not so good when spores are dying.

Other fungi can produce different toxins that could cause liver damage. Benlate won’t help these toxins.

Facial Eczema Action Plan

Recognise the Toxic Conditions:

  1. Warm humid weather between January & May
  2. Wet pastures during most of the day and high overnight temperatures above 12oC

Remember: the toxicity of a pasture depends on several factors:

  1. The spore count
  2. The age of the spores. Young spores are more toxic.
  3. The grazing level. Animals grazing to the base of pastures are most at risk.
  4. Prior exposure of the animals to toxic spores.
  5. The length of time toxic spore levels are consumed.

Prolonged exposure to low toxin doses can be as dangerous as a single high dose of toxin.

STRATEGIES FOR AT RISK DISTRICTS

  1. Monitor the spore counts on your farm. Spore counts can range from 0 – 300 000 on the same farm
  2. Identify the paddocks or areas on your farm that are dangerous. Avoid these areas or breakfeed using a crop as a large proportion of the diet.
  3. Plan a long-term zinc oxide dosing system. This is 90% effective, compared to 60% for crisis dosing. (Refer to FarmFact 1-8 for drench recepies)
  4. Dose cows daily and calves twice a week.
  5. Purchase enough zinc oxide for 5 months. Supplies often run out during a crisis.
  6. Start drenching in early January when you notice counts beginning to rise or sooner if the situation warrants.
  7. Assume that dangerous conditions will occur
  8. Ensure dose rates are up to maximum recommended levels if spore counts are above dangerous levels (60 000s/g)
  9. Check mixing calculations carefully (refer to FarmFacts 1 – 8 Facial Eczema – Zinc Treatment, Recipes and Dose rates)
  10. Get someone else to double-check your calculations

Finish zinc dosing only when all danger is past. In Northland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty this can be well into May in some seasons. (After spore counts have dropped there is still a danger of eczema due to the Serum GGT levels in cattle).

Consider spraying an area of the farm with fungicides as well as drenching with zinc oxide. Spray in early January to slow the build up of spores. Fungicides reduce the number of spores produced by 55-65%. This area provides a safer area for stock in high danger periods.

Use supplementary feeding to reduce the intake of spores in danger times especially from low level grazing.

A Facial Eczema “contingency stack” of silage is a flexible option as you can match feeding it to the danger periods. A crop may only cover part of the risk period.

Supplements may also allow you to feed stock longer on a ‘safer area’ of the farm.

Water Trough treatment is not reliable enough for high risk dairy farms.

Remember that young stock are at high risk.

Check young stock that may be out grazing to make sure protection measures are in place. Many traditionally ‘safe’ areas for FE have experienced bad outbreaks of facial eczema in previous seasons due to poor control measures.

Get all culls off the farm early. This reduces grazing pressure.

Do not top pastures after ryegrass seed-head appears. Topping late leaves litter on which the spores multiply rapidly. Topping during danger periods is very unwise as spores like new litter to grow on.

Ig’s and the Immune System

A Short Primer by Stephen Mulholland

In most discussions of animal immunity and vaccinations, you will come across references to “Ig”. This is an abbreviation for “immunoglobulin.” An immunoglobulin, or Ig, is a protein molecule that is produced by the immune system to help recognize invading organisms (bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic worms) and mark them for elimination by other cells of the immune system. Ig’s are more commonly known as “antibodies.” Measuring the Ig level, or quantity of antibodies, in the blood therefore provides a good indication of the health and capabilities of the immune system.

When a baby mammal is born, it has no antibodies at all, and is therefore very vulnerable to infection. The mother’s colostrum contains a large number of antibodies produced by the mother to be passed on to the young. These antibodies provide protection in the weeks and months after birth while the baby’s own immune system is developing. The stronger the mother’s immune system, the better the protection that the baby receives via the colostrum: this is why it is recommended to give the mother a vaccine booster shot a few weeks before birth, as it boosts her antibody levels against common paddock diseases, and this improved protection is passed on to the cria. If the baby does not get any colostrum, it is very vulnerable to infection and is much more likely to die. A plasma infusion can save such an at-risk cria by providing it with the antibodies of an adult animal.

Vaccination presents the immune system with a sample of what some of the common and deadly infectious organisms look like. Vaccinating an animal in the first few days after its birth is pointless as there are not enough immune cells in the blood stream to effectively respond – it has its mother’s antibodies, but no means yet of producing its own. To give a cria’s own immune system enough time to develop, its first vaccination should be given six weeks after birth, with a second dose four to six weeks later. The repetition induces the immune system to create “memory cells,” which are antibody (Ig) producing cells that circulate in the blood and watch for more invaders. The memory cells can last for months or years. By giving periodic booster vaccinations, we refresh the population of memory cells, keeping the immune system primed to fight off those invaders.

The primary components of the immune system are the leukocytes, or “white blood cells”, manufactured in the bone marrow and released into the blood stream. Leukocytes come in many different varieties, but they are all designed to work together to identify foreign invaders and destroy them. The combined mass of cells of the immune system is about the same as the liver, making the leukocytes, as a group, one of the largest “organs” in the body.

A subtype of the leukocyte is the lymphocyte. Broadly speaking, there are two different classes of lymphocytes, the T-lymphocytes (T-cells) and B-lymphocytes (B-cells). The T-cells are involved in what are known as “cell mediated responses”: these respond to cells which have foreign bodies displayed on their surface and can eliminate virus-infected and cancerous cells. T-cells can also respond to chemical signals to activate and search for invading bacteria. The B-cells are involved in the production, presentation, and retention of antibodies.

Immunoglobulins are the primary tools of the B-cells. Specialized B-cells wander the body looking for cells or particles that are foreign. Finding an invader is only the first step. The rest of the immune system must be notified and mobilized. Almost any large molecule (protein, carbohydrate, fat) can induce an immune response. These molecules are known as antigens, which stands for “antibody generators”, and a single bacterium or virus may be covered by thousands of them. The antigens are chopped up into small pieces, and those pieces are then presented to the antibody-producing cells.

Every day the body produces millions of different antibody-producing cells in the bone marrow. Each of these cells produces a different, unique antibody. The end-tips of the antibodies have what is known as a “variable region” that is different for every antibody and forms a unique three-dimensional shape. If that antibody finds an antigen that has the mirror inverse of the shape at the variable-tip, then the antibody and antigen will bind to on another like a key fitting into a lock. When that happens the B-cell that makes that particular antibody knows it has a “winner” and starts to mass-produce that antibody. An invader coated in antibodies can be easily identified and eliminated. The antibodies coating the surface of invading bacteria or virus often have an additional effect of preventing them from attacking the body or reproducing, speeding their elimination. A single infectious organism can trigger the production of dozens or even hundreds of different antibodies against it, as there will be lots of different “fits” — since each organism has many different antigens on its surface. These first antibodies vary in their efficiency for targeting the foreign invader, but as time goes on the response will “mature” as the immune system adapts and produces antibodies better able to target the invading antigens.

Vaccines are mixtures of antigens that can activate the immune system without causing an infection. One common tool for making a vaccine is to use heat-killed bacteria or viruses. The immune system is thus presented with the shell of the invader, and can start producing antibodies against those antigens.

Because we are exposed to millions of different antigens, the immune system has a method to distinguish occasional threats from persistent threats. If it wasted all its efforts mass-producing antibodies against infections you will never experience again, it could not be ready for the more dangerous diseases. For this reason there are memory cells. When an infection runs for a long time, or if a creature gets infected by the same disease again and again, some of the best antibody-producing cells will convert into memory cells. These are antibody-producing cells that are effectively in storage. They drift through the bloodstream, often for years, waiting and watching for the invader for which they optimized to reappear. If that invader comes back, the memory cell immediately kicks into gear: it makes thousands of copies of itself, starts cranking out antibodies, and mobilizes the rest of the immune system against the attacker. This speeds the response time of the immune system from weeks to days, or even hours.

Vaccinations are typically given in two doses four to six weeks apart because this is the best method to activate the immune system (first dose), and then cause a maturation of the response and the production of memory cells (second dose). Booster shots cause the memory cells to activate and reproduce, increasing their numbers in the bloodstream. This is necessary because the memory cells do eventually die, so without periodic boosters the immunity would gradually fade. For most human vaccines we know how long the memory cells against various antigens last, and thus doctors prescribe different periods for booster shots (3 years, 10 years, etc.). In camelids, the lifespan of the memory cells is not known, but as the common vaccines are known to only provide about 12 months of protection in cattle and sheep it is recommended that booster shots be given at least once and preferably twice per year to ensure protection.

If you ever give a new type of vaccine (such as switching from 5 in 1 to 10 in 1) you need to give the two doses, about six weeks apart, to trigger the production of the memory cells.

Recommendations for vaccinations:

  1. Many different vaccines are available.
  2. Ask your vet about what is best for you.

Newborn cria

  • 1 ml of vaccine at 6 weeks, subcutaneous injection
  • 1 ml of vaccine at 10-12 weeks, subcutaneous injection

Adults

  • 2 ml of vaccine every 6-12 months, subcutaneous injection

Adult animals should be given a booster shot every 6 to 12 months. Once a year may be enough, twice a year provides additional security. Most animals in NZ need some selenium supplementation, and the vaccine is a good time to do so. Selenated vaccines should not be given to newborn animals, as it can result in a selenium overdose. If you are unsure of the selenium levels in local feed, consult your vet.

Adult animals can be switched from one vaccine to another (for example from 5 in 1 to 10 in 1). If switching over, remember to give 2 injections about 6 weeks apart to induce the formation of memory cells, after which 1-2 boosters per year should be given.

Ruminant Protein

Feeding Ruminant Protein to Ruminants is Banned

Biosecurity invited the NZ Llama Assn. to be part of its Ruminant Protein awareness programme. They asked to include our logo on the information that they produce, and also that we make our members aware of the programme and requirements of the Regulations.

The Biosecurity (Ruminant Protein) Regulations, 1999 aim to preserve New Zealand’s BSE-free status and manage the risk of a BSE outbreak.  The regulations prohibit the feeding of ruminant protein (except dairy produce) in any form to ruminant animals.  The purpose of this feed ban is to minimize the risk of contamination by ruminant protein, of feed intended for ruminants in feed mills that also produce feed for non-ruminant animals.

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) is a disease of cattle. The disease spreads when cud-chewing animals like cattle, sheep, goat, deer, llamas and alpacas consume feed derived from BSE-infected cattle. It takes less than one gram (the size of a peppercorn) of brain tissue from a BSE-infected animal to cause an infection. Therefore you must not feed cud-chewing animals anything that contains ruminant protein such as meat-and-bone-meal (MBM), blood meal, blood-and-bone meal and bone meal. Dairy produce is excluded from the definition of ruminant protein.

To ensure BSE doesn’t infect New Zealand ruminants, feed and fertiliser must be labelled correctly and conform to the requirements set out in the Biosecurity (Ruminant Protein) Regulations 1999.

The labelling requirements apply to anyone who produces, sells, or distributes feed or ruminant protein containing fertiliser.

The Regulations define feed as any food for animals produced in premises where ruminant protein is produced, rendered, or utilised.

Obligation to label Feed

All feed that contains ruminant protein must display the following label on the front of the feed bag.

Notice: Not to be fed to sheep, cattle, deer, alpacas, goats, or other ruminant animals

Feed that does not contain ruminant protein must display one of the following notices on the feed bag.

Notice: Suitable for feeding to (insert ruminant species or type)

Notice: Suitable for inclusion in feed intended for ruminant animals

There can be no variation to the words or phrases on the label.

For more information about BSE, go to http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/tse

Shearing Llamas

The Importance of Shearing

%%wppa%% %%cover=1%%
NZLA recently received an e-mail concerning some unshorn llamas –

We recently acquired 3 geldings all around 6 years old, they are lovely animals as well as extremely curious. The previous owner told us that the llamas have never had a haircut, the people were of the opinion that llamas in the wild never get shorn and therefore left it that way. Now that it is getting warmer, these boys need to be shorn, but we are finding it hard to find someone who can do the job. I have contacted the family where we got them from and also phoned the local vets, plus alpaca breeders but they can’t give me a name of a person that (still) does that job. We were wondering, if you know a good person who can shear our llamas?

Shun Oishi (See Shun of Facebook) was recommended as he must be one of the most experienced llama shearers in the country, travelling the length of NZ, and he works with great humour and in a professional manner.

This is a wake-up call to all breeders and sellers of llamas, just how important it is to emphasize to new owners about the need for regular shearing. Our lush pastures can grow fibre fast, and temperatures here can be very warm, so it’s necessary to have a plan of action as Summer approaches. If you are selling, the new owners need the right advice to start with. Llamas are not wild animals, they are domesticated, and we are responsible for putting that fibre on the llama, so we are responsible for getting it off. Anyone who has been around a while knows that it has not been easy to find a llama shearer and many have had to resort to doing it themselves, even if that means with a pair of kitchen scissors. If you have been lucky enough to find a good reliable llama shearer please pass that information on, not only to the new owner but also to NZLA, information sharing is vital in our small community.

Why do we shear?

For the welfare and comfort of the animal, and to harvest usable fibre. Many llamas can go two years without a shear but it depends on growth rate of the fibre, and fibre type. A heavy single coat llama would probably need shearing every year, whereas a medium woolled one might only need a barrel cut one year and a full shear the next. A ccara classic llama, if brushed regularly, may never need to be shorn. Regular brushing removes the undercoat soft fibre, leaving behind the coarser guard hair. Store what you brush out and you have soft fibre with very little guard hair, excellent for spinning.

Tips and Tricks

  • It is preferable to leave some fibre on the animal to avoid shock from a sudden cold spell, or sunburn.
  • Shear from late October to late December so that they are comfortable for the hot Summer months, also the fibre has enough time to grow, giving a good covering for the colder months ahead.
  • If being used during winter it may be necessary to do a long length barrel cut for working pack llamas. Leave around 4” on the animal, this helps with doing up cinches and avoiding getting fibre caught in them as they are tightened. Perhaps do this shear towards end of summer so as they can acclimatize and also have time for a bit more growth before the real cold sets in.
  • All of this will also depend on where you live for the climate – top of the north is very different from the bottom of the south.

ALWAYS be guided by what is best for your llama and not what you think looks stylish or cute.

Tuberculosis

Camelids are susceptible to this disease. Although cases are relatively rare and transmission from one animal to another has not been documented, nevertheless Tb is a serious issue that you should educate yourself on. The disease is regarded as a threat  primarily because it is possible for humans to become infected with bovine Tb. The Animal Health Board scheme is voluntary for camelids but all owners are encouraged to take part.

The AHB’s campaign to eradicate bovine Tb from New Zealand works on two fronts – disease control and vector control.

Disease control aims to control and contain the spread of the disease within farmed animals, while vector control aims to control and contain the wild animal species mostly responsible for spreading the disease. The possum is recognised as the main cause of Tb infection in cattle and deer herds. Observations show, that when infected, sick possums appear during daytime, they attract the attention of inquisitive animals. This allows Tb to pass through respiratory infection. The control of possums is doubly important. Not only will reduced possum numbers reduce the likelihood of interaction between farm stock and infected possums, but it will also mean the collapse of the disease in the wild in those areas where possum numbers are kept at very low levels.

What should you do?

  1. Establish what type of Movement Control area you are in and the rules related to your area.
  2. To join the voluntary scheme phone Agriquality 0508 00 11 22
  3. Control possums and other pests on your property.
  4. If you plan to show, plan to Tb test.
  5. Request llamas entering your herd be tested before they arrive
    or isolate until tested.

For more information on Tb 0800 4 TB INFO (0800 4 824 636)

To educate yourself about Tb, visit the Animal Health Board website and view pages on

  • National Pest Management Strategy
  • Animal Status Declaration Forms
  • Herd Status
  • Infected Herd Information
  • Movement control
  • Tb testing
  • Farmer’s Responsibility Code
  • Understanding Tb control
  • Tb Control Basics
  • Declared Movement Area Map
  • Vector Control Programmes

Science, Worms and Poo

By Stephen Mulholland, Ph.D.

I was asked to write up the talk I gave at the AGM in May 2009. This is my attempt to do so. In written form you will miss my tangential interludes, wild gesticulation, and occasional sound-effects. You will have to ask the people who attended the AGM if that is better or not.

What is Ringworm?

(Dermatophytosis) Two dermatophytes have been isolated from llamas. Trichophyton verrucosum is the common cause of ringworm and T. mentagrophytes var. mentagrophytes. These are fungi that grow in the hair and hair follicle. Not an actual worm or parasite. Diagnosis: Your vet can confirm diagnosis with a culture or a microscopic exam. Spread: By direct and indirect contact. Skin and hair that falls off while infected may remain viable for years attached to barn walls, fence posts, trees, feed dishes, halters and brushes. Ringworm. Article by Julie Insley (PDF)

Veterinarian Services

We intend to build up a database of veterinarians throughout New Zealand who have an interest in treating camelids.

NORTH ISLAND

  • Roger Barnard BVSc, MRCVS, Kerikeri Veterinary Clinic, 153 Kerikeri Road, Kerikeri, Bay of Islands 09 4077 199. kerivet@igrin.co.nz
  • Brian Cook BVSc, Mark Anderson MVSc, Helensville Veterinary Service, Ph 09 420 8325

SOUTH ISLAND

  • Justin Muschamp, Jill McGowan, Nick Rive, Lisa Stuart, Claire Hunter, Kristen Willis, Vetco Edendale, 14 Sweeney St, PO Box 9, Edendale, Ph 03 206 6170, Fax 03 206 6171
  • Monique Koning, Mobile Vetcare Ltd, mobile: 022 4 838 007, phone: 03 3180 868, email: mmgkoning@gmail.com
  • Barbara Christensen, Clutha Vets Milton Clinic, Ph 03 417 8032, or Combined Veterinary Services, Gore, Ph 03 208 0140
  • Kasia Chapman-Labecka, Vet Life Ashburton, Ph 03 308 5095, Fax 03 308 2452
  • Darfield Vet Centre, 48 South Terrace, PO Box 9, DARFIELD: Vets are Simon Hewitt, Anita Breyholtz, Chris McFarlane, Ph 03 318 8611 Fax 03 318 8722, Email darfieldvetfrontdesk@paradise.net.nz, www.darfieldvetcentre.co.nz
  • Dr Justene Tedder, Canterbury Vets, 363 West St Ashburton, 03 307 0686, canvets.doc@xtra.co.nz
  • Don Alexander, Spencer Alexander & Swney, 11 Edinburgh Street, Pukekohe, 09 238 6897 and 17 Kitchener Road, Waiuku, 09 235 9217
  • Dave Martin, Rangiora Veterinary Centre, Taylor, Martin & Davidson, 55 Kippenberger Avenue, Rangiora, 03 313 7438
  • Mana Stratton BVSc BPhil BSc COP, 03 543 2259

Llama Shearers

  • Small Farm Services Ltd, Murray Cranswick @ Kirsty Caro, P.O. Box 8772 Havelock North, 06 8797883, 0274 416 697, info@smallfarmservices.co.nz
  • Ron & Kath Gallagher, Catlins, 03 4158 176, 0274 365 008, kathron@value.net.nz
  • Shun Oishi, Rangiora, shun0014@hotmail.com, Phone 03 310 2131, Cell 021 0293 1781. Will travel North and South Island
  • Mesa Land, Kaikohe, PH 09 4059715