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.