Current thoughts on camelid gastrointestinal parasites (Proceedings)


Current thoughts on camelid gastrointestinal parasites (Proceedings)

Aug 01, 2011

Gastrointestinal parasites of camelids

There are several classes of gastrointestinal parasites which affect camelids to varying degrees. The intestinal nematodes affecting North American camelids include Trichostrongyle spp., Nematodirus spp., Haemonchus spp., Ostertagia spp., Trichuris spp. and Capillaria spp. The cestode, Monezia spp., may also be of some clinical significance. Protozoal concerns include Eimeria spp., Cryposporidium parvum and Giardia 1 spp. Trematodes have also been shown to cause clinical disease in the biliary system of camelids, including Fasciola spp. and Dicrocoelium dendriticum. This document will focus on the control of gastrointestinal nematodes and coccidia of camelids.

Disease syndromes

Parasite infestations in camelid herds frequently cause insidious disease and go unrecognized until an individual animal succumbs to the disease. For this reason, cases of severe parasitism in an individual should lead to a herd investigation of prevalence and management techniques.

Clinical signs of parasitism may include weight loss, lethargy, ill-thrift, pale mucous membranes, edema, poor lactation and poor growth. Late gestation and lactating females may experience pregnancy toxemia and hepatic lipidosis secondary to a negative energy balance compounded by parasitism. Hypoproteinemia and anemia are hallmarks of Haemonchus infestation, but may be present with other parasites. Additionally, E. macusaniensis has been associated with colic, enterotoxemia5 and circulatory shock6 in alpacas and coccidia may be involved in the pathogenesis of intussusception. E. macusaniensis has been reported to have a 50% mortality rate in treated animals, with severe disease occurring during the prepatent period.

Because of the wide array of clinical syndromes associated with gastrointestinal parasitism, all ill camelids and death losses should have a parasitology examination performed.