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Preventing Clostridial Diseases in Alpacas

Updated: Apr 29


What is Clostridial Disease?

Clostridial diseases include Lamb Dysentery, Pulpy Kidney, Pasteurella/Pneumonia Braxy, Blackleg, Tetanus and Black Disease. They all derive from the Clostridium bacteria and can be prevented with vaccinations. They largely affect sheep, goats and cows, but are possible in alpacas.



Symptoms of Clostridial Disease in alpacas

Typical symptoms of Clostridial Disease include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, fatigue, decreased appetite, disinterest in movement, lack of appetite or even sudden death.



How to treat Clostridial Diseases in alpacas

There is no effective treatment for Clostridial Disease, so it must be prevented from occurring in the first instance.



How to prevent Clostridial Diseases in alpacas

To prevent Clostridial Diseases in alpacas vaccinations are usually recommended to be administered on an annual basis. Your vet will be able to advise on which vaccine is most suitable for your herd, as no medication is currently specifically licensed for use in alpacas in the UK. Do not vaccinate females within 1 month before giving birth as this has been known to cause abortion in alpacas.


For cria OPTION ONE If the dam was vaccinated within 4 to 8 weeks of birth, subcutaneously administer 2ml (for any weight of cria) of Heptavac-P OR 1ml (for any weight of cria) of Covexin-10. Then repeat the dose again with the SAME TYPE of vaccine 4 to 6 weeks after this. After that, they can fall into the annual routine with the rest of the herd.


For cria OPTION TWO

If the dam was not vaccinated within 8 weeks of birth, subcutaneously administer 2ml (for any weight of cria) of Lambivac subcutaneously to cria at 3 days old. Repeat this dose at 3 weeks old. Then at age 4 to 6 months, subcutaneously administer 2ml (for any weight of cria) of Heptavac-P OR 1ml (for any weight of cria) of Covexin-10. Then repeat the dose again 4 to 6 weeks after this. After this, they can fall into the annual routine with the rest of the herd. Lambivac vaccine is gentler on the young cria's immune system, as it has less clostridial strains that the other options. However, when they are old enough, it is best practice to administer one of the vaccines that offers more strains so they will be protected against a wider range of Clostridial diseases.


Adults not previously vaccinated:

For any alpaca that has not previously received clostridial injections (or you are unsure of their history), subcutaneously administer 2ml (for any weight of alpaca) of Heptavac-P OR 1ml (for any weight of alpaca) of Covexin-10. Then repeat the dose again with the SAME TYPE of vaccine 4 to 6 weeks later. After this, they can fall into the annual routine with the rest of the herd.


Adults in the vaccination programme:

After the initial course of vaccinations, alpacas can receive annual boosters, usually carried out in Springtime. You can go down in the number of strains (i.e the initial course administered was a 10 way vaccine such as Covexin-10 and you would now like to use a 7 way vaccine such as Heptavac-P) without needing to do another initial course. However, if you go up in the number of strains (i.e the initial course administered was a 3 or 7 way vaccine such as Lambivac or Heptavac-P and you would like to use a 10 way vaccine such as Bravoxin-10), an initial course of this higher strain vaccine must be administered for it to be effective (see the above 'Adults not previously vaccinated').



Disclaimer: Fostings Alpacas are not a veterinarian body. Always consult your vet when creating a health plan for your herd and before administering medication.


 

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