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 2. Alpaca Healthcare & Nutrition
 Feeding & Worming Questions
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GoPacas58

92 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2009 :  12:54:59 PM  Show Profile  Click to see GoPacas58's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Hi everybody,

I actually have two questions . . .

First off . . . I have officially switched my alpacas from Mazuri llama chews to Dr. Evans alpaca feed. With the Mazuri llama chews, I was feeding each alpaca 1/4 cup in the morning (this was the amount that the person we bought them from told us to do). Then, when they started developing a zinc deficiency, we fed them each 1/4 cup twice a day. We have kept this same amount with the new feed, but I'm looking for suggestions. Anybody have any recommendations on how much to feed - they are one-and-a-half years old males (all but one will probably be gelded) on a diet of this feed and unlimited prairie hay, without pasture (darn)and with a history of zinc deficiency.

Second off . . . sometime in the next week, I need to worm (using safeguard). Also, one of my alpacas is still fighting mites (possibly). We were using vicks and the mites were practically all cleared up, so we stopped using vicks and then it all went to pot and we're now back at square one. So . . . we have decided to give him the weekly shots of ivomec. My question is . . . do we still worm him with safeguard as well, or do we just assume that the ivomec will take care of both worms and mites?
(Oh... also, what's the difference in ivomec and ivermectin? Are they the same thing?)

Thanks for any help you can give me!!!

Megan
Nebraska

APacaFunFarm

1193 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2009 :  1:43:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Megan,

Without knowing the relative amounts of zinc in the two products it's impossible to compare the two. Having said that, Evan's formula (which we use as well) contains zinc. Our black alpacas no longer had hair loss (which I assumed to be a manifestation of zinc deficiency) after we started on Evan's blend.

Ivomec and Ivermectin are the same thing (brand name and generic name). This is the appropriate treatment for one form of mites, and is also a commonly used wormer. If you are using Ivomec at 1cc per 60-100 lbs body weight you should be able to "kill two birds with one stone" so to speak.

That said, why are you worming at all? I use Ivomec routinely on a monthly basis because of the risk of M-worm in Maryland. If I didn't have this risk I would not routinely worm. Normally the best way to think about worming would be to get periodic fecal tests and worm only when necessary. After treatment another fecal is obtained to see if the worming medication was effective. This would be particularly important with Ivomec given it's use as a routine wormer in the Eastern USA over the past couple of decades, and the possibility of resistance to this drug.

Hope that helps,

Neil


A Paca Fun Farm
Dickerson,MD
www.apacafunfarm.com
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jillmcm

3204 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2009 :  2:32:21 PM  Show Profile  Visit jillmcm's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I would also consider offering free choice minerals such as Stillwater, rather than increasing their pelleted feed. That way they can better self-regulate their intake of minerals. Free choice minerals should be part of almost any alpaca husbandry plan.

Ivomec in alpacas is typically only used against meningeal worm, an aberrant brain parasite in alpacas. Meningeal worm has been in deer in eastern Nebraska since the mid-1990s. Only extreme western Nebraska is likely to still be free of this parasite. If you're on dry lot, then it's probably not an issue for you, regardless. So monthly ivomec shots are probably not necessary for you.

For gut parasites and more typical worms in alpacas, safeguard is one of the drugs of choice. However, which drug, which dosage and what duration is all dependent on which species of worm you are trying to kill. Do not worm routinely, but only if fecal examination indicates a need. Then your vet can give you specific treatment recommendations based on the types of parasites found.

As far as the mites go, read the article in the latest herdsire issue of Alpacas magazine for tips on identification and treatment of the various types.

Jill McElderry-Maxwell
Bag End Suri Alpacas of Maine - ¡BESAME!
Benton, ME
(207) 453-0109
bagendsuris@roadrunner.com
http://www.alpacanation.com/bagendsuri.asp
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GoPacas58

92 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2009 :  4:20:20 PM  Show Profile  Click to see GoPacas58's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Thank you both for your help!

Neil,
The Mazuri llama chews had only 500 ppm of zinc, whereas the Dr Evans has 1075 ppm. So, hopefully, the zinc deficiencies are over. I just don't know how much feed they need to meet all of their other nutritional requirements. The recommended amount on the tag seems so overboard - I'm convinced they're just trying to sell more feed.
Also . . . you asked why we're even worming in the first place. Um . . . I wish I could give you a good answer for that. Actually, the only reason we worm is because the guy we got our alpacas from told us to. He told us to worm every three months, alternating between safeguard and ivomec to prevent resistance. I did sort of wonder if worming was really necessary, since we never worm our goats and have never had any problems, but I guess I just took this guys word that it was necessary. He acted like the worms were practically impossible to get rid of once they were a major problem, so he said that it was better to be ulta-preventative. Time to rethink that, I guess.

Jill,
Thanks for the input. What's really ironic is that the guy I got my alpacas from lived in far, far, far western nebraska and acted like it was so critical to worm them when, as you pointed out, m worm is only a problem in eastern nebraska. I live in centralish nebraska, so the risk is probably somewhat sort of there, but like you said, they're on dry lot, so it shouldn't matter anyhow. (But I do pull them some grass to munch on every now and then, so I don't know if that increases the risk too . . . .)

The vet here seems to like to gouge us with his prices . . . so would anyone like to share what it costs to have a fecal done? I'd like to know ahead of time if he's out of line.

Thanks!

Megan
Nebraska
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jillmcm

3204 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2009 :  4:46:12 PM  Show Profile  Visit jillmcm's Homepage  Reply with Quote
My vet charges $20 for an alpaca specific fecal (I don't think his others are a different price, I just like knowing that the fecal is tailored for alpacas). Unless there are signs indicating otherwise, what I usually do is pooled fecals once a quarter - usually one from each group of alpacas. I grab a bit of beans from all of the various fresh piles of poop in one pen, then smoosh them together in the baggie before submitting for the fecal. If there is a high count, then I may take individual fecals. But thankfully, I usually have No Significant Findings, so the pooled samples have been working for me.

One important exception is animals coming on to the farm or back from a show, etc. - then I take individual fecals. Incoming animals are quarantined for two weeks, so I usually take a couple of fecals while they're in quarantine.

Yes, it gets expensive, but it's a necessary expense. Eventually I would like to do my own, but that's not high on the priority list yet.

Jill McElderry-Maxwell
Bag End Suri Alpacas of Maine - ¡BESAME!
Benton, ME
(207) 453-0109
bagendsuris@roadrunner.com
http://www.alpacanation.com/bagendsuri.asp
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nyala

3320 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2009 :  5:49:02 PM  Show Profile  Visit nyala's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi,

Not to contradict a fellow farmer but by worming like that (alternating safeguard and ivermectin) you likely will develop resistance for both in parasites. The sheep community where we live after years of routine preventative worming pretty much has rendered both ivermectin and safeguard useless for strongyles. They are now switching to weekly assessments using the Famacha technique (which sadly does not work so well on alpacas) and worming only those sheep who need it. The goats you have may be very robust to parasites as many sheep and goat folks cull animals that are susceptible and some breeds have become very very hardy. This may not be the case for your alpacas though. Fecal checks and then worming when needed might work better in the long run.

cheers!

Ann




D. Andrew Merriwether, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Biology, Binghamton University
and
Ann and Andy Merriwether
Nyala Farm Alpacas,Vestal, NY
www.alpacanation.com/nyalafarm.asp
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APacaFunFarm

1193 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2009 :  6:33:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I will contradict a fellow farmer. Ann is exactly right. Rotating wormers and using them routinely is exactly how you would cause resistance to both wormers.

If you are going routinely use a wormer for M-worm, pick one and stick with it. That wormer will produce resistance in the general worm population, but not the M-worm population (because alpacas are an aberrant host for M-worm.

Continued best regards,

Neil

A Paca Fun Farm
Dickerson,MD
www.apacafunfarm.com
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GoPacas58

92 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2009 :  8:30:22 PM  Show Profile  Click to see GoPacas58's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Wow! This has been a very educational day for me! Thank you guys so much for pointing this out. I really had no clue rotating wormers could actually increase the risk of resistance - can anyone explain how?

Megan
Nebraska
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APacaFunFarm

1193 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2009 :  9:03:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by GoPacas58

Wow! This has been a very educational day for me! Thank you guys so much for pointing this out. I really had no clue rotating wormers could actually increase the risk of resistance - can anyone explain how?
Megan



Using an antibiotic, antihelmenthic (wormer) or other drug designed to kill a class of organisms is never 100% successful. Used repeatedly drugs like these will only wind up producing a population of organisms that are resistant to any given drug.

No doubt the above is confusing. Here an example.

Let say an alpaca has an infection with a strep bacteria. Usually the alpaca's immune system handles routine infections, but this one gets out of hand (becomes greater than the immune system can easily handle). Giving an antibiotic aides the immune system, killing the vast majority of bacteria (say, all but 0.001%). The reduced population of bacteria can now be handled by the alpaca's immune system and the infection is controlled.

There is a price however. The remaining 0.001% of living strep bacteria survived because they were naturally more resistant than the 99.999% that were killed. If the alpaca suffers another infection with the same bacteria, the same antibiotic may only kill 90% of this resistant population. If a third infection occurs with these super selected bacteria, perhaps only 75% will be killed with a subsequent treatment. Eventually this antibiotic will be of no use against this population of bacteria...........and the giver of the antibiotic will have created this situation.

With M-worm the situation is similar. Because of the natural cycle of M-worm, it will never become resistant to any effective wormer (trust me on this, but the short reason is that if M-worm did become resistant it would eventually kill the alpaca and die anyway......hence, no resistant population is formed.)

You treat for M-worm every month. This treatment kills all the M-worm present (if any) AND kills almost all of gut worms.......the first time it's used. The next time it kills all the M-worm again, but less of the gut worms. and again, and again, and again.

Some practitioners have recommended that two wormer's be used to reduce the chance of resistance to both drugs. Hopefully you can see that if either drug is less than 100% effective, every time, the result will be the same. Using two drug will delay resistance, not prevent it.

A person using this strategy will produce worms that are resistant to two drugs because they have selected that worm population. Only the rare worm resistant to both drugs is still alive. All of its competition has been killed of by the two drugs and has plenty of room to reproduce like crazy.

Does that help?

Neil

A Paca Fun Farm
Dickerson,MD
www.apacafunfarm.com
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bobvicki

2960 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2009 :  01:40:52 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Megan,

Living in Iowa now and having started our alpaca venture in Nebraska I will tell you that increasing pellets or top dressing Stillwater Minerals in the way to go. Free choice minerals are not cheap and putting them out we found them to get mushy from the humidity or the first time an alpaca puts their wet face in them. Then they cake up and become hard and useless.

The vet we used never recommended worming for meningeal worm either.

Bob

Bob & Vicki Blodgett
Suri Land Alpaca Ranch
3288 Halter Avenue
Newton, Iowa 50208
641-831-3576
alpaca@iowatelecom.net
www.alpacanation.com/suriland.asp
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GoPacas58

92 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2009 :  2:25:04 PM  Show Profile  Click to see GoPacas58's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Neil,
Thanks for the great explanation. I think I get it now. Resistance is possible whether rotating or not - and rotating is just a little worse because they become resistant to two instead of one. Yeah?

Bob,
Thanks for the advice. The reason you gave is exactly why I've been so hesitant to get minerals all along - I'm hesitant to shell out huge bucks for something that they probably won't eat and will just get wasted anyway.
Also, thanks for the advice with m worm. I've decided that, when we purchased our alpacas and the guy told us to worm them every 3 months, it was simply because of gut worms. Otherwise, if he was trying to prevent/treat m worm, he probably would have suggested to do it every month, since that's what the majority of the other people I've talked to do.

So now I only have one question unanswered: To anyone out there who feeds Dr. Evans to nonbreeder males: How much?

Megan
Nebraska
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