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105 Posts

Posted - 06/21/2009 :  07:55:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit Val's Homepage  Send Val a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote

Ok so we know that tapeworm is horrible looking. But.... now there have been documented alpaca deaths due to tapeworm. I am now hearing from 2 respected veterinarians and (one that is in print)that safequard will treat and kill the parasite. However in our area there was a death of a 8 month old cria, who had been treated with safeguard,and upon necropsy the death was deemed due to tapeworm infestation.
Our veterinarian has always recomended praziqantel(found in products like Equimax) for the treatment of tapeworm. A second dose is recomended between 7-10 days later.

So this is my concern, if there are "respected Vets" saying that safeguard works, and alpacas are dying...
do we have resistant tapeworms cropping up? Also is the safeguard just killing one stage of the parasite?
I believe this is important, as we are now hearing about alpaca deaths from tapeworm.
I know to all I have contact with I always recomend using Equimax, as I have been told by our Camelid vets that safeguard is not effective against tapes.
I would love to hear the opinions... and any documentation there may be out there.
Thanks so much
Val Newell
Crown Point Alpaca Farm


1291 Posts

Posted - 06/21/2009 :  08:37:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit highpeaksalpacas's Homepage  Reply with Quote
My opinion is I will use nothing BUT Equimax. I have used it quite a few times on all ages of animals and it has worked, and worked completely effectively each time after one dose.

Just used it yesterday on a female LOADED with tape..and the results were evident in the poop pile already this morning...we do our own fecals and certainly recheck to see if retreatment is far, it has not been.

You will get different opinions from different breeders...which is what this forum is all about.


High Peaks Alpacas
Wilmington, NY

You only live with alpacas!
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769 Posts

Posted - 06/21/2009 :  08:40:54 AM  Show Profile  Visit kipaca's Homepage  Reply with Quote

What is the Equimax dose??


Laila V Roukounakis
Graceland Alpaca Farm
Lisbon Falls, Maine
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Ice Pond Farm

254 Posts

Posted - 06/21/2009 :  08:57:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit Ice Pond Farm's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I agree with Debbie. Safeguard CAN be useful against tapeworms when used at higher doses, but praziquantel is much more effective and less expensive as it is only a one time dose. I'd rather save the Safeguard for use against other parasites.

We dose at two times the labeled horse dose if using Equimax, and three times the labeled horse dose if using Zimectrin Gold. This results in a dosage of 3mg/kg of the active ingredient. The two products have different dosages because they have different concentrations of praziquantel.

We have not observed the post-treatment "ball of worms", but have only treated a couple of animals. Both animals were unthrifty before the treatment and we had seen them pass very long tapeworm segments in their feces. Large weight gains and improved attitude were apparent within weeks of the treatment.

Ice Pond Farm
Fiskeville, RI
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2830 Posts

Posted - 06/21/2009 :  10:09:30 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Where do you get Equimax, and do you need a prescription? What is the dosage in cc ?

Christiane Rudolf
Tanglewood Farm
19741 Victory Lane
Fayetteville, Ohio 45118
(513) 875-3739
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232 Posts

Posted - 06/21/2009 :  11:12:35 AM  Show Profile  Visit naturlvr's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'm just curious . . . I've heard/read from several people that dosing with Equimax usually yields a large unloading of parasites the next day. It would seem to me more aggressive/effective than Safeguard; however, does that type of system purge have an effect on an already immune compromised animal? I've never had issues with high tape loads and when seen tape in beans in the past treated with Panacur. I guess my concern is that if you have an animal that is compromised already due to high parasite load, or another issue on top of that, wouldn't this type of aggressive purge be detrimental to them in some way? Am I just taking this to the "nth degree" and it really isn't that aggressive systematically? Or are you guys supplementing with probiotics or something else to help boost the animal after the purge?

Jennifer Caldwell-Jeans & Matt Jeans
Puckerbrush Alpacas, LLC
Milton, Maine
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1193 Posts

Posted - 06/21/2009 :  11:13:03 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Just a note about the concept of drug resistance. It is never an all or nothing thing. Even the most powerful and effective antibiotics are reported as being in the 95% to 99% effective range (meaning 1% to 5% of targeted bacteria are resistant to those drugs).

Further, there will be variances to local bug's resistance to any drug. This is due to many factors; new strains of pathogens that have arisen spontaneously, larger populations of resistance organisms due to previous drug treatment in a given area, etc.

We use safeguard for tapeworm routinely. It has so far always worked. If however I noticed I was having to use it longer, or at higher dosage I would probably switch to another agent (all other factors being equal).

My 2 cents,


A Paca Fun Farm
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Ice Pond Farm

254 Posts

Posted - 06/21/2009 :  10:29:09 PM  Show Profile  Visit Ice Pond Farm's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Christiane, Equimax is non-prescription and is commonly found at feed & supply stores. At 3mg/kg (two times the horse dose of 1.5mg/kg) that works out to 1cc of Equimax paste per 100 pounds of alpaca.**

That is a pretty low volume of paste. Our vet is concerned that there may be an uneven distribution of the active ingredient in the tube of paste (not just Equimax but any time we use less than a full tube of any medication), so he recommends that the paste be thoroughly mixed prior to measuring the dose.

**assumes that 1cc of paste ~= 1 gram
Equimax is a 14.03% solution of praziquantel

(3mg pr./kg) x (1g paste/140.3mg pr.) x (1kg/2.2lb) x (1cc/1g) = 0.0097cc/lb >>> 0.97cc/100 lbs


I am not qualified to speculate (much) on the aggressive/effective issue. I guess that could be a concern with any type of illness relative to the medication. Praziquantel does have a short half-life in mammals, so there is the advantage of having medicine in their systems for less time when compared to a multiple dose course of Safeguard/Panacur. There is also the advantage of less handling stress.

Our "rescue" boy went through two rounds of Safeguard at 30mg/kg to effectively treat strongyles and trichuris, but that apparently had no effect on the tapeworms. All together, the poor little guy went through the two courses of Safeguard, Albon and Corid, AD&E paste, and then the Equimax. He must have been thinking: "This new place stinks. I'm quarantined, mom isn't here, and they are forever squirting nasty stuff in my mouth!" But he has come along nicely (on our junior herdsire listing).

Ice Pond Farm
Fiskeville, RI
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478 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2009 :  10:10:57 AM  Show Profile  Send rachshees an AOL message  Reply with Quote
We use Safeguard and we give Safeguard three days and then on the tenth day to treat for tape worms and it works.

Rachel Wingert
Rainbow Mountain Alpacas
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701 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2009 :  6:42:19 PM  Show Profile  Visit vintagealpacas's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Ok - this might sound stupid but how would I know if my animals had a tape worm? I have been wondering this for a very long time. No one has ever been very sick at my farm, and many of my animals are a bit on the heavier side. I cut back on feeding because I thought they were a bit "over conditioned". Since my farm is basically in the "city" I don't treat for anything (including M-worm). Sometimes I do corid in the water - about twice a year - but that's basically the extent of the medicating that goes on here. Tape worm sounds gross, and I don't want to be missing something that could be deadly.

Kim Rassi
Vintage Alpacas

Kimberly Rassi
Vintage Alpacas
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3204 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2009 :  7:35:05 PM  Show Profile  Visit jillmcm's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Tapeworm segments may be found in a routine fecal, or you may see them when scooping poop - they are short, white (or tan) noodley looking things in and around the poop.

Being in the city doesn't mean you're not at risk for m-worm, depending on which city and your particular neighborhood. I had many, many more deer in my backyard when I lived just outside Philly than I ever see here in Maine.

Jill McElderry-Maxwell
Bag End Suri Alpacas of Maine - ¡BESAME!
Benton, ME
(207) 453-0109
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922 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2009 :  7:38:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit Paradise's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Basically, you see the tapeworm segments in the poop. They look like white rice or longer. You can also often see the eggs in the fecals; they are a very distinctive diamond shape. In general, they are not an issue in an otherwise healthy adult alpaca, but can cause more problems in the very young, very old, or otherwise compromised animal. Generally, an animal with a large infestation would be thin, so unless you see them in cria poop, I wouldn't worry. As with any parasite, you shouldn't treat unless you need to.

Laura Hillman
Paradise Alpacas
Hempstead, TX
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