Friday, 18 September 2009

Immunoproblems in alpacas

....................... and bloodsamples

Photo: Bloodsamples taken of an alpaca suspected of FTT Bata4en - Vet - Lab. (micr. 10 x 40)

As a mentioned before: There are a lot of immunoproblems in alpacas. You can categorise them in three groups:

  1. IDS / Immunodeficiency syndrome
  2. FPT / Failure of Passive Transfer (see article IgG)
  3. FTT / Failure to Thrive

The last; FTT was new for me. But now I have such an animal in my own herd.

The symptoms. The cria is growing normally til the moment of weaning. After that period the cria will loose weight. Most owners think it is because of the weaning. IgG-levels are mostly in a normal range (above 800 mg/dl). Futher studies on bloodlevels give a very low rate of iron and an anemic animal (very low RBC / red blood cel count). When the IgG level is low the prognosis is almost infaust - or at least very bad...

Most of them (but not all) will have very low thyroxine levels in their blood.

It is often first noticed at an age of 6 months. The alpaca is staying behind in growth. It is recommended that a treatment is started immidiatly after diagnosed.


Ironinjections / every 7 - 10 days.

T4 - supplement (orally) hormons

Hyperimmuneplasma should be administred

Multivitamins and selenium in feeding


Prognose 30 - 40% of the animals will die. It seems to be NON - hereditary! Females who will recover have normal crias.

We can test your animals within several minutes for their IgG Hematocriet and T4 levels. Let us know when you expect such a problem... You can also ask your vet to contact us.

Many greetings and a nice day to you,


Mail the alpaca-vet


  1. Do you think weaning stress makes things worse with this condition? We choose to leave our crias in rather than taking them out at 6mths. We remove any males with a studly attitude of course. But the girls stay in the herd and the mums always wean them themselves.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. We had some mothers who were still weaning till they had another cria. You can get a very bad health situation for the mother. Too little reserve for the new cria / producing less milk / or "give herself away".
    I recommend always to wean at 30 kg or at 6 months of age. You have to be certain that mother and cria cannot hear or see each other. Otherwise the weaning gives more stress then necessary. The IgG level is not changed by the weaning process. Higher levels, only gives them more "guns" to fight an infection.
    Many greetings and thanks for your comment...


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