Faecal Worm Egg Counts For Alpacas

Faecal Worm Egg Counts For Alpacas

Graham Duncanson, BVSc, MSc(VetGP), DProf, FRCVS, recently wrote an article for Veterinary Practice, which included top tips for your first alpaca consult.

It’s a great article and covers many aspects of caring for alpacas. Interestingly, part of the article covers worming and that the SCOPS principles (Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep – anthelmintic resistance) also apply to alpacas. Faecal worm egg counts are very important to monitor the stock and it has been stressed to alpaca owners that individual samples should be provided, rather than random mixed samples.


Post-treatment FECs are useful to look for resistance but there is one very dangerous worm for alpacas which can cause death before the adults start to lay eggs, the barbers-pole worm, Haemonchus contortus. In this case, faecal worm egg counts will be misleading; however, looking at gum colour is very helpful as white gums indicate severe anaemia which is likely to be caused by Haemonchus.


Alpacas are affected by liver fluke Fasciola hepatica, normally chronic in cattle; Coccidia (especially Emeria Maculensis) affects young alpacas and as for mange, Chorioptes spp, well that’s the most common mange mite to affect alpacas.


The most inexpensive and accurate method of faeces examination for internal parasite eggs uses a special faecal flotation solution made up to a Specific Gravity of 1.27. This is a very important specification to ensure the oocysts of Emeria Maculensis are detected. The best flotation solutions are made from either Sodium Nitrate or Zinc Sulphate. Vetlab’s bespoke ready-made faecal flotation solutions will save you time, hassle and mess, ensuring that you have the exact specific gravity for your particular needs. Remember that different parasites require solutions of different specific gravity to ensure you get the right results! Vetlab Supplies also supply Ovatube (parasite detection), Microscopes and a large range of Veterinary Consumables.


Graham Duncanson clearly knows his alpacas and has written a book that’s a must purchase for any llama or alpaca owners and practitioners. Titled; Veterinary Treatments of Llamas and Alpacas, which is focused on animals in the UK.

Finally, never forgetting that alpacas can contract bovine tuberculosis…Graham’s final piece of advice is: never kiss an alpaca!

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or Telephone: 01798 874567

Neospora – Countryfile

Neospora – Countryfile

BBC Countryfile – Neospora

“Well… Don’t you just love Countryfile” It’s a must watch for me on a Sunday evening!

One of the February episodes I watched with great interest as the Adam’s Farm feature was titled Adam’s microscopic nightmare. What’s this I thought?

The microscopic menace quietly infecting livestock is called Neospora and is the most common cause of bovine abortion in the UK. Identified in the 1980’s and recognised as a parasite, this disease now costs the UK an estimated 20 million pounds a year.

The feature explains that there are no obvious symptoms for an infected cow, but looks can be deceiving as Adam Henson found out. In Adam’s case, 11 of his cows were infected and had to be sent for slaughter.

The Neospora parasite is passed from cows to their calves or spread by dog faeces, but it’s so tiny that you need a microscope to see it. In cattle, the characteristics of the disease are abortions in all stages of gestation, dead births and weak calves.

Source: BBC Countryfile – 16.02.1014

We are the exclusive UK distributors for MegaCor Diagnostik (FASTest) kits and one of their new test kits is for the detection of anti-Neospora caninum antibodies in whole blood, plasma or serum in dogs and cattle. The test is an immunochromatographic (lateral flow) technique.

The test comes in boxes of 10 tests and is non-refrigerated so has a long shelf life of up to 24 months. The test procedure is simple and the results are ready in 15 minutes. If you have cattle, talk to your vet about Neospora testing and ask about our FASTest Neoporsa diagnostic test kit.

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or Telephone: 01798 874567


A Fishy Tale!

A Fishy Tale!

Koi selectively bred for colours, pattern and body shape

Amazing! “Would you believe that Koi carp can sell for up to £10,000 and the oldest Koi on record lived for 200 years! Typically growing up to three feet long…that’s big business!”

Over the years Koi have been selectively bred for colours, pattern and body shape and not necessarily for resistance to bacteria, parasites and viruses.

Koi are more fragile than you think

Many people think that koi are the same as carp and therefore extremely hardy. And while it is true that koi are technically carp, they are distant cousins to the wild fish you see in lakes. Because of the selective breeding process used, Koi have lost much of that wild hardiness and they are more fragile than you might think.

One of the most common diseases in koi is called Cyprinid herpesvirus 3, also known as Koi herpesvirus (KHV) belonging to the family of Alloherpesviridae.  It is spread world-wide, mainly by intensive international fish trading, and strains from different countries were shown to have high similarities. The virus causes a highly contagious and acute viraemia in common carp (Cyprinus carpio) and its variant, the Koi carp (C. c. koi). This devastating virus disease may result in mortality rates between 70 and 100 %. Interestingly, the disease is temperature dependent, mostly occurring between 16 and 25 °C. All age groups of carp appear to be susceptible to KHV, although, generally, younger fish up to one year are more susceptible to clinical disease.

High levels of virus DNA have been shown to be present

The mode of transmission of KHV is horizontal, but vertical transmission cannot be ruled out. Horizontal transmission may be direct or vectorial, water being the major abiotic vector. KHV remains active in water for at least 4 hours at water temperatures of 23–25 °C. The virulent virus is shed via faeces, urine, gills and skin mucus. Infection mainly occurs via the skin. After entry, the virus spreads systemically from the portal of entry to superficial and internal organs. High levels of virus DNA have been shown to be present in skin, gills, spleen, liver and gut tissues.

Clinical signs of KHV can be difficult to distinguish from other fish diseases and generally include an evident hyper-secretion of mucus in the early stage of infection. Additional typical clinical signs are loss of appetite, discolouration of skin and gills as well as skin lesions. Sunken eyes (enophthalmia) and necrotic gills are frequently seen. Due to its potential to cause considerable economic damage, the disease is listed as a notifiable disease by the world animal health organization OIE (www.oie.int).

To limit disease spread, a rapid identification of KHV in diseased or dead fish is crucial

The use of FASTest KOI HV as a fast “pond-side” test enables veterinarians, Koi owners, breeders, importers and/or pet shops a fast aetiological diagnosis of a fresh and acute KHV infection.

For further information about our new FASTest KOI HV test kit follow this link

To find out more about our large range of veterinary diagnostic test kits visit our website: www.vetlabsupplies.co.uk or Telephone: 01798 874567