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A Few Thoughts

Alpacas are one of the easiest "livestock" animals to keep; their needs vary on what you intend to keep, females and breeding require a lot more input and observation but, generally, they are relatively simple and whilst they need regular checks, they rarely require any treatment. However, they are stoic and do not show signs of illness until late and this requires the intervention of a good, knowledgeable vet.

More regular care involves a weekly check of their weight - this can be done by feeling how much fat covers their back and ribs; regular toe nail trimming - alpacas are NOT cloven and do not have hooves. They have 2 toes on each foot with a toenail, these require trimming 3 -4 times a year and can be done by the owner.

Vaccinations are given against clostridial disease; the most well known being tetanus, on a regular basis 1-2 times annually depending on the condition of your alpaca and the vaccine used. Other treatments may be required for things like Liver Fluke if you are in a susceptible area (ask your vet).

Alpacas can pick up parasites, but rather than regularly worm them it is recommended that you have a faecal sample done by a vet or suitably qualified person on a regular basis of a good percentage of your herd and, if necessary, you can treat with the correct wormer. Although ticks are uncommon, as is flystrike, it is possible and so this should be part of your regular check.

Your alpacas will need to be shorn and you will need to get on a shearers list early - don't wait until they need doing, shearers are booked from year to year.

On a final note, alpacas can and do catch Bovine Tuberculosis. Any suspected alpaca death is reported to APHA for investigation. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for alpacas against this disease and no cure. You can protect yourself partially by insisting that any alpaca you purchase has a BTB blood test done. 

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