Alpaca Health

At Alpacas of Ireland we take the health of our alpacas seriously.We do this for many different reasons.Firstly we care for our animals and do not want them to become sick.Secondly we want our clients to know that we have done all we can to ensure the best possible health of any animals they purchase from us.

Alpacas are hardy animals.They are bred for specific characteristics, such as good conformation and excellent fleeces, but not for excessive or perturbed characteristics that might weaken them genetically,such as ever-increasing body weight or milk production, and thus, in general, they remain relatively healthy.

They are thought to have fewer health problems than most farmed animals. However, they are not totally immune. All our alpacas are wormed and vaccinated regularly, they are treated prophylactically against fluke in the winter or when it is recommended for the local conditions and they are regularly body-scored (for condition).

Tuberculosis Like other animals alpacas are susceptible to TB. It is also stated by some vets that alpacas are unlikely to be a maintenance host for TB, but that most incidences occur following contact with TB-affected animals such as cattle etc (1) In one west coast farm where five alpacas died and were found at post mortem to be TB-infected it is thought to have resulted from contact with TB-infected cattle.That veterinary report states that “there is little evidence in support of alpaca-to-alpaca transmission” (2) However according to the British Alpaca website (3)“alpacas can catch TB from other infected alpacas”.. and this has been the experience of several herd owners in the country-region. It is difficult to detect TB by the common skin testing method before an alpaca sickens and dies. According to one report: “The ante mortem diagnosis of TB in these cases was problematic (4)This means that even when animals have been tested and cleared, via skin reactions, TB can be missed and the alpacas could still be infected. If TB is found in a herd, a cull of associated alpacas can be recommended but is not enforced. Alpacas do spit (if you annoy them!) and droplets have been felt at least 7 metres from a ‘spraying’ animal. It is possible that airborne droplets, carrying the bacteria, can be carried a lot further than this. It is unlikely that these type of distances will be maintained at all times at judging shows and this is our main reason for not going to them. Crowding is one stressor that can induce alpacas to spit, thus increasing the risk. Closed herd (to alpacas, not humans) To minimise the risk of infections to our alpacas (of TB or other idiseases) we have decided to be a closed herd. This means that we no longer accept ‘visiting’ alpacas at Killinagh Lodge except, perhaps, in exceptional circumstances and when we feel we can be sure there is no risk of infection.We have had no such visitors for over a year. When you visit us you will be asked to comply with our hygiene requirements – such as spraying car wheels, dipping boots in disinfectant etc. You should not be put off from buying these delightful animals by these restrictions – or from visiting us. In fact this level of care means you can be assured that we have done all we can to ensure that you purchase excellent animals in good health. Our herd history

Our own herd was purchased in 2001 from Peru (via a year’s quarantine in Canada) and Chile (via many months quarantine in Switzerland.  More arrived via the Swiss route in early 2002. It is many years since we have imported alpacas.  Most of our imports have since been sold. This means that almost all of our alpacas have now been born on site at Killinagh Lodge to our own females who in turn were either part of or descended from the original 2001 imports. Animals that have been exported from us, over the past nine years, have been tested (and cleared) for TB and, as far as we know, have remained TB-free. Stud males and breeding

We have, since 2001, averaged around 100 alpacas with wide ranging genetic variety.  We started out with several exceptional, unrelated, males at stud. As a result we have been able to maintain a wide range of stud-quality males with distinct genetics and so can manage our own selective breeding programs without disadvantage from this self-imposed restriction. Thus we will continue to breed and have top quality alpacas for sale.

(1) Cousins, D.V. and Florisson. N. A review of tests available for use in the diagnosis of tuberculosis in non-bovine species,Office International des Epizooties, 2005; 24:1039-59
(2)Connolly, D.J., Dwyer,P.J., Fagan, J., Hayes, M., Ryan, E.G., Costello, E., Kilroy, A and Moee, S.J.Tuberculosis in alpaca (Lama pacos) on a farm in Ireland. 2 Results of an epidemiological investigation. Irish Veterinary J. 2008, 61(8):533-537
(3) www.bas-uk.com
(4) Tuberculosis in alpaca (Lama pacos) on a farm in Ireland. 1. A clinical report. Ryan, E.G., Dwyer, P.J., Connolly, D.J., Fagan, J., Costello, E. and More, S.J. Irish Veterinary J. 61(8):527-531

News and Sale

Gelded (non-breeding) alpcasa for protection from foxes
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Come and visit - Saturday evening July 8th
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Shearing in June 17th or 18th
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Shearing 1
Shearing 1
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Our Alpaca Shop
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