Equiheart® Veterinary Services is proud to provide camelid care in Hunterdon, Warren, Morris, and Somerset counties
For emergencies we are available to our clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Dr. Wilson is passionate about delivering personalized service to her clients and the best available care to her animals. Continuous research and education allows her to address health concerns as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Alpacas and llamas are domesticated members of the camelid family. Adaptable to a variety of geographic climates, they can thrive almost anywhere. Llamas are twice the size of the alpaca, and have been commonly bred as a pack-carrying animal. They prove excellent herd animals and can thrive independently as a guard animal.
The alpaca has also been carefully bred for years, but primarily to encourage the growth of it’s luxurious fiber. This shy and quiet herd animal typically does not thrive alone.
Both of these camelids are extremely intelligent, productive herd animals that prove to be highly trainable and beloved pets.
Although alpacas and llamas are resilient, they are prone to some health care issues. Dr. Wilson recommends regular care for the following areas to ensure optimal health:
Both alpacas and llamas often present with unimpressive physical findings upon examination, as well as non-specific pathology results to direct their care. It is believed that because camelids are prey in the wild they have developed compensatory behaviors to avoid being recognized as ill or vulnerable. This compensatory resilience can make the health of camelids difficult to evaluate. Often the camelid will show minimal outward signs of illness until their condition has become very serious. It is important to call a veterinarian at the first sign of failing health. Dr. Wilson is an expert in camelid care and is highly educated in making an accurate diagnosis.
Dr. Wilson makes deworming recommendations based on the individual needs of each client’s farm. Fecal exams can test for the following common parasites and results are reported as a quantitative number (eggs per gram).
Vaccination recommendations can vary from animal to animal, so Dr. Wilson is happy to design a custom vaccination regimen to address the individual needs of each llama and alpaca. Vaccinations that are recommended in our area are:
Camelids require toenail trimming a few times per year. How often trimming is required depends on each individual animal and the surfaces they walk on regularly. If the animal walks on hard surfaces such as concrete or trails often the nails will naturally file and require less trimming than animals that spend most of their time on soft surfaces. Dr. Wilson is happy to provide toenail trimming for her camelid clients.
When the weather has been wet, camelids can sometimes acquire a soft-pad ailment referred to as “foot rot” often caused by a fungus from the muddy conditions. The soft pad may have areas that are peeling or missing and require treatment for proper healing. Dr. Wilson can advise you as to what treatment options would provide the best results, and how to proceed to avoid soft-pad injury in the future.
A camelid’s teeth grow continuously for the first 8 years of life,
at which time the growth slows down considerably. In their natural habitat,
camelids graze on short grasses that grow close to the ground which is comprised
of sand. The sand and grit that enters the mouth while eating grinds down their
teeth over time. When camelids are raised
locally in New Jersey this natural grinding does not often occur, but is still
vital to the dental health of the animal.
Ideally, the bottom teeth should line up just under the dental pad. When the teeth begin to grow toward the end of the pad it is time to trim them. If the teeth grow over the pad they will be forced forward and the angle of the tooth may change. Dr. Wilson is happy to provide dental evaluation and trimming for her clients.
Llamas and alpacas must be shorn to avoid heat stress. Sunburn after shearing is a common injury to domesticated llamas and alpacas that can prove serious when not addressed properly. Insect bites and the introduction of bacteria to the affected area can be of particular concern. To avoid these issues, it is recommended that shearing is completed in late spring when the sun is less intense. Should shearing be required in the heat of the summer, be sure to provide adequate shelter and protection from the sun.
When introducing a new camelid to your herd, be sure to keep your existing and new members healthy by following the recommended biosecurity protocol. It is important to keep the new arrivals separate from your current herd if possible. This will allow adequate time for testing and potential treatment to protect all animals from the introduction of disease.
Depending on the size of your existing herd and the accommodations available at your farm, it may not be possible to adhere to all of the suggested biosecurity protocols. Dr. Wilson understands that each client has it’s own resources and challenges. She is happy to help develop a revised protocol or address any concerns following the integration of your new camelids.
An Ideal Biosecurity Practice