AlpacaGram 8.32 | Are your alpacas at risk for these viruses?

AlpacaGram 8.32
AlpacaGram 8.32May 11, 2021

Are Your Alpacas at Risk for Rabies, West Nile Virus, or Eastern Equine Encephalitis?

The Government and Industry Relations Committee (GIRCom) wants to remind Alpaca Owners Association (AOA) members that now is the time to talk to your veterinarian about what vaccinations your alpacas should receive.

Rabies is a virus that causes a progressive inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) ultimately resulting in death. All warm-blooded mammals, including alpacas are susceptible to this virus, and rabies has been reported in camelids. Vaccinating alpacas against rabies is frequently recommended by veterinarians in rabies endemic areas.

As mosquitoes emerge your alpacas may be at risk for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and/or West Nile virus (WNV). EEE and WNV are carried by mosquitoes, and vaccination during the spring gives protection before peak mosquito season.

EEE has been known to affect both horses and camelids, such as alpacas. EEE causes inflammation of the brain tissue and has a significantly higher risk of death in horses and camelids than West Nile Virus infection. West Nile Virus is a viral disease that affects horses’ and camelids’ neurological system. The disease is transmitted by a mosquito bite. The virus cycles between birds and mosquitoes with horses, camelids and humans being incidental hosts. EEE infections in horses and alpacas are not a significant risk factor for human infection because horses and camelids (like humans) are considered “dead-end” hosts for the virus.

Alpaca owners should contact their veterinarians to discuss whether there is a need to consider the rabies, WNV and/or EEE vaccination. Other prevention methods for mosquito borne viruses include:

  • dumping or draining standing water breeding sites for mosquitoes, such as containers and puddles;
  • using insect repellents;
  • removing animals from mosquito-infested areas during peak biting times, usually dusk to dawn;
  • turning off the lights in and around the barn at night.
Cas-Cad-Nac Farm LLC
AOA Gold Benefactors
Liberty Alpacas

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