Novel methods for sustainable control of gastrointestinal nematodes in llamas and alpacas in the southeastern United States

2007 Annual Report for GS06-054

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2006: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Grant Recipient: Fort Valley State University
Region: Southern
State: Georgia
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Thomas Terrill
Fort Valley State University

Novel methods for sustainable control of gastrointestinal nematodes in llamas and alpacas in the southeastern United States


Fecal egg count reduction (FECR) tests to determine resistance of gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) to treament with chemical dewormers (anthelmintics) were completed on 2 llama and 1 alpaca farms in Georgia in year 1 of the project. Anthelmintic resistance was evaluated on three additional llama farms using an in vitro larval development assay (LDA). Blood samples were taken from all animals to determine packed cell volume (PCV), and this was compared with FAMACHA eye scores to validate the use of the FAMACHA system for predicting highly GIN affected llamas and alpacas. In addition, a preliminary study was completed with llamas fed sericea lespedeza to determine its potential use for controlling GIN infection. Anthelmintic resistance was detected on all of the llama and alpaca farms tested, indicating a wide-spread problem. Additional information is needed to properly evaluate FAMACHA as an anemia detection tool in camelid species. Sericea lespedeza reduced egg counts in llamas compared with bermudagrass (control diet), and may have potential as a natural anti-parasitic agaent with these species.

Objectives/Performance Targets

1) Validate use of the FAMACHA system of anemia detection with llamas and alpacas on-farm.

2) Test the efficacy of sericea lespedeza hay against gastrointestinal nematode infection of llamas and alpacas on-farm.

3) Disseminate results from these studies in scientific and producer-oriented journals and as a published Master’s thesis.


Anthelmintic resistance was tested on 5 llama and 1 alpaca farms in Georgia, and resistance was detected to at least 1 drug class on all 5, with resistance to drugs from more than one family on some farms. This indicates a much wider problem than previously documented for these species.

A feeding trial was completed with llamas comparing the anthelmintic properties of sericea lespedeza and bermudagrass hays. The animals fed sericea lespedeza hay had lower fecal egg counts throughout the trial, and this forage appears to have potential for reducing GIN infection in South American camelids.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Data from the first year of this work was presented as an invited poster at the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) 20th Anniversary Meeting in Kansas City on on March 25-27, 2008.

The initial scientific manuscript from this work is currently under preparation for submission to the Journal of Veterinary Parasitology.


Rose-Ann Gillespie

Master's graduate student
Fort Valley State University
Agricultural Research Station
1005 State University Drive
Fort Valley, GA 31030
Office Phone: 4788256814