Efficacy of Whole Herbs on Controlling Gastrointestinal Nematodes in an Alpaca Fiber Operation

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2020: $13,448.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2020
Grant Recipient: Hoof & Hound
Region: Northeast
State: New Jersey
Project Leader:
Dr. Erin Masur, DVM
Fork You Farms, LLC
Dr. Alexia Tsakiris
Blue Sage Veterinary Wellness Center

Information Products


  • Animals: camelids, goats, sheep
  • Animal Products: dairy, eggs, fiber, fur, leather, meat


  • Animal Production: animal protection and health, grazing management, parasite control

    Proposal abstract:

    The “Barber Pole Worm,” as it is known by laymen, is a particularly pervasive and threatening internal parasite throughout the United States. This parasite has significant effects on sheep, goat, and camelid operations in the form of high morbidity and mortality, poor performance in growth and dairy production, and high treatment costs. This gastrointestinal nematode rapidly becomes resistant to any dewormer that it is exposed to, with well-documented resistance to all classes of dewormers that come to market. For this reason, utilizing any strategies possible in order to abstain from deworming is the most current recommendation by the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control. This strategy is known as the maintenance of “refugium,” referring to the naivety of the parasite from dewormers. The investigators of this study, Dr. Masur and Dr. Tsakiris, believe that they have developed a holistic product that will help conserve refugia along with appropriate pasture management practices. This product is composed of dried whole plants, all which have been formally studied and found to have medicinal properties. The particular composition of whole plants rather than a liquid extract or a mechanically pulverized byproduct lends itself to greater bioavailability when ingested by the small ruminant species. The study will be performed by feeding the product, as a supplement to the regular diet, to 37 healthy adult Huacaya alpacas residing in Waretown, NJ. Frequent fecal egg counts (FECs) will be taken to understand what effects the product has on the worm populations present in the herd.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project seeks to prove that a scrupulously developed, high quality herbal supplement can be an efficient and effective way to inhibit the replication of H. contortus in an animal, therefore preventing an increase in fecal egg count of that animal. If this supplement is successful, it could mean that farmers will reduce their frequency of use of traditional anthelmintics to temporarily “knock down” worm populations. This will increase the overall health of a herd, increase the meat, fiber, and dairy productivity of these operations, decrease losses, and result in less intensive nursing care of individuals. This product is the next logical step for the industry as it attempts to mitigate this particularly devastating worm, without the promise of any novel anthelmintics.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.