Basic Animal Health In Alpaca Farming

The health of the animal is indispensable in alpaca farming. A herd of alpaca must be kept safe, comfortable and well-fed to produce the best results.

Some human beings would refer to the alpaca as docile. They are prey in their natural environment. In addition, they are aware that masking their painful reactions will help them to live longer in the wild. On a farm, these facts are still true.

Since these creatures are cute and cuddly, you should find it easy to develop a relationship with each individual animal. With this approach, you can readily assess the herd and identify any suffering alpaca as soon as possible. If a particular alpaca does not exhibit the same degree of friendliness and effervescence it did the day before, this may indicate that the animal is not well or has been hurt.

Usually, a close inspection of the animal will give the discerning farmer an immediate report of the animal’s well-being.

Common Causes of Unusual Disposition:

Parisites and Diseases

Get in contact with local vets and other camelid owners to find out what diseases are common in your area. Diseases abound but they rarely manifest themselves in a dangerous way. Early detection and treatment will prevent the spread of an illness throughout your herd. The following diseases are a possibility:

• West Nile Virus

• Bovine viral diarrhea

• Hoof and mouth disease

• Meningeal worm transmitted by rabies, ticks, lice, or deer

The actual occurrence of any of these illnesses is rare in alpaca, but if you are uncertain about your animal’s condition, check with a vet.


Be careful of how frequently you administer worming medication. Too often, a worming can make worms more resistant to the treatment, leading to the need for more concentrated or costly medication. Monitor your own area and administer a wormer quarterly or when infestation is actually detected. The alpaca density on a farm determines the rate of spread of a disease. Study alpaca droppings for signs of worms and rotate to new pastures if worms are detected.


If an alpaca is stumbling, lying on the groung and refusing to get up or exhibiting signs of a broken bone, it may be injured. If the injury is minor, you can try treating it yourself. However, if it is more serious, consult a veterinarian.

Do not panic. In general, alpacas are healthy animals and very easy to take care of. Basic alpaca health is an integral part of alpaca farming.

Alan B. Stables is a freelance writer on alternative agriculture, has organized alternative agriculture events and has also been a guest speaker in Brazil, China, Egypt, Italy, Latvia and Spain, on how to market agricultural produce for maximum returns.