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  • Author or Editor: Jesse Dean Blanton x
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CASE DESCRIPTION A female alpaca, kept at pasture with 12 other female alpacas, 2 crias, and 5 goats, was evaluated because of clinical signs of aggression.

CLINICAL FINDINGS The clinical signs of aggression progressed to include biting at other animals as well as disorientation. Three days later, the alpaca was euthanized because of suspicion of rabies virus infection.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME No physical injuries were found at necropsy. Brain tissue specimens were confirmed positive for rabies on the basis of direct fluorescent antibody test results. Molecular typing identified the rabies virus variant as one that is enzootic in raccoons. The farm was placed under quarantine, restricting movement of animals on and off the property for 6 months. To prevent further rabies cases, 14 alpacas (12 adults and 2 crias) were vaccinated by extralabel use of a large animal rabies vaccine. Of the 14 vaccinated alpacas, 8 had paired serum samples obtained immediately before and 21 days after vaccination; all 8 alpacas had adequate serum antirabies antibody production in response to rabies vaccination. As a result of an adequate serologic response, the quarantine was reduced to 3 months. In the year after the index rabies case, no other animals on the farm developed rabies.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE Extralabel use of rabies vaccines in camelids was used in the face of a public health investigation. This report provides an example of handling of a rabies case for future public health investigations, which will undoubtedly need to develop ad-hoc rabies vaccination recommendations on the basis of the unique characteristics of the event.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association