Objective—To determine the apparent prevalence of shedding of Cryptosporidium spp in healthy alpaca crias and their dams on 14 farms in New York and 1 farm in Pennsylvania.
Animals—110 alpaca crias and their 110 dams.
Procedures—Fecal samples were obtained from 220 alpacas at 14 alpaca farms in New York and 1 farm in Pennsylvania. For each animal, age, sex, and health condition were recorded. A fecal score (1 = normally formed; 2 = soft or loose; 3 = diarrhetic) was recorded for each cria. Cryptosporidium oocysts were identified in fecal samples by a direct immunofluorescence assay.
Results—Apparent prevalence of fecal shedding of Cryptosporidium oocysts was 8% (95% confidence interval, 4% to 15%) in dams and was 7% (95% confidence interval, 3% to 13%) in crias. There was no significant difference in age between dams with positive fecal test results for Cryptosporidium oocysts (median age, 4 years; range, 3 to 8 years) and dams with negative results (median age, 4 years; range, 2.5 to 19 years). No significant difference was found in age between crias with positive fecal test results (median age, 20 days; range, 7 to 53 days) and those with negative results (median, 36 days; range, 2 to 111 days). No significant difference in fecal scores was found between crias with positive versus negative fecal test results.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A higher than previously reported apparent prevalence of fecal shedding of Cryptosporidium oocysts in healthy alpacas was found. A zoonotic risk should be considered, especially for Cryptosporidium parvum.