Potential pathogens in feces from unweaned llamas and alpacas with diarrhea

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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-4802.
  • | 2 Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-4802.
  • | 3 Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-4802.
  • | 4 Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-4802.
  • | 5 Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-4802.

Abstract

Objective—To identify potential pathogens in feces from llama and alpaca crias with diarrhea.

Design—Prospective observational study.

Animals—45 unweaned crias with diarrhea.

Procedure—Fecal samples were evaluated for Eimeria spp, Giardia spp, Cryptosporidium spp, enteric viruses, and Salmonella spp. A questionnaire yielded information concerning herd management and presence of other affected camelids.

Results—28 crias were ≤ 31 days old, 11 were 32 to 62 days old, and 6 were 63 to 210 days old. Potential pathogens were isolated from feces from 32 of the 45 crias. A total of 39 potential pathogens were obtained, including coronavirus (n = 19 crias; 42%), Giardia spp (8; 18%), Eimeria spp (6; 13%), Cryptosporidium spp (4; 9%), rotavirus (1; 2%), and nematode ova (1; 2%). Salmonella spp were not isolated. Most crias from which potential pathogens were isolated were identified during outbreaks of diarrhea involving other camelids, although only coronavirus was isolated from crias identified during outbreaks involving adult camelids. Coronavirus was detected throughout the year, whereas protozoa were most commonly isolated during the fall and winter.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that a variety of potential pathogens may be isolated from young crias with diarrhea. Many crias shed coronavirus, which may also have been affecting older camelids. Protozoa were isolated most often during wetter months, suggesting that crias born during these months may have greater exposure to protozoal pathogens. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223: 1806–1808)

Abstract

Objective—To identify potential pathogens in feces from llama and alpaca crias with diarrhea.

Design—Prospective observational study.

Animals—45 unweaned crias with diarrhea.

Procedure—Fecal samples were evaluated for Eimeria spp, Giardia spp, Cryptosporidium spp, enteric viruses, and Salmonella spp. A questionnaire yielded information concerning herd management and presence of other affected camelids.

Results—28 crias were ≤ 31 days old, 11 were 32 to 62 days old, and 6 were 63 to 210 days old. Potential pathogens were isolated from feces from 32 of the 45 crias. A total of 39 potential pathogens were obtained, including coronavirus (n = 19 crias; 42%), Giardia spp (8; 18%), Eimeria spp (6; 13%), Cryptosporidium spp (4; 9%), rotavirus (1; 2%), and nematode ova (1; 2%). Salmonella spp were not isolated. Most crias from which potential pathogens were isolated were identified during outbreaks of diarrhea involving other camelids, although only coronavirus was isolated from crias identified during outbreaks involving adult camelids. Coronavirus was detected throughout the year, whereas protozoa were most commonly isolated during the fall and winter.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that a variety of potential pathogens may be isolated from young crias with diarrhea. Many crias shed coronavirus, which may also have been affecting older camelids. Protozoa were isolated most often during wetter months, suggesting that crias born during these months may have greater exposure to protozoal pathogens. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223: 1806–1808)