In this study, 100 gastrointestinal tracts of Australian alpacas were examined to assess the worm burden and to identify the species of nematode present. Faecal samples were collected from 97 alpacas and processed for faecal egg counts (FECs). For identification of the species, both molecular (multiplexed-tandem polymerase chain reaction [MT-PCR]) and morphological techniques were used. Total worm counts (TWCs) revealed a mean burden of 1300 worms, with the highest burden of 29,000 worms. The average egg count was 501 eggs per gram of faeces (EPG), with the highest count of 3500 EPG. Nineteen different species of gastrointestinal nematodes (GINs) were identified, and Graphinema auchenia, Camelostrongylus mentulatus and Trichuris tenuis were recovered from Australian alpacas for the first time. Haemonchus contortus was the most prevalent nematode (81%) followed by C. mentulatus (60%). The majority of the nematodes found are shared with sheep, goats and cattle. Findings of this study provide useful insights into the spectrum of GINs and their burden in Australian alpacas.
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We are grateful to alpaca farmers who provided the gastrointestinal and faecal samples for this study. We are thankful to Ms. Christine Andersen and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Students for their technical assistance.
The financial assistance for this project was provided by the AgriFutures Australia and the Australian Alpaca Association. M.H.R. is a grateful recipient of the Australian Postgraduate Award through the University of Melbourne and the PhD top-up scholarship from the AgriFutures Australia.
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Rashid, M.H., Beveridge, I., Vaughan, J.L. et al. Worm burdens and associated histopathological changes caused by gastrointestinal nematodes in alpacas from Australia. Parasitol Res 118, 1031–1038 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-019-06237-6
- Gastrointestinal nematodes
- Total worm count
- Camelostrongylus mentulatus
- Graphinema auchenia
- Haemonchus contortus