The trick about alpacas is that they are very stoic - they can look fine and then they can just go downhill quickly and die. It can be extremely frustrating because you do not know anything is wrong until something is really wrong.
Pneumonia can be lethal to alpacas. As soon as it is recognized, it needs to be treated immediately. Pneumonia settles in fast and may or may not have a fever. Preemies are common in late term females and the thought is the depletion of oxygen (from the nose & lungs being affected) propels her into premature labor. Older females seem to be hit the hardest and treatment should continue on an individual basis until all signs of cough, sneeze, fever, snotty nose, is gone.
Our protocol is 3cc of Nuflor per 100lbs every other day up to 5 times. Give banamine for any who seemed uncomfortable or feverish. Banamine can cause ulcers but use it to prevent discomfort, lessening fever and going off feed.
Antibiotics for Alpacas with Pneumonia
Naxcel, Excenel (Ceftiofur)
– commonly used to treat neonatal sepsis, upper respiratory infection, pneumonia, retained placenta and uterine infections. Naxcel can be used IV or SC
. If used IV, must be given BID. With severe infections and SC usage, can also use BID. Excenel has the same parent drug as Naxcel, just a different carrier that allows it to be kept at room temperature, with a long expiration date, it should be given SC. Concentration for both is 50 mg/mL.
Dose: 1 – 2 mg/lb, SC, IV, SID to BID (0.5 – 1.0 mL/25 lbs, 2 – 4 mL/100 lbs)
Nuflor (Florfenicol) – commonly used to treat upper respiratory infection, pneumonia, and tooth root infections in camelids. It is a broad spectrum antibiotic that is labeled to treat respiratory infections in cattle and is given every other day (EOD). Based on preliminary information from a study done at OSU in alpacas, the best dosing regimen in alpacas is daily dosing and the IM route. Due to how the drug is metabolized (by the liver), it should not be given to young crias (less than 3 months old). Contraindicated to use with any other antibiotics. Can occasionally cause them to lose their appetite.
Dose: 9 mg/lb, IM or SC SID (1 mL/35 lbs, 3 mL/100 lbs)
Baytril 100 (Enrofloxacin)
– commonly used to treat neonatal sepsis, upper respiratory infection, pneumonia, and uterine infections in camelids. It is labeled for treatment of respiratory disease in beef cattle. It is considered to be a “big gun” and should not used as a first choice antibiotic. In puppies (< 8 months), use of this drug is associated with cartilage damage in joints, it is unknown if the same is true for camelid crias. Use of this drug in cats has been associated with blindness with high doses and long term use; the same has been reported in a Guanaco after 26 days of therapy. Research has looked at oral absorption of this drug in camelids using double the injectable dose. There is absorption at 4.5 mg/lb, PO
, SID but it is still preferred to give Baytril either SC or IV. It is considered to be a broad spectrum antibiotic, but does not work against Streptococci, Enterococci, Actinomyces, Pseudomonas bacteria or anaerobic infections.
Dose: 2.3 mg/lb, SC, IV, SID to BID (IV route) (0.6 mL/25 lbs, 2.3 mL/100 lbs)
Anti-inflammatory, Analgesics (pain management)
Banamine (Flunixin meglumine) – this is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to treat pain, inflammation and endotoxemia (toxins in the blood from bacterial infections). It does not have properties to directly cause calmness, except as what would be expected by the relief of pain. If used for long term, it may lead to ulcers in the third compartment. It should also be used with caution in dehydrated camelids as it can damage the kidneys. In dehydrated animals, use one-half dose until the animal is fully hydrated. Depending on the reason it is being used, once a day seems to clinically be adequate. If the animal becomes painful again after 12 hours, an additional dose can be given for short term use. To avoid severe side effects it is best if the animal is fully hydrated (possibly on IV fluids). It is not effective if used orally.
Dose: 0.23 mg/lb – 0.5 mg/lb, IV, IM, SC, SID to BID (0.5 – 1 mL/100 lbs)