Recently completed research by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and the Institute for Animal Health (AH) has confirmed that Schmallenberg Virus (SBV) is again circulating in the UK, and it appears that the virus has overwintered in infected insects (midge and possibly mosquitoes). This means that susceptible animals will be at risk of infection from infected midges for the rest of the year.
The RVC, having carried out tests on Alpacas reported: "We also found two of our 10 alpacas had it as well, though none showed clinical signs - we believe this is the first time it has been found in alpacas.”
It is believed that animals that has SBV last year are likely to be immune, and it is known that healthy animals recover quickly from infection without lasting harm, so the main risk is when non-immune animals are infected in early pregnancy, as the virus can damage the developing foetus. So the main risk will be to early pregnant animals that have not been exposed to SBV before.
Although companies are developing vaccines, none are yet available, nor likely to be this year. AHVLA now have a blood antibody test to test previous exposure. Antibodies don't pass through the placenta to camelid crias: this is why ingestion of colostrum is so important as crias are born without any of their own antibodies and have to acquire them from colostrum. If camelids have antibodies they will pass them on in the colostrum: the value of this will depend how long it is since they were infected since antibodies will decline after exposure.
The clinical signs are diarrhoea, fever and early abortions but camelids have a habit of not showing they are ill so a keen eye on your animals is what is required.
If you have any worries, contact your vet.
From: Liz Butler, BLS Health & Welfare Co-ordinator
It's a Perfect Time for Parasites - BEWARE!!
We have recently been seeing quite a few farms affected by gastrointestinal parasitism. The problem is mostly due to Haemonchus, the so-called Barber's Pole worm because of the appearance of the adult worms. This worm is a blood-sucker: the larvae set up camp in the 3rd stomach compartment where they grow into adults and then pass large numbers of eggs. Both the adults and larvae can cause severe anaemia in alpacas such that worm egg counts may not be spectacularly high but anaemia may be significant. This "summer's" wet and mild weather conditions have meant that parasites have had perfect conditions for survival on the pasture which is why we are probably seeing so many problems at the moment. I would like to encourage you to check your animals this weekend: check their body condition and also check their colour to see if they appear anaemic or not. The best way to do this is to evert the lower eyelid using one thumb while gently depressing the eye through the upper eyelid with the other thumb, causing the third eyelid to protrude. Normally these mucous membranes are pink and healthy-looking: the whiter they are, the worse the anaemia may be. Anaemic animals will also be quieter than normal and may move more slowly than healthy alpacas. If you suspect that you may have a problem, please call your vet and/or check faecal egg counts to assess the situation. The problem is likely to be worse if you have higher stocking densities and larger numbers of susceptible animals, but smaller units can also be affected.
Claire E Whitehead BVM&S MS MRCVS
Diplomate ACVIM (Large Animal)
Camelid Veterinary Services
Vice Chairman BLS & Health & Welfare Representative
Nutfield Park Farm, South Nutfield, REDHILL, Surrey Tel: 01737-823375
British Llama Society - a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England no. 04897204.
Registered office: Mansion House, Princes Street, Yeovil, Somerset BA20 1EP.
BLUETONGUE VACCINATION UPDATE
Please note that the Bluetongue Scottish Order comes into force on 24 September 2012 but similar legislation will come into force in England today, 24 August 2012 and Wales soon after.
Unless you are exporting animals when the legislation may be different, BLS is not recommending that you vaccinate your animals unless another outbreak occurs. The different strains of Bluetongue all have different vaccines to combat them and BLS is concerned that we may end up over medicating our animals which is not recommended.
It is, as usual, up to each individual owner, but we can only pass on our recommendations.
Health & Welfare Officer for
British Llama Society and British Camelids
The following has just been received from the Scottish Administration. BLS and BCL are stakeholders in the livestock Scottish Assembly) :
BLUETONGUE VACCINATION – STAKEHOLDER UPDATE
As from 24 September 2012 it will be legal in Scotland to vaccinate livestock with a Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) or EU approved inactivated bluetongue vaccine.
This change in policy follows amendments recently made to Council Directive 2000/75/EC by EU Council Bluetongue Directive 2012/5/EU that give Member States the discretion to allow vaccination within a free area. Following those amendments and after discussion with the Scottish Animal Health and Welfare Stakeholder Group the Scottish Government decided to give livestock producers the opportunity to protect the health of their animals by allowing the use of available inactivated vaccine within a bluetongue free area.
Similar legislation will come into effect in England on 24 August 2012 and in Wales soon. However, voluntary vaccination will not be allowed in either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland. However, trade of vaccinated animals to any part of Ireland will not be affected as long as any vaccination met European requirements.
BTV-1 & 8 zones are in place in France, Spain and parts of Italy (as at August 2012), but none are in place in northern countries of the European Union.
Commission Regulation 1266/2007 was also amended. This involved changes to the requirements for monitoring, surveillance, the transition process for freedom, and the transit of animals. As a result of those changes to the Regulation the Scottish Government is working with the Commission and other Member States to produce guidance on the criteria for establishment, approval and use of ‘vector protected establishments’.
Compliance with the EU’s requirements for monitoring and surveillance programmes, premovement testing, reporting of suspect cases and adherence to movement licence conditions will continue.
The Bluetongue (Scotland) Order 2012 will allow vaccination in free area from 24 September 2012. Until that Order comes into force the use of bluetongue vaccine remains prohibited in Scotland.
The Scottish Government’s bluetongue advisory leaflet for those working with ruminants and camelids has been updated and can be found on the Scottish Government’s website (http://www.scotland.gov.uk/bluetongue).
Although the law is changing, it is still advisable to follow the existing guidelines, which include:
It has come to the attention of BLS that Camelids, both llamas and alpacas, have recently been sold at a livestock auction and the owners were ‘not available’ to be asked questions about the animals. Camelids were being purchased as individuals and some new owners had no previous experience of livestock let alone camelids. This is very worrying. One owner bought a female llama at the Saturday auction only to find that by Sunday morning he had two ! The female had given birth overnight.
We are writing to the Livestock Auctioneers Society with helpful information and contact numbers for help but if anyone hears of camelid auctions in their area, please let us know.
The BLS board is working hard to look after the interests of all members and their llamas. To do this it is vital that the llama register is accurate. In other species identification measures are enforced. For example all cattle must be registered with the national cattle movement services before they are two weeks old, must carry a passport, must have pre movement bTB test and must report all movements on or off the farm to the central registry; all equines must carry a passport and be microchipped; there are movement restrictions on pigs; and even sheep will have to be compulsorily microchipped from next year.
The BLS argue that we hold the national registry, can contact all owners and breeders quickly in the event of an emergency and that outside intervention is not necessary. If members are failing to register all births and sales, especially to non members, that argument begins to break down. If we cannot hold that argument, we cannot hope to represent the industry and protect our members from restrictive legislation.
Please register your cria NOW.
To record a Llama born after April 2009 and new cria, they must be microchipped. If your Llama was born before that date, you should still register but it is not necessary for the animal to be microchipped unless you wish to transfer him/her to a new owner.
It is recommended to microchip cria’s at six months old plus. To register your cria prior to the age of six months, just allocate a microchip to that animal and record it on your registration form. Don’t forget to get the cria microchipped once it is six months old.
Chips from BLS cost £4.15 each which is an extremely good price. To obtain your microchips please send a padded self addressed stamped envelope, with a cheque made out to British Llama Society to Liz Butler, Nutfield Park Farm, South Nutfield, REDHILL, Surrey, RH1 5PA. Chips will be sent out within 48 hours.
Vice Chairman BLS & Health & Welfare Representative
With thanks to Axel Bührmann, orazal, lucianvenutian, Veronique Debord, quinn.anya for creative commons use of pictures