Vaccinations in Camelids
Printable Vaccination Info.
All vaccinations are
in alpacas therefore effectiveness and safety are not
guaranteed by the manufacturers.1
Consult with your veterinarian to determine an appropriate
vaccination protocol. The following is provided as information only.
Avoid modified-live vaccines in pregnant animals.
Vaccines may not completely prevent infections but often moderate
the disease symptoms experienced by the animal.
should be used to complement not replace management techniques for disease
Individual animal response to a vaccine is variable and can be
affected by many factors such as stress, immune status at time of
vaccination, and proper storage and administration of the vaccine. A
sick animal will not respond as well as a healthy animal. Vaccinate
a week or two prior to a stressful event such as shipping or
Initial vaccinations generally require boosters to generate adequate
protection due to the need to prime the immune system and the
potential for interference from waning maternal colostral
A general guide explaining vaccinations is available from the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension office at
Vaccinations Commonly Used in Camelids
- Clostridium perfringens type C, D, and C. tetani
- A commonly used vaccine. C. perfringens has been
implicated in diarrhea and sudden deaths in crias and
occasionally adults. All animals are at risk for tetanus
following infection primarily through wounds, castrations, etc.
- One common vaccination schedule is vaccination of adults
yearly; pregnant females 4-6 weeks prior to parturition; crias
at 3-4 months old and again 4 weeks later then yearly
thereafter.1 Other protocols are
also used and can be tailored to suit individual farm
Clostridium perfringens Type A Toxoid
- Recently developed vaccine for use in cattle.
- Evaluated at WSU VTH on alpacas
1. No vaccine site reactions were seen.
2. This product was NOT evaluated on pregnant
3. Titers were measured and results indicated an
immune response occurred but the degree of
protection provided is unknown at this time.
Other Clostridial Vaccines
- “7 way” and “8 way” clostridial vaccines available.
The number refers to the number of diseases the vaccine
- Vaccinates against a broad spectrum of clostridial
- Some contain tetanus.
- Vaccine site reactions have been reported with some
West Nile Virus
- Alpacas are considered at low risk of developing
clinical signs after infection with this virus.
However the most common signs of infection are
neurological usually progressing to death of the
animal even with intensive medical treatments.2
- Only consider use in areas with known West Nile
- Adverse reactions to the vaccine have ranged
from mild injection site reactions to anaphylaxis.2
Try to avoid vaccinating breeding females within 60
days of breeding or 30 days of parturition.
- There are two vaccine products that have been
used in alpacas:
1. Ft. Dodge West Nile-Innovator -
Research showed 3 doses, 3 weeks apart,
generated the highest titer response.2
Challenge studies evaluating vaccine
protection in camelids have not been
Merial Recombitek Equine WNV vaccine -
No published research but the product has
been evaluated on alpacas.
- Consider in areas where the disease is
endemic. May need to revaccinate up to 3-4 times
- Clinical signs vary from fever and anorexia,
kidney and liver damage, and abortions.3,4
- There are many serovars or types of
Leptospira. Vaccines only include the more
common serovars found in cattle so protection
may be incomplete.
- Prevention can be increased by limiting
rodent and wildlife contact and vaccinating dogs
that may have contact with the herd.3
- Rabies has been reported in camelids.5
- There are currently no licensed vaccines
for use in alpacas.
- Vaccinations can only be performed by
- Consider yearly vaccinations in endemic
areas which can be given as early as 3-6
months of age.1
- Proof of vaccination may not be
sufficient if an animal is exposed leading
to quarantine or euthanasia.
Equine Herpes Virus 1
- This disease has been infrequently reported in camelids.
Infected animals exhibit neurological signs or blindness.6
- Consider vaccination if camelids are kept in close proximity
with horses or other equines. If needed, use the killed vaccine
product and vaccinate every 12 weeks.1
- Bovine viral diarrhea virus vaccines
are available as products labeled for
use in cattle.
- Currently we do not recommend use
due to difficulties with current
Miscellaneous Products Commonly Used
Vitamin E & Selenium
- Injectable vitamin E and
selenium is commonly given to
newborn crias in areas of the
country known to be deficient in
- The most common product used is
Bo-Se (1 mg/ml). A common dose is 1
mg given subcutaneously for alpaca
crias and 2 mg for llama crias.
- Proper supplementation of the
dam during gestation can aid in
preventing deficiencies in the
Vitamin A & D
- Vitamin D deficiency in
neonates can lead to a metabolic
condition known as
The condition is most commonly
seen in darker pigmented crias
during the winter in more
- Injectable and oral
supplements are available.
The injectable form is often
in combination with vitamin
A and requires less frequent
dosing than the oral
product. A common dose is
1000-2000 IU of vitamin
D/pound of body weight given
One dose will last
approximately 60-90days. The
oral product is typically
dosed at 30,000 IU of
vitamin D every 2 weeks.8
Who to contact for more information?
Please call WSU-VTH Agriculture Animal Department, Ms. Sallie Bayly,
RVT (509-335-0711) to contact a veterinarian regarding vaccination
1. Vaccination guidelines for small ruminants
(sheep, goats, llamas, domestic deer, and wapiti). Council on
Biologic and Therapeutic Agents and the American Association of
Small Ruminant Practitioners. J Am Vet Med Assoc
2. Kutzler MA, Baker RJ, Mattson DE. Humoral
response to West Nile virus vaccination in alpacas and llamas J
Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:414-416.
3. MacAllister, C. Leptospirosis.
4. Thedford TR, Johnson LW. Infectious diseases of
new-world camelids (NWC). Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract
5. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Rabies in a
llama - Oklahoma. MMWR Morb Mort Wkly Rep 1990;39(12)203-204.
6. Long, P. Llama herd health. Vet Clin North Am
Food Anim Pract 1989;5(1):227-232.
7. Washington State University Veterinary Teaching
Hospital and Washington Animal Disease
Diagnostic Laboratory. Bovine viral diarrhea virus in camelids.
8. Fowler ME. Medicine and Surgery of South
American Camelids; Iowa State Press; May 1998, 2nd edition.
9. Van Saun RJ, Smith BB, Watrous BJ. Evaluation of
vitamin D status of llamas and alpacas with hypophosphatemic
rickets. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;209:1128-1133.
10. Judson GL, Feakes A. Vitamin D doses for
alpacas (Lama pacos). Aust Vet J 1999;77:310-315.
return to main Camelid page