Friday, May 16, 2008

Alpacas to School and Worms

Orion (Slammie) and Pollux (Luxie) are at school today in Breckenridge, MI. The FFA (Future Farmers of America) are having their Open House. All the elementary children get bused up to the high school to see the exhibits. The girls pictured above have studied up on alpacas and will care for "the boys" and answer questions.
Even though I know they will be fine, I will worry all day about them. We left our number on Jessica's cell in case they need us.
Yesterday all the boys received an injection of Dectomax, a wormer. I give the shots SQ, which means just sliding the needle under the skin and injecting. It can't hurt too much 'cause they hardly flinch or squirm. The only hard thing about giving it is that their skin is tight and tough.
Dectomax works on a variety of parasites, but the main one that we are concerned about is the meningeal worm, or more commonly known as the brainworm. The primary host for the meningeal worm is the white tailed deer and the intermediate hosts are snails and slugs. If an alpaca is infected, the larva causes a severe reaction in the spinal cord; it's very serious and frequently results in death. In the summer we treat every month and a half. The really good thing is that I have never seen deer in our pastures, or even close, so hopefully those snails and slugs can't travel too far.