Mange Mites in Alpaca

Mange is a mite which burrows under the skin causing itching. Mange mite infection can appear and spread extremely rapidly. The skin will first appear red and blotchy, and will then become extremely dry and crusty. Main initial areas of infection are the ears, and at the tops of the legs (front and back), the belly area and under the tail. When the area infected is around the teats it can make feeding a cria difficult, painful or impossible for the dam.

The recommended treatment is 4 doses of ivermectin, each 7 days apart, and each dose at the rate of 2mls per 50 kilos body weight. If the weight cannot be accurately taken, then this dose can be increased to 2.5mls/50 kilos BW to ensure each alpaca has at least the minimum dose. (The doses can be given up to 10 days apart and will still be effective against the mange mite)

The whole group, or whole herd, should be treated at the same time; not just the apparently infected alpacas. The injections are given sub-cutaneously.

'Ivomec' or the much cheaper and identical ivermectin 1% "Virbamec' can be used. The more expensive 'super' versions of these drugs are unnecessary in the treatment of mange, as the additional ingredient in these is specifically to treat liver fluke. Avermectins do not work. Dectomax does not work. You must use an Ivermectin drug.

To save on vet. visits, ask your vet to teach you how to give injections.

In addition to dosing with Ivermectin, you will need to soften the skin and remove the hard scaly skin in order for the fibre to grow back. To do this, first treat topically with cattle teat dip solution, which contains iodine. This can be applied using a car sponge. Make sure the solution goes right to the edge of the affected areas. If necessary trim back the fibre to make sure the entire area is properly treated. Wait for this to dry completely.

Then use cattle Udder Salve on the entire area. Apply daily for severe cases, but twice a week or even once a week for less severe cases. This will dry. The hard skin will come away almost by itself, leaving new pink skin underneath. The fibre should then grow back normally.

Teat dip solution and Udder Salve can be obtained from Agricultural suppliers.

N.B. Mange cannot be treated with Eprinex. Here is an extract from a recent study:

1: Vet Dermatol. 2007 Feb;18(1):59-62.

Efficacy of topical eprinomectin in the treatment of Chorioptes sp. infestation in alpacas and llamas. Plant JD, Kutzler MA, Cebra CK.

Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA. jon.plant@oregonstate.edu Chorioptes sp. mite infestation is increasingly recognized as a cause of skin disease in New World camelids and there is a need for an effective treatment protocol to eliminate herd infestation. In this field trial, eprinomectin applied topically at the rate of 0.5 mg kg(-1) weekly for 10 weeks was found to be ineffective in a herd of 12 llamas and 16 alpacas.