WV Farm Bureau Magazine July 2014 - Page 9

Tiny Parasite Causes Deadly Illness in Alpacas, Goats, Sheep Becky Crabtree S mall snails or slugs seem fairly harmless. Likewise, white-tailed deer are not scary. Both can cause crop damage and often munch on flowers and vegetables but these creatures are not usually ranked high on the wanted list for killing other animals. The dreadful truth is that they are vital links in the life cycle of the meningeal worm, Parelaphostrongylus tenuis, a parasite that causes a terrible death to small camelids such as goats, sheep, and alpacas. Moose are highly susceptible as well. Our experience was with Meean, one of two alpacas our creative daughter gave us for Christmas. When the inevitable “What do you want for Christmas?” question surfaced, I thought I had her stumped by saying alpacas. Not so. She and her husband found two young males and drove across four states to bring them to us. I fell in love with the alpaca’s cartoon expressions and strange gaits in the first hour. They are such gentle creatures; it makes their lack of resistance to these deadly parasites even harder to bear. continue life in the snail or slug’s body )չѥ