Llamas & alpacas

Standard operating procedures for herd health

General procedures

  • The llama/alpaca herd health standard operating procedure (SOP) applies to all llamas/alpacas owned by WSU and defines the minimum preventive herd health.
  • Exceptions to the llama/alpaca herd health SOP must be approved by the IACUC or through veterinary consultation.
  • Before acquisition, consult with veterinary staff to review incoming health status and determine a quarantine, testing and housing plan.
  • All veterinary assessments and procedures must be documented in the animal’s medical record.

Introduction of new animals

  • On arrival:
    • Assign an Individual Animal Identification (IACUC SOP #7) and create an Animal Care Medical Record (example pdf) (IACUC Policy #4).
    • Complete a physical exam by a veterinarian, veterinary technician or trained animal care technician.
    • Quarantine away from resident animals for at least 2-4 weeks depending on risk factors. Observe closely for signs of illness and treat as needed.
    • Test for BVDV (Bovine viral diarrhea virus) if animal(s) intended to incorporate into existing herd or housing >6-8 weeks.
    • All animals should either be dewormed, FEC (fecal egg count) performed, or documentation of deworming within the last 6 months on arrival. See Table 1 for deworming options, or consult with a veterinarian.
    • Animals intended to incorporate into existing herds or housed >6-8 weeks should be vaccinated against Clostridium perfringens types C and D and Clostridium tetani. Alternatives and additions to core vaccines can be made with veterinary consultation.

Herd health maintenance

  • All assessments and procedures must be documented in the individual medical record.
  • Annual exams will be performed on each llama/alpaca by a veterinarian, veterinary technician or trained animal care technician. Annual assessment should include the following:
    • Dental exam and float as needed.
  • Annual shearing in the spring should be performed. This can be a whole-body clip or “barrel clip”.
  • Quarterly assessment should include the following:
    • Feet/toenails should be evaluated trimmed as needed.
    • Body condition scoring (BCS) should be performed to ensure timely intervention for disease processes such as overgrown incisors.
  • Vaccinate annually against Clostridium perfringens types C and D and Clostridium tetani (CDT).
  • Deworming schedule and choice can be based on frequent FEC surveillance to determine which anthelmintic to use.

Minor cuts, scrapes, or abrasions

  • If a llama/alpaca is noted to have minor cuts, wounds or abrasions, the area should be cleaned thoroughly with an antiseptic solution such as chlorhexidine or betadine (or equivalent) and a commercial salve or wound coat applied along with fly spray if in fly season. This can be done once daily for 2-7 days, while ensuring that the wound is healing and there is no worsening. If at any time the wound is draining or worsening, a veterinarian will need to assess and make a specific plan for the animal.
  • Daily documentation of treatment is necessary either in the form of a treatment sheet or in the medical record.


  • Free choice camelid or sheep labeled mineral mixes should be offered in every herd. Cattle, goat or horse mineral should not be offered to camelids because of the risk of copper toxicity.
  • Abrupt changes to the diet should be avoided, any changes should be introduced gradually over a period of several days.
  • Feed requirements of each animal should be determined and provided to prevent over or underfeeding.
  • Camelids must have unlimited access to fresh water.

Table 1. Camelid Dewormers

DrugDose (mg/kg)*RouteFrequency
Fenbendazole10-15PO (orally)Once


To obtain the documents below in a form accessible to persons with disabilities, please contact the Office of the Campus Veterinarian.

Effective Date: 11-3-23 NW