Camelid TB Support & Research Group

Mike Birch                            

Dianne Summers                 

Help and Support for those affected by Bovine TB in Alpacas & Llamas

Email: Support@alpacatb.org

07711 927526

 07949 511316

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This is the inside of the trachea of an alpaca which was culled as a companion animal. The pale purulent matter in the centre of the ulcerated lining is full of M. bovis bacteria, ready to be exhaled out at every breath.

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These are cut open mesenteric lymph nodes from the abdomen of a tuberculous alpaca. They have enlarged to 10 - 20 times normal size and are full of cheesy dry pus, plentiful in M. bovis but poorly supplied with blood. The dark organ alongside is spleen, showing miliary spread of smaller abscesses. Alpacas with abdominal lesions are highly likely to shed M. bovis in the faeces.

 

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This is the cut surface of a tuberculous alpaca lung showing a liquefactive flowing abscess, again, highly infectious in expired breath, and devastating the lung tissue.

 

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This specimen shows the lymph nodes in the centre of the chest, between the lungs. They have enlarged to 20 times their normal size, and are filled with thick cheesy pus, full of M. bovis but with a poor blood supply.

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This is the cut surface of a tuberculous alpaca lung, showing the depth and extent of the tuberculous lesion. Airways, and therefore breath, would be contaminated by this lesion.

 

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This shows the cut surface of a tuberculous alpaca lung affected by so called miliary abscesses.  These are tiny abscesses seeded throughout the lung tissue, causing much tissue damage and a very infectious patient.

 

The PM images on the left of this page show the effects of TB. Compare them to the slides of normal tissue on the right. Hover your mouse over the images to enlarge. TB lesions in alpacas and llamas are not found just in the lungs, but throughout the organs - liver, lungs, abdomen, spleen, kidneys etc and have also recently been found in the udders of a female. Lesions have also been found in a 7 week old cria.

1. This alpaca passed skin test twice. He was given up as a companion because he was isolated with a herd mate who had a cough. This alpaca had no symptoms at all and culled only because he was used as a companion.


2, 4, 6. This alpaca passed the skin test 3 times but failed the rapid stat pak blood test. No outward symptoms except wasn't his usual self and one day he went from being difficult when having his toe nails done to being totally compliant.


5. This alpaca had passed the skin test twice but was euthanized due to "That cough" and continuous hiccups - no other symptoms -no weight loss, nothing.

In none of the alpacas in the images below was weight loss a symptom. None of the alpacas died suddeny or become so severely ill that it had to be euthanized. All these alpacas seemed perfectly healthy - Be aware that weight loss is at the end stage.

Thanks to Dr. Gina Bromage MA,Vet MB,DVM,MRVCS for the clinical explanations, and to Karin Mueller MVSc, DCHP, ECBHM, MRCVS for the healthy tissue photographs on the right of the page.

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Normal looking lung with a non-TB abscess in it. Note how little effect there is on the surrounding tissues.

 

Normal alpaca lung and heart viewed in the chest at post mortem.

Normal alpaca lungs removed from chest.

TB lesions in alpacas and llamas are not found just in the lungs, but throughout the organs - liver, lungs, abdomen, spleen, kidneys etc.

Images kindly provided by members of the TB Support Group.

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