Camelid TB Support & Research Group

For help and support                  

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



Can alpacas and llamas get bTB?                                                                      

Yes they can.

Can they be treated?

No. If they test positive for bTB legally they  must be culled.

Is there a vaccine available?

No. There are trials currently but it is likely to be some years away.

Can they pass it to each other?

Yes - and to other species including people. BTB is a zoonotic disease that crosses species.

Is there a test for bTB incamelids?

Yes. Skin tests and blood tests. The skin test is very poor at detecting disease, but the available data shows that it enhances the effectiveness of the blood tests. Depending on how the blood tests are applied and read, they may only have just over a 50% chance of detecting the disease so are no guarantee or freedom from disease, however not testing at all gives you a zero chance of detecting TB. Testing is available from through your vet though APHA and a private company.

The position in 2021

Since this website was created in 2010, some things have changed, but TB remains as serious a threat as ever.  

From a position where there were no reliable tests available, so no way oput of a bTB breakdown, there are now blood tests that help with the detection of bTB. It must be understood however that there are different ways in which the tests are applied and interpreted, which can mean that on any one animal they may have only around a 50/50 chance of detecting the disease. If you don’t test at all though you have zero chance of detecting the disease, so testing is one of the ways forward. The application of blood tests and the stronger legislation will hopefully find and remove infection from those herds that have had an ongoing TB problem which in some cases has led to the spread of infection to other herds through animal movements.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the need to risk-assess any contacts through movements and purchases. Consider where you are buying from carefully and ask In WRITING whether TB has been a problem in the vendor herd. This allows you to make your own decisions and request blood tests.

Be aware that the disease is real and present, and has the ability to kill your alpacas.

Educating yourself about bTB, knowing how to assess the risks involved with buying, mating and moving your alpacas is the first line of defence.

Follow the science not rumour