Anemia occurs when the red blood cell count is extremely low and results in a variety of symptoms, including weight loss, lack of energy and damage to the organs. If left untreated, anemia in camelids can also cause death.  With anemia and a low Red blood cell count, the blood has lower than normal hemoglobin (Hgb) levels.  Hemoglobin is the part of the red blood cell (RBC) that carries oxygen to all the cells in the body.

     Anemia in camelids often occurs as a result of parasites, specifically the Barberpole Worm which sucks a lot of blood from its host.  Famacha scoring on a regular basis can give you warning signs of anemia or a low red blood cell count.

     Check for a lot of weight loss, loss of pink color under the eyelids, and pale gums.

Pale Gums

Loss of pink color in eyelids

     If you animal is prone to anemia, any stress such as moving from location to location, parasites, or even birthing and nursing a cria can bring on anemic episodes.

     In cases of anemia, your animal can be tested for Mycoplasma haemolamae which is a toxin that causes anemia in llamas and alpacas.  Mycoplasma haemolamae destroys the red blood cells - a serious disease that can cause death.  See more about Mycoplasma haemolaemae here.

     Your llama or alpaca may need a blood transfusion to help boost its red blood cells and increase its immune reactions.

     Feeding your llama iron supplements, such as iron dextran will increase the red blood cell count.  Also a product called Red Cell, a supplement meant for large farm animals to help treat iron deficiency.  The addition of Vitamin B12 helps the body absorb iron.



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