Alpaca Nutrition News
Approximately 400 species of microorganisms
can be found in the ruminant/pseudo-ruminant gastrointestinal tract at any one
time. However, in the healthy animal, gut populations are dominated by just a
handful of beneficial microbes. These populous species are determined by diet,
including type and amount of forage.
When an animal experiences stress, many of
the predominating microbes die. This leaves gaps in the protective barrier they
usually present. These gaps are quickly filled by
opportunistic pathogens. These pathogens are usually always present, albeit
in small numbers, even In healthy animals.
Most opportunistic pathogens, including the
protozoans that cause coccidiosis, are not good competitors. Their numbers are
kept low by the big guns that predominate the gut. However, these predatory
types are always alert for openings.
Most of the protozoans that cause coccidiosis
belong to the family Eimeriidae. One of the remarkable things about this
pathogen is the short amount of time they need to get up and running, and make
your animals sick. Once they get their foot in the door, so to speak, they
quickly proliferate and irritate the lining of the gut. Different species within
family Eimeriidae prefer deferent areas of the gastrointestinal tract,
but all make the host animal miserable.
Fortunately, these pathogens are also
intimidated by probiotic microorganisms. Like the indigenous big guns, probiotics,
especially the more concentrated forms, can suppress coccidia proliferation if
given before, during and/or after the initiating stress.
If a stressful activity such as birth,
weaning, shearing, transportation, or showing is on the schedule, save yourself
a call to the vet and pre-treat with a concentrated probiotic. Repeated doses
are recommended after especially stressful activities such as showing.
Probably the most effective probiotic on the
market today is MSE. It comes in both drench and paste and is available
If the animal develops diarrhea, use
Scour-aid, either top-dressed or mixed in water and given orally. It is
recommended that Scour-aid be used in tandem with MSE drench or paste. Scour-aid
only controls the diarrhea, the MSE helps control the responsible pathogen.
Scour-aid can also be purchased at naturs-way.com.
Please write nutritionist Lark Burnham at
firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any