About bovine TB
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Although reports of infection in their natural habitat in South America are few, cases of TB have been diagnosed in llamas and alpacas in Great Britain.
There is no requirement to identify camelids or record their movements. A voluntary, private surveillance scheme for TB is available for the camelid industry.
Alpacas and llamas appear to be very susceptible to Mycobacterium bovis infection. Signs seen include loss of weight and respiratory signs. At post mortem examination, lesions are predominantly in the respiratory system although lesions are seen in other viscera in more generalised disease. Lung lesions are often very extensive and cavitation is common. Cavitation may be important in the spread of TB.
In England and Scotland, compensation of £750 is payable for each TB affected camelid taken for slaughter.
Post-mortem images of camelids (images include graphic content):
Consolidation and focal pale lesions of tuberculosis in the lungs of an alpaca (image source: APHA).
Very extensive lesions of tuberculosis in the lung of a llama with cavitation of the dorsal lung (image source: APHA).
Incised lung of an alpaca with tuberculosis showing cavitation (image source: APHA).
Caseous lesions of tuberculosis in the bronchial and mediastinal lymph nodes of an alpaca (image source: APHA).
Focal lesions of tuberculosis in the liver of a llama. The llama also had extensive lung lesions. Parasitic lesions of the liver are common in alpacas and need to be differentiated from tuberculosis (image source: APHA).