Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The silent killer
These videos (click left hand arrow to view) were kindly sent by one of the members of the Camelid TB Support Group. We have permission to use them. Their purpose is not to break your heart (and it will) but to show you how perfectly healthy a young alpaca can look (this cria was under a year old) - and yet be riddled with TB having PASSED a skin test.
The first clip was taken an hour before he was put down. He was in his pen - alone, waiting to be culled. He wasn't showing ANY signs of ANY illness let alone TB. He had passed the skin test twice, but failed the blood test. He is eating, inquisitive, bright and has no weight loss. No outward signs at all.
This alpaca was culled one hour after the footage was taken. He had TB lesions throughout his entire organs. This is the silent killer known as TB. Alpaca owners cannot rely on the skin test alone to detect TB infected animals. They cannot trade with any confidence when out of restriction having only used the skin test.
Advice from alpaca vet, Gina Bromage is to not consider selling, showing or moving alpacas around for a minimum of one year (possibly longer) - on the back of a negative skin test. As the video clip clearly shows , a negative skin test in alpacas does not mean a lot and stresses the importance of the blood tests and the current research into the gamma interferon validation project and the hope of a reliable ante-mortem TB test.
(This posting from Dianne Summers, who runs the Camelid TB Support Group)