May 19, 2011

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Kalispell, MT 59901
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TOPIC: Biosecurity for Llama Shows

By: Kristy Brown, DVM


The recent outbreak of the neurological form of Equine Herpes Virus has raised many questions about the safety of transporting our llamas to shows. Here are some points to consider:

1.      Equine Herpes Virus has a very low infection rate in camelids and the animals at most risk are the ones housed in close proximity to horses. The virus is spread by direct contact with nasal secretions of infected horses. The transmission of the virus from horse to horse is very high, but the infection rate from horses to camelids is low with very few cases documented. There is no evidence in the literature that the virus can be passed from camelid to camelid and while the virus may cause a “storm” of disease in a group of horses, the few cases of disease in camelids were isolated to individual animals.

2.      The virus does not persist long in the environment – estimates are approximately seven days in arid conditions and up to 30 days in wet, humid conditions.

3.      Every time we take our llamas to a show we expose them to new virus/bacteria so good Biosecurity including quarantine for 3 weeks after the event, fecal exams, use of separate water/feed containers for show animals and quarantine group, disinfection of trailers, hand washing, boot washing, etc. are important ANY time we commingle llamas, or any species for that matter. There are many infectious agents in any facility that houses any type of animal, so we all need to be cautious when transporting/housing our animals off the farm.

The ILR-SD Show Superintendent has been in contact with the Iowa State Veterinarian Office and has been told they have no concerns about us holding The Gathering. As of this press release, May 19, 2011, the Iowa State Veterinarian Office has no restrictions on the movement of camelids into Iowa – the current requirements are a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection. It is advised however, that you have your veterinarian contact the IA Department of Agriculture prior to issuing your health papers to be sure the IA rules have not changed in the interim.

As an added precaution, members of the ILR Board are planning to spray the stalling areas with a veterinary hospital antiviral disinfectant prior to the arrival of animals for The Gathering. This process will minimize the low risk of Equine Herpes Virus as well as provide protection from other virus and bacterial organisms that may be on the stall contact surfaces.


We hope everyone attends The Gathering as well as other llama shows. As always, good Biosecurity is the key to protecting your llama herd. If you have further questions or concerns, please contact your veterinarian or ILR Board member, Dr. Kristy Brown at 608-269-3292.


Click on the following link for information from Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital regarding the recent EHV-1 outbreak:



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