Much has been written and said about when to vaccinate alpacas. However, the fact is that no one knows the appropriate schedule because no challenge studies have been undertaken in which camelids have been vaccinated at specific ages and then challenged with the disease organism.
Veterinarians with livestock experience will usually recommend regimens similar to those used for other species. Our recommendation for clostridial protection is to vaccinate crias at 6-8 weeks with a booster 4-6 weeks later, followed by a booster at 6 months of age and then every 12 months thereafter. A booster shot given to pregnant alpacas 4-6 weeks prior to the anticipated birth of a cria helps to ensure maximum antibodies present in the colostrum at the time of birth. This should only be undertaken in quiet animals as stress around this time can lead to abortion.
On properties where clostridial disease has been the cause of problems in young animals, vaccination may take place as early as 6-10 days of age for at-risk cria. This will need to be followed up with a full program starting at 6-8 weeks as mentioned above.
If you have any questions about vaccination procedures/protocols, please don’t hesitate to contact us for advice.