Leptospirosis strain discovered in alpaca for first time floors researchers

By: Jill Galloway 
Photo: By Warwick Smith/stuff 
Photo Caption: Leptospirosis has been found in New Zealand alpaca for the first time.
Original content from Stuff.  

A leptospirosis strain has been found in New Zealand alpaca for the first time.

The disease is a known dairy cow complaint, which is sometimes passed on to dairy and abattoir workers.

New findings that alpacas are also vulnerable to the disease were revealed at the International Leptospirosis Society Conference.at Palmerston North. In humans it can appear as a minor flu-like sickness, but may put some people in intensive care at hospital with lasting kidney or liver damage.

Massey University member of the Leptospirosis Research Group, Dr Julie Collins-Emerson, said it was a surprise to researchers that a veterinarian testing a dog clear for the disease, found it in alpacas at a neighbouring property.

She said leptospirosis was confirmed in a breeding alpaca herd in Manawatū.

Two young alpacas died from the disease and 12 other pregnant alpacas aborted.

Researchers believe only a few cases exist in South America of alpacas found with leptospirosis.

Read the rest of this story and view the photos at Stuff.