Wednesday, May 27, 2009

EMAC-Eimeria macusaniensis

This is also a dedication to
Paul Presidente

He was a walking excyclopeadia, heis passion for parasites, saved many farmers their farms, animals, and Australia's top Biosecurity level.
He dedicated his life to the study of parasites, he was my mentor, when I started exporting, he contacted me, and as he heard I was starting out, he said if i needed advice he would be there to assist...and he always was.
ANyone who knows me, i am precise about our worming program.
He worked tirelessly, many times in the middle of the night he would go to work, to do more testings, if ever there was an problem of anything he was there. His research for many years, is now our (and many other farer's ) normal worming methoids, and , management. Others do not know the man who wrote alot of these protocols, or did the research for the methoids to be used.
I was very priviledged to know Paul, and i was shocked when at 56, he was leaving work, and collapsed and died in the carpark of work, early this year.
I was so, so shocked. I miss him, as we would often talk on his fishing trips to Canada, (he was canadian).
Thank you Paul.
But his wealth of knowledge, was unequalled, he did talks all over the world on parasites, and was considered Australia's expert, but he did have a passion for Alpacas, as he was sent over to Nui island about 1994, where a group of approx 600 alpacas were being imported to Australia, and had to spend 12 months there on the island as an Australian Quarantine. Paul, supervised the alpacas and their parasite treatment, and started some of his research.
this is what he says about EMAC.
As an exporter, any alpacas that on go through to Europe, are exported firstly to New Zealand, and have to meet strict parasite protocol, as explained below in the exerpt of discription by Paul Presidente.
In this specilised sugar floatation test everything in the sample is identified, and there has to be ZERO count.
So once the alpacas leave Australia, we are certain, there is no Coccidia in any alpaca from this quarantine farm.
Although now Paul has died, the lab that we have to use for this testing is a NATA accredited lab, and this has to be on the export papers, as well it is like a licence. The lab we use has the licence to do this particular test, only 3 labs are authorised in Australia to do this test.
The labs are also regularaly checked by Animal Health Australia, who oversees the labs, and if they do not meet the standards and the protocol for doing this test, the labs will readily loose the right to do that testing.
I have also dedicated a page to our testing for the NEW Zealand Importing protocol. please glance at it, there is a lot of detail for anyone who wants to know about importing or exporting alpacas, via New Zealand.
Paul's exerpt explaination on EMAC - Eimeria macusaniensis

Paul Presidente-
a man who I can thank for assisting me to be able to perform as an AQIS Accredited Exporter of Livestock, and to be thorough in my duties.
Eimeria macusaniensis
otherwise known as Emac
Eimeria Macusaniensis ( we will refer to this as Emac )is a type of coccidia seen only in alpacas.There are four types of Eimeria, seen in alpacas.Emac though is rarely seen or identifies itself and even in research very few cases are ever seen.Coccidia is necessary part of life in any species, they have to have a burst of coccidia at one time (and usually around weaning age or lactating females), as then they will throw up antibodies and a life immunity to the disease.Without this the animal will not survive, as coccidia is everywhere and so if an animal is never exposed to a coccidia, they will have no immunity to fight it, because it is impossible that any animal will not be exposed to coccidia at any stage of life.The normal cycle of coccidia is that in times of stress, and I will say the most common forms of stress is transport, lactating females and weanings, a male just maturing and almost ready to work.When the animal is in this stage of life, and in a level of stress, will throw out more oocysts, in their faeces.As once the oocycsts hit air, it takes 48 hours for the oocycsts to sporulate and start multiplying and become able to reproduce. prior to the 48 hrs, they are not in any way contagious.Coccidia is normally also identified when doing random worm tests, but not all the coccidia can be identified under a normal faecal test, purely and simply, if requested, to look for any coccida or all coccida, then the samples are prepared differently for the oocysts to float to the surface.It is usually tested in a suger floatation methoid, but again the best way is to prepare the sugar floatation methoid, that Paul Presidente prepares, as well as it is the one required to meet the NZ protocol.Which is described by Egwang & Slocombe (1982), otherwise, the normal sugar floatation method used in most laboratories only takes 15 mins to prepare the sample, the one we use for quarantine takes 3 hrs to prepare.There are two ways of doing the sugar floatation one by salt and one by sugar.When you do it by salt, you only have it for about 20 minutes, and that is it, it crystallizes and goes to mush and you have lost it after that, but the sugar way it is good for 24 hours, because he gets excited over parasites, and he can pictures etc.He agrees that if you did the floatation with salt, it may not float up, but he always does it with sugar, and he identifies always all the coccidia and identifies the type of Coccidia. He said, Eimeria Macusaniensis (EM) compared to the normal coccidia normal is about 30 millimetre in width where the EM is 100 millimeter in length, and is dark and ugly, and also has four cells inside it). He identifies each species of coccidia, any mite eggs, and of course any worm eggs, and which ones, with the sugar floatation.As explained on the bottom of each lab report sent with the export permit, 3g sub-samples from each alpaca samples submitted were tested according to Parasitology Procedure #PR316. This procedure is adapted from the “Worm Egg Testing Procedure for Export/Import Animals” developed by AgriQuality (now Gribbles) New Zealand. This technique is a highly sensitive test and based on a method for testing cattle faeces described by Egwang & Slocombe (1982).Paul Presidente has told me, that he is the only person in Australia registered to complete this procedure of testing with New Zealand, and had worked hard with New Zealand to adapt the sugar floatation to meet New Zealands standards.He also explained to me many times, that the procedure of even setting up and preparing each sample takes about 3 hours just to prepare.He is very interesting to talk to, and is the main researcher for parasites in Australia, and has completed an extensive study that went over many years, and covering about 200 animals for about 5 years, and following each animal through the whole study.He told me that he has seen in his testing 4 types of coccidia in the animals that have gone to new Zealand, ( over many years), he still identifies each one, and how many, and keeps records of each animal going over. He said that he himself has seen EMAC personally 3 times. The first time on an island in South pacific (Nuie Island) that was used for quarantine for the second shipment of Peruvian Alpacas to Australia.The animal’s faeces were normal, and she was healthy and did not come down with any illness or have any coccidia symptoms.The second time, he saw, I think, he said, a cria from this same shipment, that was being looked after by Dr Ewen McMillan, from Geelong, (regarded as an Australian Alpaca Vet Expert), and this cria, had lost condition, and did have loose faeces, and they treated her with the Sulpha treatment, and that cria went on to live a normal life. He explained to me that the animals are most susceptible to have bouts of coccidia where they throw out the oocycsts, and the most vulnerable time, is a lactating mother, a cria, and of course a cria being weaned. He has done studies of this on sheep, and is conducting studies all the time.In his time he has tested over 1500 alpacas to go to New Zealand. He said that firstly, when something or other coccidia are identified, (other tha those being exported) he then checks to make sure the animal is healthy, and the faeces is pelleted. and in their experience if the alpaca is in a healthy state and the faeces is pelleted, there seems to be no problem with the animal, the animal is healthy, and shows no sign of loosing condition it appears not life threatening. Then he notes it, and it goes no further, but before this he checks up with the covering veterinarian to make sure that the animals is performing normal, and they are asked to keep noting the said animal. He said this is sometimes a normal life cycle an animal will go through, and then they will throw up immunity to this
If it is found in an export shipment, the alpaca would be rejected from being exported.
The times that they are likely to get a bout of it, is when they female is lactating, they generally will throw up a few of these oocycsts, and then the cria will often pick it up from the mother, and everything will be alright, other than when you start weaning it, and then the weanling under stress from the weaning process will then throw up some oocycsts then they will have a bout of it, until it's immune system kicks in and they develop an immunity of it., and this goes on and on.Once an animal that has coccidia oocysts, has expelled faeces, 48 hours later the oocysts will sporulate, and it will take about 13 days later before any significant signs of coccidiosis is seen.The only form of transmission, is for contact with the sporulated species.This is completely the only way.It cannot be transmitted between animals mating, as is claimed by one person in NZ.In normal farming husbandry, if a group of animals are shedded, in close quarters for a few days, and the bedding is not completely removed (I mean completely), on a daily basis, and then not disinfected, then this will encourage contamination.The simple reason also, is the stress of being shedded or housed in a situation, will make any animal that picks up the sporulated oocysts more susceptible, purely the stress of housing.In our quarantine facilityWe clean all faeces off the mats that the animals are housed on twice daily, first thing in the morning, and then in the afternoon. The animals are house on compressed gravel, but on top is a meshed mat, so all urine will run through to the gravel, and the faeces is on top. We pick up all the faeces.We also then pressure clean any of the main areas that the dung has been on, and then the whole area, not just the dung areas, is then sprayed with a chlorine solution (to Paul’s directions), and alternately, (disinfected and nucidole (ectoparasite treatment), on a rotating daily routine).As once the oocycsts hit air, it takes 48 hours for the oocycsts to start multiplying and become able to reproduce. prior to the 48 hrs, they are not in any way contagious.But all faeces have been removed well before this stage, and moved off the whole facility, and also any bacteria etc would be killed through the chlorine solution.Paul Presidente, and MAF agree- it is most unlikely that any cross contamination can occur in our quarantine facility, because of our cleaning methods.As our Parasitologist is a world expert, and had completed research and knew of others who had also researched parasites in alpacas, over studies taking over quite a few years, and was willing to share his knowledge.
In read on a recent Private breeders newsletter, (and obviously this breeder does not know a lot about coccidia and Emac and a lot of assumptions were made), the animal when it expels the oocysts, it is random, and it does not shed for 30 days.For example on the research completed in Australia, each time the researchers took samples, was 20 times on each animal over a 3 day period, as they can shed here and there, and not constantly and not for a 30 day period.By taking 20 samples, they can assess it properly, as they may take a sample today with no oocysts, but tomorrow there may be 5, and the next day none.I think you may notice that I have not mentioned Emac specifically without mentioning coccidia, as all the coccidia is treatable, and unless poor farm management will not cause any problems.For example, I was speaking to some breeders who used to breed goats, and chickens, and they can tell you or any goat and chicken breeder can tell you, if you have poor cleaning methods in sheds that house a lot of animals, you will without a doubt, get coccidia.It is also safe to mention that it will not cause or get ever to an epidemic.
Emac is about 3 tims larger and heavier than the normal coccidia, and so a normal sugar floatation test will not reveal it.
Because it is heavier, they need longer to float up, that is why they leave it for 3 hours, to get all eggs and oocysts to the top.

I would like to point out again- no alpaca from Australia has EMAC -they have been thoroughly checked and cleared of any endoparasites.
As quoted from New Zealand Biosecurity-
Oocysts of this coccidian species, which
are readily recognisable by their dark brown colour and pyriform
shape, measure 81-100 μm long by 60-80 μm wide. They also have
thick oocyst walls (approximately 8-12 μm thick) and an obvious
micropylar cap (Figure 1). Eimeria macusaniensis is considered by
some to be highly pathogenic in alpacas(4). However, although this
coccidian may have the potential to cause death and disease in both
young and adult camelids, the regularity with which it is likely to do
so may have been somewhat overstated.

I read on alpaca nation an experience, as printed here,
She was in with a group of females at various early stages of pregnancy so the farm owner wisely contacted Dr. Toni Cotton, who specializes in camelid reproductive issues. Her reply was that Corid and Albon have variable effects on EMac and are not as consistant as Ponazuril in successfull treatment. Ponazuril is the ONLY known effective treatment for EMac. EMac can encyst in the intestinal tract and cause chronic protein loosing enteropathis, weight loss and ill thrift, usually the only signs you see. There is no egg shedding when this happens and that is one of the reasons it is hard to detect. Also, there is none of the telltele diarrhea that is seen with the other coccidias. Beacuse the effects of Ponazuril on the developing fetus is unknown, it was recommended that this group of females be kept together until all were at least 90 days out on their pregnancies and then treat THE ENTIRE GROUP for 3 days with Ponazuril and retest in 2 weeks. All the previously positive animals were then testing negative, as they did again in another 2 weeks. The reason it seems to be 'harder to treat' as you stated, is that many falsely believe they can treat with Albon or Corid. Treatment with Ponazuril has been 100% effective in the cases I have known of personally. "as quoted from topic.

I have heard that baycox is also a good treatment, and pre caution, if animals are going to be understress and mixed with other animals from different farms, dosage.
Baycox - dose rate is 20mg/Kg. Best regime is give this dose on two consecutive days, then repeat in 10 days.

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