First we have to say off the bat, if you come here looking for a straight answer on worms in camels and drenches / dewormers to use we don’t have it and anyone who gives a straight answer to parasites in camels doesn’t understand the science (which we learned the hard way).
We’re not here to pull the wool over your eyes, we want your camels (or the camels in your care) to have the best life possible with you and this WILL involve learning new things to avoid the painful mistakes – we’ve been there!
Luckily we’ve been learning from Dr. Margie Bale, who is a dedicated Camel Vet. Since gaining knowledge of her accurate & practical advice we have changed our entire camel care structure and honestly, we were surprised on how “wrong” we were getting some things.
From Camel Owner to Camel Owner (or carer) let’s talk about Worms (aka Parasites) in camels – AGAIN! If you missed the episode on What’s Killing Domestic Camels, we suggest you listen to that too.
The sad reality is that a camel’s immune system ISN’T well equipped to deal with parasites (aka Worms) unlike some other large animals.
One of the most common issues a new camel owner makes is they leave their camel’s health in the hands of – well, the camel.
This would be okay if the camel was living in it’s perfect desert environment of origins, but most domesticated are not found in a desert environment.
Meaning, the camel will graze pastures unnatural to them & their biology, maybe be fed grains (certainly not something they would eat in “the wild”) and get handed hay and treats meanwhile the owner/carer thinking that all is well because the camel ‘looks healthy’ (Also, been there!)
Watch the Video, listen to audio or read full episode…
Here’s the thing about camels….
CAMELS ARE SURVIVAL ANIMALS.
What does this have to do with worms and or health issues….
SIGNS OF WORMS IN CAMELS
Because camels are “survival animals” they will rarely show ‘early signs’ of a parasite problem (or any health problem for that matter), often until it’s too late, as an example: An extremely heavy worm burden.
Unless your camel has a see through stomach you cannot say for sure that your camel ‘looks healthy’ just from outside observations (been there too!).
The heath of the camel all depends on the health of their pseudo ruminant stomachs (a camel has 3 stomachs).
The signs that a camel has worms all depends on the camel.
I know, you just want a straight answer, but I would be fooling you if I gave you a straight answer.
This list “could” be a sign that your camel has worms, but the only way you can TRULY know for a fact is by testing (don’t try to cut corners, you’ll end up with deceased camels in the end, we learnt THAT the hard way):
Some signs that a camel might have worms:
- Loss of appetite
- Grumpy and not like “themselves” (remember most camel’s aren’t “grumpy” by nature)
- Visible worms in their poo (obvious!)
- Hair loss (although this could be a skin condition too)
- Lying down – a lot (a worm burden in camels does not make them feel well at all)
- Co-grazing with other species (especially sheep & goats)
- Blood / Mucus in poo
- Weight loss
- Liver disease
- Low milk yield (for milking camels)
- Reproductive disorders
- Abdominal pain / colic
- “Sudden” death (the WORST symptom – too late then)
We get it! No camel owner or carer likes to think that their camel is “unhealthy”….. We would feel like we failed them – they are our fur babies after all!
We’ve seen it time and time again, camel owners will reach out to us in urgency saying that they have a very sick camel, this always concerns us as we know that if the camel is really sick now, it’s been sick for a long time… AND 9 times out of 10, it’s a parasite (worm) burden issue.
The good news is that you can now stop the guessing game of if your camel is actually healthy or not.
One of the best routines we’ve implemented recently into our camel farm is monthly parasite testing and a VERY strict parasite control program that consists of something like this diagram.
Did we wish we started this sooner – hell yes!
Is the Parasite Control Program perfect all the time…? NOPE!
Do we skip a month here and there due “life, lifeing” us… Sometimes, Yes!
Did we wish that we “knew better” years ago so we could have better advised our students…? Um, Yes!
But it’s better we know than we don’t. “When you know better you do better.”
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF A CAMEL HAS WORMS (PARASITES)?
The only way to learn if a camel has a worm burden is to conduct a Parasite Test. This is the easiest, most accurate and simple way to find out if your camel has a worm burden.
If you want to DIY your own parasite testing for your camel (suggest this if you’ve got a herd of camels), or your local vet can perform the test and or some local agricultural Centers & University’s will do it free of charge. Just make sure it’s the RIGHT TEST FOR CAMELS, which we have a print out on in the show notes/blog link whenever you’re listening to this.
The important thing to remember is that it’s not safe for camels to have even a small worm burden – unlike cattle, horses and some other livestock. Most vets assume a small worm burden is okay for camels and suggest to “postpone” deworming until it’s a higher egg count.
The thing to remember is: Camels are desert animals. Interestingly enough if you remove a camel from their desert environment and test them for parasites (worms) they most likely will be worm free, which proves the point on how well suited camel’s are to their natural desert environment.
We [the camel owners] bring a ‘desert dweller’ into a domestic environment with green pastures, dry fodder (aka hay), grains (which are a “no no” for camels, shall we say for the camel’s STOMACH), we keep them confined to a small area (compared to what they are used to) and you have will have a parasite issue without proper Camel Parasite Control Program and Routine.
Which comes to the conclusion, if you own or care for camels then they MUST be on a parasite control program!
What does a Camel Parasite Program entail…?
Some really simple animal management strategies, remember you signed up for this whole “camel thing” so as a responsible owner you’re going to have to learn some new things (which we’re sure you’re already are aware of).
- Get the Know How on how & why camels are prone to parasites and get familiar with the parasites that are on your property (NOTE: No one property is the same, that is why learning this information is SO important to learn).
2. Get the camel(s) tested for parasites regularly (ideally every month) using the ‘camel specific’ parasite test (normal Float Test will not suffice). Here is the proper testing print out.
3. Believe it or not, the next step isn’t all about deworming. Deworming comes last after the important steps that we cover in the 3 part, Camel Parasite Control Program series in our Cameleer Academy Membership.
The thing is, maybe you’ve landed here to get a straight answer on what to deworm your camel with or just learn why your camel has worms.
Unfortunately there is not one answer to this. Parasites are complex things, more so for camels! Veterinarians spend a lot of their “study time” learning about parasites in animals.
We can’t give you a straight answer on worms in camels and deworming camels (because it’s SO different for every property), but we CAN offer you the Know How and knowledge you need to keep your camels free form those pesky worms that can deteriorate a camel’s health – sometimes quite severely to the point of death (we’ve seen this many times).
If you becoming a member of our Cameleer Academy and you’ll not only get access to the 3 Part, Camel Parasite Control Program but a library of camel information which includes…
🐫 Camel Vet Talks
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Our Cameleer Academy membership is an online portal for camel owners & lovers which consist of a Library 📚 of camel info including….
Become a member today (cancel your membership at any time – no hard feelings!) and start diving into this important information you need in order to keep your camels healthy and worm free!
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Happy Camel Connecting!