ALPACA HAIR LOSS
Alpaca hair loss, also called alopecia, can be a simple matter or a complex problem. How do you know which it is? First thing you need to do is closely examine the skin where the hair loss has occured. Make a note of the skin condition.
Is the skin normal? Is it red, flaky, crusty, or thick? If it is normal then you probably have a simple problem. If there are signs of redness, flaking, thickness, it's crusty or has pus, then your problem is probably more complex. The more complex matters could be
mites or mange,
ringworm, a fungus, Vitamin A deficiency (be careful - too much vitamin A is toxic), or a zinc problem. In those cases, you need to get with your vet to determine a course of treatment.
If the skin is normal, then it could easily be treated by you. A common alpaca hair loss is on the bridge of the nose. This is probably due to the alpaca rubbing it's nose due to irritation from flies. This usually occurs in summer and the alpaca's hair will grow back during the winter.
We have seen hair loss on our alpaca's noses and face during the summer. We suspect it is the way they are getting their food from the feeder or they are rubbing their nose and face on the wooden feeder. It always grows back, so it's not such a big deal.
When would it be a big deal? Well, if you plan on showing or selling the alpaca it might make a difference to you. So what can you do about it? We have found several different remedies that other alpaca owners have tried with varying degrees of success. It seems you just need to try these and see which one works for your alpaca. Here is the list:
- A & D ointment
- Bag balm
- Vitamin E oil
- Preparation H
- Oil of Olay (product with zinc oxide & titanium oxide)
- Udder cream
Rub one of these on the bald spot once a day. Our favorite is bag balm. We use it a lot on our farm for many things. Many others say Vaseline works great. You might have to replace your feeder with something different if they are using it to rub on and it is causing the hair loss.
If your alpaca's fiber is breaking off short and coming out in handfuls, it may be due to something that happened three to five months prior. Was your alpaca stressed or sick? It may have a problem with it's fiber breaking. Don't worry too much. It will grow back, it will just take a while. Up to two years.
Alpaca hair loss can be treated by you if it is simple. More complex hair loss needs to be addressed with your vet. Most hair loss is not serious, just unsightly.
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