Spinose ear ticks and brain abscessation in an alpaca (Lama pacos)

Munashe Chigerwe, John R. Middleton, Ingrid Pardo, Gayle C. Johnson, Jeffrey Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


An eleven year old male alpaca (Lama pacos) was presented with a 2-week history of ataxia, intermittent seizures, left-sided head tilt and circling towards the left. The owner described episodes of seizure-like activity lasting 1-3 minutes, but the alpaca acted normally between episodes. On presentation the alpaca was depressed, ataxic on all four limbs, and preferred to remain sternal. The neurological deficits identified on history and physical examination were suggestive of asymmetrical brain stem disease. The seizure-like activity, circling, and tilting of head to the left, as reported by the owner were not observed during physical examination or hospitalisation. Initial diagnostic procedures revealed a mature neutrophilia, hyperglycaemia and elevated creatine phosphokinase. The CSF analysis was within reference range and no bacteria were recovered from culture. Initial therapy included intravenous lactated Ringer's solution at 50ml/kg/day and oxytetracycline (Oxybiotic-100; Butler) at 10 mg/kg IV q 24h. The following morning the alpaca's condition had deteriorated and permission was granted to euthanase. Gross necropsy revealed numerous nymphal and adult ticks in the left external ear canal adjacent to the tympanic membrane which were identified as Otobius megnini. A 2 cm diameter proliferation of bone accompanied by a caseous abscess was identified on the second molar of the left mandible. A 2.5 × 2 × 1.5 cm encapsulated mass with a 3mm capsule was adhered to the right lateral aspect of the brainstem, cerebellum and adjacent calverium contained exudate on cut surface was diagnosed as the brain abscess, histopathologically. Bacteriological culture of a swab from the brain abscess identified Arcanobacter pyogenes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-147
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Camel Practice and Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Alpaca
  • Arcanobacter pyogenes
  • Brain abscess
  • Otobius megnini

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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