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E. mac
Mycoplasma haemolamae

Mycoplasma heaemolamae, formally called Epe, is a blood parasite that affects llamas and alpacas. There is much that we do not know about Mycoplasma. How significant is positive test? How is it transmitted and what is the best way to treat a positive animal are still unanswered questions.

While many apparently healthy animals will test positive for the parasite, not all show clinical signs. In one report, approximately 25% of animals tested were positive. Not all of these animals were clinically ill, but were positive for the parasite. Suspected routes of transmission of the parasite from one animal to another is by blood sucking insects, contaminated needles used on multiple animals and possibly from mother to offspring across the placenta.

Mycoplasma haemolamae can cause severe anemia in infected animals. This parasite attaches to the red blood cells and causes damage to the Red Blood Cell (RBC) membrane which causes it to be destroyed. Anemia, weight loss and ill thrift are the result of severe infections. Current theories are that many animals are infected but if their immune system is functioning normally, the animal is able to “handle” the infection and appear normal.
If an animal is stressed either by natural events or if given high doses of corticosteroids, an animal that is carrying the parasite can become clinically ill and show anemia and weight loss. These animals should be treated to control the parasite. Tetracycline’s such as LA 200 are the drug of choice for treatment.
Consult your veterinarian for specific treatment recommendations.