Camelids (for example llamas, alpacas)

Although reports of infection in their natural habitat in South America are few, cases of TB have been diagnosed in llamas and alpacas in Great Britain. There is no requirement to identify camelids or record their movements. A voluntary, private surveillance scheme for TB is available for the camelid industry. Alpacas and llamas appear to be very susceptible to Mycobacterium bovis infection. Signs seen include weight loss and respiratory signs. At post mortem examination, lesions are predominantly in the respiratory system although lesions are seen in other organs in more generalised disease. Lung lesions are often very extensive and cavitation is common, where lung tissue is destroyed and replaced by a cavity. Cavitation may be important in the spread of TB.

In England, compensation for camelids which are compulsorily slaughtered as TB reactors or TB affected animals is:

  • £1500 for a stud male or breeding female over 18 months old
  • £750 for a non-breeding animal over 18 months old
  • £750 for an animal 18 months old or younger


Further information

Defra guidance on managing TB in camelids, including movement restrictions and compensation

The Tuberculosis (Deer and Camelid) (England) Order 2014

Tuberculosis (Non-bovine animals) Slaughter and Compensation (England) Order 2017

Camelid TB support and research group: help and support for those affected by bovine TB in alpacas and llamas

British Alpaca Society (BAS)

British Llama Society (BLS)

Research Gate: Stevens JB, Theon CO, Rohonczy E, Tessaro S, Kelly HA, Duncan JR. 1998. The immunological response of llamas (lama glama) following experimental infection with Mycobacterium bovis.


Post-mortem images of camelids (images include graphic content):


Consolidation and focal pale lesions of tuberculosis in the lungs of an alpaca (image source: APHA).


Very extensive lesions of tuberculosis in the lung of a llama with cavitation of the dorsal lung (image source: APHA).


Incised lung of an alpaca with tuberculosis showing cavitation (image source: APHA).


Caseous lesions of tuberculosis in the bronchial and mediastinal lymph nodes of an alpaca (image source: APHA).


Focal lesions of tuberculosis in the liver of a llama. The llama also had extensive lung lesions. Parasitic lesions of the liver are common in alpacas and need to be differentiated from tuberculosis (image source: APHA).