Parasites of the genus Eimeria are involved in the neonatal diarrhea complex of alpaca (Vicugna pacos) crias, and infection by Eimeria is commonly known as coccidiosis. There are limited reports of these protozoa in clinically asymptomatic crias. In this study, fecal samples from 78 clinically asymptomatic alpaca crias were analyzed to evaluate the prevalence, parasitological load, and diversity of Eimeria species. This study was conducted in the Quenamari community located in the Peruvian Andes (Marangani, Cuzco) at 4500 m above sea level. All fecal samples were examined for parasites using the quantitative McMaster and modified Stoll techniques. Microscopic examination showed the presence of Eimeria oocysts in 68 out of the 78 samples (87.18%). Among the 78 samples we found E. lamae in 67 (85.90%), E. punoensis in 49 (62.82%), E. alpacae in 42 (53.85%), E. macusaniensis in 32 (41.03%), and E. ivitaensis in four (5.13%). Regarding parasitized crias, overall there was a mean parasitological load of 43,920 oocysts per gram of feces (OPG). Eimeria lamae had the highest parasitological load (mean 206,600 OPG). These findings could be due to environmental contamination with oocysts of different Eimeria species. Additional research is needed to determine if this burden of coccidiosis could produce subclinical impacts to the health of alpaca crias.
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