What Is a Llama Worm?

What Is a Llama Worm?

A meningeal worm, sometimes also referred to as a brain worm, llama worm or deer worm, is a parasite of the white-tailed deer that can be fatal when contracted by llamas. The meningeal worm causes severe damage to the llamas' central nervous system.

According to the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, some snails and slugs contain infective forms of meningeal worm larvae. When llamas eat these snails or slugs, the larvae migrate into their spinal cords or brains. Within 43 to 53 days, the meningeal worms cause tissue destruction and inflammation. Specific symptoms depend on the location of the worms within the llama's nervous system. Symptoms often begin with a limp and lead to paralysis. Meningeal worms in the brain cause blindness and an inability to eat, and they often lead to the death of the animal.