Controlling Internal Parasites in Goats
If you are new to raising goats, you'll need to first understand that treating goats for internal parasites will be mandatory in order to keep your goats healthy and herd safe. In my experience, breeds vary on their resistances to internal parasites and parasite load levels very drastically from goat to goat. Whether your goat is just a pet in the backyard, or you are raising goats for a hobby or profit, I will provide some helpful tips and tricks, step by step, on controlling internal parasites in goats. Please note that this is advice coming from a seasoned goat breeder and not a licensed veterinarian. You should always take the advice of your licensed veterinarian, especially ones that specialize in caprine. YOU assume all risks when implementing off labeled administration of drugs to your animal.
First, before you jump the gun and administer a dewormer, or more scientifically known as anthelmintic medicines, you need to know what type of internal parasite you're dealing with. For many years goat owners just administered various wormers, especially safe guard, as needed without properly dosing. By doing that, it has created a HUGE issue with parasite resistances to dewormers. Now, not many dewormers are as effective in certain parts of the country; now it's so wide spread as goats are no longer just regionally sold, they are sold and shipped to various places in the country within hours. So, what do you need to do to understand what worms your goat may have? The short and sweet answer, get a fecal.
Before I go on to discuss dewormers, you must also check the FAMACHA score of your goat. FAMACHA scoring is a quick visual inspection to see if your goat is anemic, which is the largest indicator on how fast you need to act on collecting a fecal. I have included the FAMACHA guide created by the South African Veterinarian Society, who created the FAMACHA anemia guide, for your viewing.
Obtaining a fecal from your goat is simple. You'll only need a ziplock baggie. Take the baggie and flip it inside out. Take your hand and place it inside the baggie and watch for your goat to deficate. Once your goat releases its pellets, collect about 5-10 pellets, put them in the baggie, and pull your hand out. Now what? While the goat poop is still warm and "fresh," you'll need to do one of two things. Either deliver to your veterinarian office or ship out to a company that conducts fecals, or conduct the fecal yourself. If you'd like to conduct your own fecal, check out my blog on how to conduct your own fecal for the step by step process. Once its determined under microscope that you've got worms, the type and the worm load, you can now treat accordingly.
Dewormers come in a variety of colors, dosages, and bottle sizes. Sadly, most are not labeled for use in goats. Your veterinarian is the only person that can issue you the use of off-labeled medications, such as dewormers. Most veterinarians will advise you to deworm as needed and its been recently discovered that the use of two different class of dewormers at the same time is more effective in killing normally resistant internal parasites. Once you have approval from your veterinarian to use off labeled dewormers on your goat(s), you will need to get, or at least keep on hand, dewormers based on the size of your herd for not only dosing amounts but cost effectiveness. You can purchase most dewormers, as well as other livestock items, on sites such as the following:
- Valley Vet https://www.valleyvet.com/
- PBS Animal Health https://www.pbsanimalhealth.com/
- Jeffers https://www.jefferspet.com/
- Revival Animal Health https://www.revivalanimal.com/?
Administering dewormers is best conducted when you can restrain them on a stanchion and drench with a drenching gun.
The American Fainting Goat Association has shared this dewormer chart for goats on their website. The chart is a great tool in understanding the various classes and amounts of dewormer for off-lable use.
Depending on the worm load, multiple doses maybe required to properly treat the goat(s). Always keep in mind the purpose of the goat. If you are using the goat as a pet, you will not need to understand withdrawal times. However, if you are using your goat for meat and milk, you will need to pay close attention to withdrawl times as this can impact the meat, milk, and pregnancy. When in doubt, call your veterinarian. You can also check the FARAD website, http://www.farad.org/wdilookup/wdi_goats.html, to verify withdrawl times.
Within as little as a few days, you will see dramatic improvements in your goat(s) appetite, hair color, and FAMACHA score.
American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control
Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank; a component of the Food Animal Residue Avoidance & Depletion Program
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