Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
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Haemonchus contortus (barberpole stomach worm) is the primary internal parasite causing illness and death in goats. This worm has a short life cycle, produces many generations per year, sucks blood causing anemia, kills red blood cells that carry oxygen to internal organs including muscles, and kills goats. (Coccidiosis, another internal parasite, is a protozoan which does not respond to dewormers and requires a completely different medication.)

All dewormers used with goats must be given orally. No back drenching. No injections, with one exception (meningeal deerworm) which has nothing to do with Haemonchus contortus.

Do fecal counts under a microscope at least once a month. Not every goat has to be tested. Random selection of pellets should suffice. The only way you know what kinds of worms and what wormload exists is by doing fecals using McMasters slides and counting the number of eggs per gram. Fecal counts are mandatory for worm control.

FAMACHA is a field test only. Don't rely on it solely. The color of the inner lower eye membrane reflects only those worms that are already sucking blood and causing anemia. FAMACHA does not tell you how many worms are in the goat that haven't yet reached the point in their lifecycle to begin sucking blood.

Deworming does *not* mean it worked. The only way you know if your dewormer actually worked is to do fecal counts using McMasters slides and counting eggs per gram.

Learn to do your own fecals. Buy an MSK-01L microscope (corded, not battery powered) and the necessary supplies. "How do do your own fecals" is an article I wrote that is available on the Articles page at www.tennesseemeatgoats.com. Print it out. Read it. Re-read it. Use the information.

The white-colored dewormers (Safeguard/Panacur, Valbazen) don't kill stomach worms in most of the USA any more. Vets will recommend them because of short withdrawal time in meat and milk residue, but that doesn't help you if your goat dies from worms.

Don't use feed-based dewormers or dewormers that you top-dress on feed. Goats have a strict pecking order. The goat needing deworming the most will be the one who gets the least amount to eat.

Accurately dose dewormers. Under-dosing or over-dosing allows worms to mutate and learn to survive the dewormer. Everything we use for goats is off-label, so you must learn accurate dosing from a knowledgeable goat raiser.

Do not rotate dewormers. Use one dewormer until it quits working, then change to another class of dewormer.

Sometimes you have to use two different dewormers at the same time. When a really bad wormload exists, combinations of dewormers may be necessary. However, if the goat population is too dense and/or the weather is too wet, this will *not* solve the problem.

Use "Smart Drench" techniques. Only deworm goats in need of deworming. Use FAMACHA, fecal egg counts, and clinical signs of infection ("bottle jaw," rough hair coat, depression, off feed, diarrhea -- understanding that these symptoms can be the result of other issues, but you always begin by checking for worms) to identify wormy goats. Use a drenching nozzle (not an injection syringe) to place the dewormer over the back of the tongue. Dewormer deposited in the front of the mouth doesn't get into the proper part of the goat's rumen or may be spit out.

You can't depend upon veterinarians for accurate goat advice and care. Goats are a minor ruminant species (less than 1.9 million in the USA in 2013 and declining, down from 12 million in 1990), so vets don't receive much formal education about goats. Goats are not a sizable market for vets or pharmaceutical companies, so we have to learn how to use products off-label.

Over-crowded conditions and/or climate too wet = death sentence for goats. Under such conditions, you can de-worm repeatedly and not solve the problem. Some places are not suitable for raising goats.

Find a mentor who knows goats. With that person's assistance, educate yourself to better care for your goats.

Almost all problems with goats start with heavy worm loads. Proper management is 100% of raising healthy goats. Controlling worm loads is your starting point.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, ONION CREEK RANCH, Briggs, Texas 6.1.21

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All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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