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Summer: The Season of Worms
Probably about 85% of all goat health problems are rooted in worms. Goats are extremely susceptible to worms and will actually die if a successful worming program is not in place. Symptoms include sluggishness, loss of appetite, scours (diarrhea), drop in milk production, and many others. In fact, anytime a goat seems off, the first thing we check for is worms. Right now you should be proactively watching for worms. Heading it off at the pass is much better that nursing a goat back to health (or burying it).
Worms and other species of parasites, such as coccidian protozoa, invade the body, consume the vital oxygen-carrying red blood cells, wound tissue and excrete cancer-causing waste. Sick goats are often misdiagnosed and incorrectly treated for other diseases when a worm infestation has played the key causative role. A worm infestation can seriously impact the overall health of your goats. Although normally thought of in terms of the stomach and intestines as being the primary sites for these uninvited guests, parasites can also be found in the liver, muscles, joints, esophagus, brain, spinal column, blood, skin and even in the eyes.
Nothing is as good as sending a stool sample to the vet but the best quick check is to pull out the lower eyelid and check its color. Worms cause anemia (low red blood cell count). You want to see a nice, rich salmon color. If it is pale pink, or white, your goat most likely has worms.
Worm your goat. If you use a chemical wormer, make sure that do a second dosing 11 days after to kill the larva and eggs (now adult worms) that were missed during the first dose. Additionally, you will want to provide a course of probiotics to restore the natural balance to their digestive tract and start an iron supplement. Without the iron supplement it takes a very long time for the goat to rebuild its red blood count. If you have Bovi-Serum or Goat Serum, go ahead and give a 10cc sub-q injection. This will help strengthen the goat’s compromised immune system and possibly head off any additional ailment that is waiting to piggyback on the opportunity created by the worms.
Please remember, if you use chemical wormers, rotate what you use so that the worms don’t build up immunity. The three most commonly used chemicals are those in the generic families of ivermectin, albendazole, and morentel tartrate. These three generics are sold under many different brand names but close inspection of labels will disclose that each of these “different” brands is one of these three basic chemical families.
Proverbs 27:27 And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.