Tag Archives: chemical wormer

Drug Resistant Parasites in Goats Part III

12 Sep

With so many different opinions and not getting any closer to a solution on how to protect my goats from parasites, I finally called the vet I work with most on my goats and requested he come to my farm for a consultation.  It was the best thing I could have done.  Instead of just stopping in the office and having distractions, it gave him a chance to review the literature.  It also gave me time to review all my records, and when he arrived, I could fill him in on all the details, rather than the hit-and-miss that comes with working with multiple vets.  If you’re just joining me in this series, you might want to read

Part I
Part II

What I Had Been Doing

What I had been doing was using the herbal wormer on my adult goats.  Towards the end of summer, I would have a couple of goats I’d have to worm.  This time of year my pasture isn’t as good a quality (especially in drought years) and they are still raising babies.  Kizzy and Dolly get wormed almost every summer.

Kizzy and Little Bit

Kizzy and Little Bit

Most of my adults haven’t been given a chemical wormer in quite some time.  In fact, Meg hasn’t had a chemical wormer since 2008.  I have things under control with the adults by using the herbal wormer and an occasional worming when someone is sick or run down with kids.  Of course, with Iowa State telling me I can’t use Cydectin or it will be ineffective, I didn’t know what to do this summer when I had four goats that I wanted to worm, so I hoped they could hang in until I had the consultation with my vet.

Clover Blackboer

Clover Blackboer avoiding the heat

The kids are my main problem.  I had been worming them all with a chemical wormer (Ivomec) between ages 6 and 8 weeks.  That’s what I did this year with the Valbazen, but it didn’t work for all of them.  In the past, by the time they would need wormed again, they would be solidly on the herbal wormer.  This worked well until the Ivomec quit working and the Iowa State Vets told me I couldn’t use Cydectin without it becoming ineffective.

Bullwinkle eating hay

Bullwinkle eating hay

I’ve also noticed that the kids born in March are much better off than the ones born in June.  Because of pasture conditions, they seem to be out of the worm egg infested barnyard sooner, eat sooner and get on the herbal wormer sooner.  In fact, I haven’t wormed any of the three kids left on the farm that were born in March.  Myson, who was born last March, has never had a chemical wormer but has some of the reddest eye membranes on the farm.

Myson Osboer

Myson Osboer

This year, my three month weight on the March babies is at least an average of 15 – 20 pounds heavier than the June babies.  The March moms don’t get as run down either.   This is why I would love to have all my kids born in March.

My Vet’s Recommendation

The vet’s recommendation was regularly scheduled de-worming with one wormer that works.  He says he uses pancour when his kids are 4 and 8 weeks old.  He also regularly worms his adult goats.  You have to decide the best time to worm adults.  One time that would be the most beneficial is after finishing kidding.  Then moving the goats to a fresh pasture would help keep them cleaned out.  Rotating pasture is a good way to keep down the exposure to parasites.

Muffin Osboer and Kizzy Street

Muffin Osboer and Kizzy Street

Another time is in the fall when they come off pasture for the winter.  In my climate, it’s a necessity to dry lot in the winter months.  We typically don’t see worm problems this time of year because of the cold and snow, but it’s also because of the life cycle of the Haemonchus.  It has to have moisture and grass to complete its life cycle.  Dry lotting can eliminate the grass.  It does still require good maintenance, or you can end up with the coccidia because of unclean conditions.



Keeping their feed off the ground is another way to help lessen the likelihood of them ingesting worms.  I’ve never figured out how to adequately do this.

Another option he outlined was early weaning of kids (when their rumens are functioning and they are able to get their nutrition without nursing).  This would allow me to dry lot the kids and possibly use coccidia preventatives in their feed.  It also takes the stress off their mothers trying to provide food for themselves and their kids when the pasture quality isn’t as good.

Ralph (the unweanable kid) and Clover

Ralph (the unweanable kid) and Clover

He assures me that if you stick with a wormer that works and you are using routine scheduled worming to clean them all out at the most beneficial times, you will not have problems with resistance that comes with overuse.

My Vet’s Thoughts on the Famacha Charts

I did ask him about the Famacha chart and using eye color as a way to determine worming.  He said, and I quote, “I’m not a Famacha man.”  (Cue The Village People, Macho Man and everyone sing, “famacha, famacha, man; I’m not a famacha man.)  His reasoning is that it isn’t effective with kids.  Their blood volume is such that they can go from perfectly fine to dead in two days (Potsie).  Also, by the time they show a need to be wormed, they are already run down and likely to continue growing worse (Simon).  If you do regularly scheduled worming, you eliminate those problems and don’t risk getting into the cycle of re-woming every couple of weeks.

In adults, he’s still not convinced on the effectiveness of the charts, and added the time consumed by checking eyes every day makes it impractical.  It’s easy not to check every day, and by the time someone does decide to check the goat’s eyes, they’ve already seen other signs.  He also mentioned that it is subjective.  He did nod when I mentioned my Millie goat that was anemic and tested clean.  It’s not that uncommon.

Skinny Kizzy

Skinny Kizzy

My aside.  I would guess, if people used both the Famacha followed up by a fecal for confirmation of the results, we’d hear more instances of it not being accurate.  It is one tool, and it can help determine the general health of a goat.  Kizzy was pure white and skin and bones.  I did the fecal, and she had 7 eggs on the slide, which is not consistent with white eyes caused by parasites.  She gives everything to her kids, which is why I wanted to retire her this year.  I did worm her, however, because any parasite when she’s that anemic is enough to cause her system to crash.  I also weaned her kids.  If we weren’t in the midst of record heat and I could find a place to shut her in, I might have delayed worming and fed her hard to build her system up, but it was too dangerous with the heat.  That’s what I did with her last year (and then I tried retiring her from having babies).

My Advice

If you are having problems with drug resistant parasites, decide why.  Is it because you are not regularly worming all the goats and end up constantly worming one here and there and battling worms because they are quickly reinfested?  Did you buy a new animal that brought them onto your property?  If it’s from your worming practices (over-worming, using multiple wormers), stop.  Figure out a routine worming schedule and stick with it, using only one kind of wormer.

Joe and Joani

Joe and Joani

If you don’t know what wormer will work for you, it might not be a bad idea to get some help.  See if your vet can send a sample to be tested to discover what drug will work best.  Make sure you are doing fecals before and after treating.  Find one and stick with it.  Do not change between wormers.  I cannot emphasize that enough.

Have good management practices.  I think one of the best things you can do is to make sure you have good practices in nutrition (feed and mineral supplements) and hygiene (not overcrowding, cleaning out barns).  Every summer, Flower goes off grain because she doesn’t want to eat it.  I have a very large pasture and she’s content with just browsing, which means she’s not getting herbal wormer.  She’s not been wormed with a chemical wormer since she was a baby.  I can’t say whether it’s the herbal wormer that protects my adult goats or that they have good nutrition and plenty of space.



Granted, Flower’s not raising kids and it’s easier for her to stay healthy than it is for my moms, but it serves to illustrate that keeping them healthy will help them handle the parasite load they have.

Another note on herbal wormers:  not all herbal wormers are created equally, and there is very little research on their effectiveness.  I really recommend doing fecals before and after to determine their effectiveness.  When in doubt, go with the regularly scheduled worming when it will have the most impact rather than guessing with herbal wormers.

If you don’t have problems with drug resistance, but you don’t have a clear plan for parasite management, get one.

My Plan

With a huge sigh of relief, I pretty much plan on going back to what I was doing, but using the Cydectin.

  • Routine planned worming of kids at 4 and 8 weeks  (I will worm all the kids at one time, so they will actually range 4-6 weeks and then 8-10 weeks)
  • Use herbal wormer religiously with adults (and kids over 8 weeks)
  • Kidding when the pasture conditions will be most beneficial to kid and mom health
  • Maintain proper nutrition for good health
  • Keep a clean environment (clean barns out; not overgrazing pastures)
  • Use fecals to determine need for worming adults
  • Find Kizzy a chastity belt because three is way more than the zero kids I planned for her to have
Kizzy and unauthorized kids Cora, Little Bit, and Quigley

Kizzy and unauthorized kids Cora, Little Bit, and Quigley

My only hope is that my little Boer girls hadn’t been given Cydectin along with the other drugs.  As I was doing some of my most recent research, I found that the information on available wormers I’d been given for the last several years was a bit inaccurate.  There are three classes of wormers.  You have your white wormers (Pancour and Valbazen).  Ivermectin and Cydectin are actually in the same class of wormers, which makes me a bit nervous about whether or not the Cydectin will continue to be effective.

There is, however, another wormer that was widely used in the 1970s, Levamisole (Prohibit).  It became ineffective in my part of the world, and it went out of use, which is probably why nobody was talking about it.  Now, it’s proving to be effective again.  There is hope if we can get people to start using smarter worming practices.

Changing the Rules

30 Aug

Anyone who has raised goats knows that parasite control is a constant issue.  They are way more susceptible to roundworms than many other animals.  Five years ago, I brought three young does onto the farm.  I wormed them before I got them off the truck and isolated them from the rest of the herd.  Everything seemed fine, so I introduced them into the herd.  Well, shortly afterwards, I ended up worming my entire herd for the first time.  I had to really keep up with it, and eventually, I just couldn’t.  Some goats seemed fine, but others were run down.  Millie and her boy, Bam Bam, were deathly ill.


The vet did a fecal exam and his response was very dire.  It might be too late to help them.  As I worked to save them, I started the herd on Hoegger’s Herbal Wormer.  Bam Bam was so sick I thought I’d better wait to start him.  I followed the vet’s recommendations, and I was worming him every two weeks~that’s the reproduction cycle.  New eggs hatch and mature and they’re full of worms again.  It was taking less and less time for him to relapse.  Millie, on the other hand, was growing stronger.  I finally decided to start Bam Bam on the herbal wormer, figuring it would help him or kill him.  He grew up to be a mighty fine looking buck.  Since then I’ve used the herbal wormer weekly.  It’s been wonderful.

If one of the goats is ill, however, I’d give them a dose of Ivomec, since the Panacur did not seem to do anything.  I also would give all the kids a dose of the chemical wormer between 7 and 9 weeks old.  That’s the age they are starting to eat out in pasture with the herd and pick up worms, but they aren’t quite getting enough herbal wormer eating with the herd.  Also, their rumens are not fully functional on some of them at this age.  By the time they would need another dose of the wormer, they would be solidly on the herbal wormer.  This system worked well.  This spring, the rules all changed on me.

When Pam and Stormy became ill this spring, it was determined that they were full of roundworms.  I had been worming them with the Ivomec because I knew they weren’t feeling well or eating properly.


This was a second chemical wormer that was no longer effective.  There is only one class of chemical wormer left~Cydectin.  In general, I rely on the herbal wormer.  If a goat is sick, it’s probably not a big deal to give a dose of the Cydectin.  Of course, to use it as little as possible, I need to have a fecal exam done to make sure that they really need the wormer.

Blaze and Pam

As the kids got older and the pasture got overeaten as I waited for my fence to be put in, I started taking a lot of samples to the vets~$11.00 for one fecal.  I have sixty-one goats on the farm.  You can do the math (if not that’s $671 for each goat to have one test).  It started with Blaze.

Then what to give them~the vet had me start with a white wormer,Valbazen, which is similar to Panacur.  After a few of these, I quite doing the fecal.  I just treated.  Cinnamon was treated.   After about a week, she started feeling ill again and rapidly losing weight.  I got the fecal and she was full of roundworms.  I used the Cydectin, and now she’s doing great!


Scarlet was treated.  Let’s face it raising triplets on overeaten pasture with 115* heat indexes was very hard on her.  For the first time in four years, she was given a chemical wormer, and she immediately recovered.

Scarlet and daughter Cookie

Scarlet’s triplets were not doing great either because of her health.  I tried giving them supplemental bottles.  They refused.  I penned them so they could eat all the hay and goat feed they wanted.  Well, Cookie is eating with mom above because she would not stay in the pen.  She was doing the best of the three, so I didn’t chase her around to catch her every day.  She still doesn’t have the energy she should have.


Then there’s Oreo and Casey.  Oreo was pot-bellied.  I wormed her after putting her in the pen.


Casey was near death.  Totally white eyes, skinny and I wormed him.


It wasn’t helping him, so I switched wormer.  He would slightly improve and then go back down hill.  Really, I should have done a fecal or two with him.  He was at that same point as Bam Bam.  He was not going to make it if I couldn’t do something to get rid of the worms at all stages.  I became creative in how to administer it, and I started him on the herbal wormer.  It might not look good, but the very slight pink to his back side is a huge improvement, even though he is still horribly anemic.


The latest to fall to the effects of parasites~Jelly.  She’s been treated, and she does seem to be doing better.  She’s not going through the horrible cycle that Casey and Oreo were experiencing.


I’m working really hard to come up with a new game plan now that all the rules have been changed on me.  The advice of one vet was to do a mass worming of the herd.  The other vet in the same clinic was suggesting I use a chart to look at eye color as a guide to worming just the goats that needed it to help prevent the drug resistance.  With conflicting information on how to handle parasites, it’s very confusing and difficult to come up with the best plan.  This includes doing lots of fecals (I’m doing them myself) and checking eyelids and hoping things go well.  I’ll certainly be sharing how I’m doing some of these things.  I must say, it’s more and more likely that there will be increasing issues with drug resistant parasites.

This is certainly a Wordful Wednesday post.  Linking to Project Alicia.