Tag Archives: herbal wormer

Drug Resistant Parasites in Goats Part II

10 Sep

The Situation

Remember, I was talking about the problems I have with worms being resistant to two of the three main chemical wormers available for goats and how this situation came to exist on my farm.  If you haven’t read Part I, you can find it HERE.


Goliath (before he recovered)

Rotating Wormers

There are all kinds of theories to avoid resistance, and one I’ve known several people to practice is to rotate through the different classes/brands of wormer.  The theory is that by rotating, it will take longer to develop resistance since they will be exposed to each class of wormer less frequently.

In reality, if you kill ninety percent of the worms with a pancour wormer, you have some that have been exposed to it still living and passing eggs to the rest of the herd.  The next time you worm, you use an Ivermectin product, and now ten percent of those that survived before have now been exposed to both.  It doesn’t seem like much, but it does compound the problem.

This means it will simply make the worms resistant to all the wormers as you progress.  It might make it more difficult to know which resistant worm (or worms) is in each goat, so you end up with a game of Russian roulette, wondering if this is the wormer that will take care of the problem.

Boer/Saanen cross buck

recovered and all grown up

Sadly, this is what can also lead to that cycle of worming every two weeks when you get a goat that has gotten full of worms and run down and they continue to re-infest the goat.  Even though vets will tell you to do this and rotate wormers as the only possible way to save a goat’s life, it does exacerbate the problem of drug resistance.

More Bad Advice

No matter whom you speak to, you get the advice to worm goats.  It’s a vicious cycle.  I already wormed them, and nothing works but Cydectin, but if I use Cydectin it will be ineffective within two years (according to one ISU vet).  She suggested I  send a big conglomerate of goat feces to them, and they will send it on to Georgia, where they will actually hatch the worm eggs and do testing to see which chemical wormer will most likely be effective.  Well, that’s all well and good, but I have kids that could drop dead without any warning, and the time it takes to do that isn’t going to help.  Also, I know the wormer it will tell me to use is Cydecitn (oh no, you can’t use that).  Also, it won’t tell me which goat it won’t work on, so I’m really back to where I was before.

Goat Poop

There has to be a way to tell if a wormer is effective or not without the goat drop dead or having to have a blood transfusion.  There is.  You take a fecal sample and send it to Iowa State for a McMaster’s fecal test.  On the same day, you worm the goat.  Ten days later, you get a fecal sample from the same goat and send to Iowa State for the same test.  If 90% of the worms have been killed, then the wormer was effective.  Okay, last I knew, it was $35 for that one fecal exam, so you’re at $70 plus either postage or driving the samples to Iowa State and the wormer.  We’re at $80 or more, and that would have to be done for each kid.  That means, with the forty-two kids I started with, it would cost over $3300.  Not to mention, ten days is too long to wait if it isn’t working.  They’ll be dead.

Little Bit Osboer

Little Bit Osboer

Then mention that it’s difficult to train goats to poop on command, and you get told that you have a finger.  I’m not even going to mention how impractical and likely to cause injury that is on some smaller kids.

Complicating Matters

To make things even worse, for the first time this year, I’ve had kids that the wormer worked on, but they grew increasingly anemic and weak.  The first kid I lost was Simon.  I had wormed him, before he showed any signs, with the rest of the kids.  A couple of days later, he had diarrhea, and I did a fecal.  He had just a couple round worm eggs and a few coccidia.  By all accounts, this shouldn’t make him sick, but it did.  Keep in mind, that it requires a completely different wormer to treat coccidia.



Sadly, it was too late to help Simon, but a vitamin cocktail (B complex and A,D&E at 1cc each/20 pounds) and probiotics helped Art.  He also got IV fluids subcutaneously.  It helped but still left him dumpy.  The reason they continued to decline even though I wormed them is probably because they already had a heavy load by the time I first wormed them.

Gray Osboer

Gray Osboer

Another factor is the coccidia.  I never had coccidia in my goats until after the chemical wormers started failing on the roundworms.  Because I didn’t know about the failure or this secondary invasion, the worms reproduced freely spreading eggs all through my soil.  Coccidia are a secondary invader, taking advantage of a weak or sick animal.  The presence of just those few can be enough to cause an already fragile goat to fail.

Herbal Wormer

Then, as soon as I say, “herbal wormer,” to a vet, I can hear the eye rolls through the phone.  However, I started using the herbal wormer after I nearly lost Millie and Bam Bam because the chemical wormer only eliminates worms in one stage of the life cycle.  That means it doesn’t take long before the goat can be filled just as badly as before they were wormed.  You can end up in a cycle of worming every two weeks that still sees the animal failing and causing more problems with resistance.

herbal wormer paste

That’s what was happening with Bam Bam (see Part I), and then I started him on the herbal wormer.  He thrived from that point forward because the herbal wormer makes them an “inhospitable environment.”  The worms won’t attach to the lining of their stomach and simply pass out of their body.  You can actually see live worms in their feces if they are just getting started on the wormer.

worms on goat pellets

Sadly, the herbal wormer is not a panacea, and because nobody has done studies, you’re pretty much on your own trying to figure out the fine details of using herbal wormer.   It works very well for a nice healthy adult.  Some times to  watch a goat closely and be leery as to whether or not the herbal wormer is working:

  1. If a goat is not feeling well, it doesn’t work.
  2. I also have to watch and make sure each goat is getting their fair share.  Like chickens, they have a pecking order, and not all goats get the same amount of food.
  3. I have some moms that are so busy trying to avoid their kids that are relentless in trying to nurse that they don’t get enough to eat.
  4. They have to have a fully functioning rumen.  That means it is not effective on kids until they are about two months old.  By this time, they can already be full of worms (Potsie/Simon).

What’s a Farmgirl to Do?

Thursday, I’ll give you my best advice from a lot of reading and consulting with my vet in the final installment of worm resistant drugs.  Well, it will be the final installment until the worms change the rules on me again.

I promise no more poopy pictures for the Part III on Thursday.

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.


12 Jun

I hate the constant battle to fight parasites in my animals.  Fleas and tics aren’t too bad.  I just use Frontline Plus on the dogs and Advantage for the cats.  They work.  The bovine get poured with Ivermectin products.  The cats’ internal parasites are a bit more difficult.  Usually, I give a pill to Snickers, but he isn’t very nice about it.  Leo has had a shot before because he has thirty claws on each of his ten front feet.  Magic has issues and doesn’t do pills or liquids very well.  The dogs can be tough too because Stella is so good at picking the pills out of the cheese or hot dog.  The worst was the goats.

I had never done a mass worming of my goats, and I had no problems.  Then I bought my little Boer girls:  Scarlet, Grace and Annie.  I wormed them before they came off the truck.  I kept them isolated from the rest of the herd.  I was really good at doing best practice.  Unfortunately, the worms they had were drug resistant.  I hadn’t really heard to much about the issue of drug resistant parasites until I had goats that were so horribly sick the vet didn’t think they would live.

Their solution was injecting Ivomec and giving Vitamin B.  I did that.  I also gave them Pepto Bismol, probiotics, and goat serum.  I also ordered herbal wormer from Hoegger Goat Supply.  I gave it to all my goats immediately, and the results were dramatic.  Oh, I didn’t give it to Bam Bam, the kid who was so sick because I was afraid of what it would do to his system.  He did get better and then he got worse and then it was a little better and then a lot worse.  The vets suggested I try switching to another drug.  His poor system couldn’t take anymore.  Finally, I gave him the herbal wormer just because he was going to die anyhow, and I had nothing to lose.  He immediately began recovering.  He finally grew to be a big, strong billy goat.

Now I use the herbal wormer for my Magic kitty.  I use it for the dogs, and I use it for the goats.  It’s so easy.  I just sprinkle it on the goat’s grain once each week.  Of course, I have enough that I separate them into various areas so they all can get their fair share.  It’s the same for the cat and dogs, but I mix it in.  This is everything I need.

Because they are both big dogs, I put one teaspoon in the bowl for each dog.

I just divide the contents of one can between the two pans.

Then I chop it up and make sure the wormer is all mixed in.

Look at those eyes!  He just loves to be wormed.

Stella is more of a lady, so she waits until I leave before she digs in.

Mushu just digs right in.

They really enjoy it.

I am so glad I discovered herbal wormer.  It is safe and effective.  I love that I can use it on goats that I want to milk and I don’t have to worry about dumping milk.