Tag Archives: worms

Obsession

3 Aug

I think most people that have goats would tell you that they never knew when they got their first goat that they’d become obsessed with poop.  I tell you, though, there’s nothing like seeing perfect goat berries falling from your goat’s back side like a Pez dispenser.

with apologies to Joani for such an unflattering picture

It’s a good sign of a healthy goat.

front to back: LilyAnn, Sidney, and Dolly

This time of year is when the pasture is getting eaten down and the goats might start picking up worms.

Colt and Astra

You hate to see runny poops.  I kid you not, I followed Caroline around with a glove on to try and get a sample a couple of days ago, but she was not about to give it up.  She did enjoy pushing against my leg and bouncing.  I checked her eye membranes, and they are bright red, so I’m not too worried.  I might have to just keep a glove in my pocket for the opportune moment.

Caroline

I had to pull Clover away from her kids and shut her in after worming her because she had bottle jaw (even worse than diarrhea).

Clover

She’s been wormed, and I’m giving her sweet feed twice a day and all the good alfalfa hay she can eat.

Clover and jealous cows

I’m optimistic that she’ll fully recover.  In the meantime, I will continue to be obsessed with everyone’s poops (and their jaws and eye color).

I hope you’ll come back to join me for Friday’s Hunt.  I have this week’s items listed at the top of my side bar.

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Anemia in Goats: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

22 Jul

It’s that time of year when about every other search engine term bringing someone to my blog includes “goat” and “anemia.”  I guess that means it’s time to talk about it again.  I know I’ve talked about it before, but not an all-in-one post.  It does seem like goats are very susceptible to anemia, the lack of red blood cells in the body.  It can be fatal if not treated.

Causes:

Blood Loss.  If there is a large blood loss due to an injury, that causes anemia.  The more likely cause of anemia due to blood loss is parasites.  This can be ticks, fleas, lice, or internal parasites (worms).  The haemonchus (barber pole or round) worm is probably the leading cause of anemia in goats.

Diet.  If a goat does not have a proper diet, it can become anemic.  Some areas do not have enough iron or copper naturally in the soil to provide it in the browse the goat is eating.  It’s best to check with a local vet to see if there is enough iron/copper in your area.  Also, just not enough food or poor quality food can cause anemia.  Right now, this is part of my problem because of the drought conditions we are facing.  The browse in the pasture just isn’t as good a quality as usual.  In addition, they want to eat the really short green stuff because it’s the only green stuff in there.  When it’s that short, they are more likely to pick up parasites.

Kids.  Let’s face it.  Those kids are little parasites.  When a doe is pregnant and nursing, she’s going to give her kids what they need.  It’s easy for them to become anemic when they have kids on them.

Kizzy’s triplets

Symptoms:

Coloring.  If you look at a goat, it can be hard to tell if they are anemic.  They might look fat and healthy, but checking the inside of the eyelid might reveal another story.  The paler the lid, the more anemic the goat.  Sorry for the picture quality, but this isn’t easy to photograph on your own.

normal and anemic

If you have a light goat with pink tender parts, that can also be an indicator of anemia, but this isn’t as reliable as the eyelid or gums.

Bottle Jaw.  If the anemia is severe enough it can result in edema (swelling) that is commonly called bottle jaw.  Immediate treatment is required if the goat has become this anemic.

bottle jaw

Behavior.  As they become more anemic, they will be tired.  They will get a dull look in their eyes and just act sick.  It might be like a zombie just going through the motions without any zest for living.

Condition. This will lead to eating less and losing weight and poor coat quality.  Finally, if a goat is anemic, parasites can be a symptom.  If a goat is sick, they are more susceptible to picking up parasites.  It’s important to do a fecal because they might also pick up other types of parasites, such as coccidia.  It requires a different treatment for this type of parasite.

Treatment:

Wormer.  I always look to parasites first.  Pour them for external parasites and do the fecal for internal parasites.  Always do the check for internal parasites because even if you have a good worming regimen (and all goat owners should), it is possible that the parasites have become resistant to that particular wormer.

Remember that the chemicals only kill the internal parasites at one particular stage of development and they are likely to be just as bad in ten days to two weeks.  It will require retreating them possibly quite frequently.  Some vets will recommend treating twice with one wormer and then switching to a different class of wormer.

Weaning.  Once you get rid of parasites, look at those other areas.  If they have kids, can they be weaned?  Chances are the kids are not getting much from a goat that is anemic and spending time trying to nurse doesn’t help them or their maa.  Wean them, get them on goat feed, give them a bottle, provide them with hay.  It’s not going to help anyone leaving them together.

Diet.  Because they are weak and don’t feel well, they probably aren’t going to eat well.  If they don’t have much of an appetite, your vet can provide you with some B vitamins to stimulate their appetite.  I always recommend probiotics when a goat doesn’t feel well.  It can’t hurt them, and it will help them use whatever food you can get them to eat.

You want them to eat as much high quality food as possible, but you don’t want to make drastic changes to their diet all at once.  That will cause other problems.  You can add a small amount of a new food (like grain) and increase the amount of food they get gradually.  I’ve even added a cup of goat milk replacer to the diet of my big goats when they are run down.  Again, you have to add it gradually, and it shouldn’t replace hay or grass.  Nettles are a great multi-vitamin to help them build up strength.

You don’t want them out wandering in pasture using up whatever they eat.  Confine them to a fairly small space and bring the food to them.  It’s a perfect time to cut the scrub mulberry bushes out of the ditch or the little oak and maple trees from the fencerow.  I will cut grass from the ditch for them.

I would caution against just providing iron supplements.  I know my son was anemic, and I had to give him an iron supplement when he was a baby, but iron is just a tiny piece of the puzzle.  You can actually give them too much iron and that will become toxic.  The same is true of copper.  You need for them to build red blood cells, not just increase the iron levels in their system.  It takes (I hope I remember correctly) twenty-one days to really make a huge impact on the number of red blood cells through normal means~diet.  There are other supplements that say they help with anemia, but the body has to produce the red blood cells, and that takes time.

Blood Transfusion.  If you have a goat that is severely anemic, about the only real chance you have to boost the pac-cell count is a blood transfusion.  It is a quick boost to the red blood cells to helps support the body to heal and make more red blood cells itself.  Many vets don’t have the facilities to do this, and you might have to take them to a larger facility or teaching hospital.

Prevention is the best way to deal with anemia.  That isn’t always possible, but when it does happen early detection and treatment gives them a good chance for survival.

Linking to Homestead Barn Hop.

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.

Millie

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.

Stormy

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!

Cinnamon

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.

Cookie

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

Oreo

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

Casey

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.

Casey

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.

Jelly

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.