Sheep & Goats

Maintaining proper herd health is the key to having a successful sheep or goat herd. We offer herd health services such as routine care, fecal parasite testing, pregnancy testing, buck/ram breeding soundness testing, lambing/kidding help, and more.

Custom veterinary services for flocks and herds, since 1964.

Worm Management in Goats

Dr. Jason Wrage
Green Prairie Animal Hospitals

What are the most common worms in goats?

Typically, the most common worms in goats are the strongyles, specifically the barber pole worm. This worm is the one that causes the most problems in terms of herd health situations. In Illinois, for example, there are many instances of barber pole worms and other roundworms, especially in boar goats. These goats grow well and do really well but are very sensitive to worms, more so than any other goat breeds in the region.

Why are goats more sensitive to worms than other grazers?

Goats are naturally browsers, not grazers. This means that in their native environment, they would eat bushes, plants, and shrubs. However, we have converted them to grazers who eat grass on the ground. As a result, goats do not have the natural tolerance for worms commonly seen in other grazing species like sheep or cows.

What should goat owners do for better pasture management?

Pasture management is the number one thing goat owners should focus on to prevent worm issues. Dewormers can be somewhat effective, but they are a poor substitute for proper pasture management. This includes rotating pastures, ensuring there is some idle time, and placing newborn kids on clean pastures (not ones that have had goats all year round or dry lots with grass).

What kind of dewormers are commonly used for goats?

There are two main categories of dewormers for goats: the Avermectins and the whitewormers. Avermectins include Dectomax and Ivermectin, while whitewormers consist of Fimbendazole (Panacur) and Albendazole. However, it is important to note that no dewormer is truly 100 percent effective, which is why proper pasture management is so crucial.

What should you look for when checking your goat herd?

When checking your goat herd, you should look for the general health of the animals, including palpating their bodies to feel their backbone and ensure good muscle tone. Examine their skin, mucous membranes in their eyelids or mouth, and perform the FAMACHA test to determine if the worms are causing low protein or blood counts. Check their hair coat for cleanliness and shininess, and make sure they're gaining weight, eating well, and not experiencing any loose stools or scours.

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