Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by SNKGoats, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. SNKGoats

    SNKGoats New Member

    Aug 30, 2010
    I've used Safegaurd wormer and I absolutely hate it. It doesn't work. I'm in need of a new goat wormer. I've considered Ivromec, but I've heard I could run into the same problem with it as I did the safegaurd and I don't want to waste the money. I've also considered levamisole/tramisole/cydectin, but it's so expensive and I can hardly find anywhere that sells it.

    Are there any other, affordable goat wormers out there that acytually work? I live in Ohio, if it matters at all, and I have a small herd of bursh goats...mainly nubian and boer crosses.

    Thank you so much!
  2. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    what worms are you dealing with? have you had a fecal done?

    that will let you know what wormer would be best for you to use to target them correctly.

    You can also ask other breeders in your area if they found ivermectin to be effective or not.

  3. cmjust0

    cmjust0 New Member

    Oct 8, 2009
    There are really only three or maybe four classes of dewormers that work against the worms that give goat producers the most trouble -- haemonchus contortus, aka barberpoles....the primary cause of severe parasitic anemia, bottlejaw, etc -- and barberpoles that are resistant to one brand or chemical compound of a given class will generally be resistant to other brands or compounds of the same class. Classes are grouped according to the mechanism by which the dewormer actually kills worms..

    The classes are:

    1) Benzamidazoles. Fenbendazole (safe-guard, panacur), albendazole (valbazen), oxfendazole (synanthic). If your worm population is resistant to safe-guard, chances are you'll have limited success trying valbazen or synanthic.

    2) Macrolides. Ivermectin (Ivomec, Noromectin, etc), doramectin (dectomax), moxidectin (cydectin, quest gel). Some folks consider moxidectin to be its own class, but I've seen studies indicating that cydectin is only about 50% effective against ivermectin resistant worms.. As with any class, the killing mechanism of macrolides is the same regardless of the compound, so the worm's method of defense against that particular mechanism generally works pretty well against the whole class.

    3) Nicotinic agonists; imidazothiaoles and tetrahydropyrimidines.

    I personally consider imid's and tetr's to be in different classes -- despite the fact that they kill by a similar action -- simply because imid's kill more stuff. Tetr's don't kill many larval stages, nor tapeworms, nor flukes, whereas imid's do.

    So...tetr's would be morantel (rumatel, etc) and pyrantel (strongid, etc). They're not used much in goats, I suspect because A) they ONLY work against adult populations of worms, which limits their practical value, and B) there's not a readily available drench that I know of, which leaves pelleted deworming feed (which sucks) and horse paste dewormers, which have a reputation for being unreliable in partial small doses.

    Imid is pretty much be levamisole (levasole, tramisol, prohibit). It works against adults and larval stages of worms, which *may or may not* include hypobiotic barberpole larvae. I've read both accounts and have no first-hand experience to indicate either way. I'm inclined to believe it does, personally...in fact, I'm about to pin my hopes on it doing just that. It also works against liver flukes and tapeworm.

    So there are your dewormers, basically.. That's pretty much it.

    As for not wanting to switch because the worms are probably going to just develop resistance to the next thing anyway...well, that's just the way it goes. You probably won't have much choice but to switch and wait for resistance to develop.

    I will ask, though...what dosage are you using on the Safe-Guard? Most worms treated with the goat-labeled dose of fenbendazole are totally unphased. The dosage I personally use is 1ml/10lbs (or thereabout...I've gone higher!) for three straight days.

    Yes -- that's many, many, many higher than the label dose.. I had been using it at 3x the label dose for 3 straight days and was having limited success, and since I upped it to 1ml/10lbs, it seems to have kicked back in a bit and started working somewhat well for me again.

    BTW...if you're sitting there right now wondering "Soooo, what are we supposed to do when we've run through all the classes of dewormers and nothing works anymore?"

    It's OK...lots of us are wondering the same thing. :lol:
  4. cmjust0

    cmjust0 New Member

    Oct 8, 2009
    Something else I'll mention is COWP...copper oxide wire particles. You can buy them in the form of 12.5g calf-boluses called 'Copasure' from Jeffers, Valley Vet, etc. Personally, I haven't found them to be of a great deal of use in battling copper deficiency -- which is what they're used for -- but they kill the heck out of adult barberpole worms.

    Goats are fairly resistant to acute copper toxicity, and the bioavailability of copper *oxide* is very low, so Copasure is relatively safe for goats when given, say, once a year. August in Ohio is peak barberpole season, so if that's your problem (and you'd know by anemia), then it might be worth investigating the use of COWP.

    I've done it, and I'm in central Ky.. I'm about to do it again, actually -- the whole herd.

    What I do is split a 12.5g Copasure bolus open and pack the contents into '000' sized blank capsules, like you'd get at a healthfood store or someplace like that. The dosage I'm using is 1g/22lbs of goat, so your average adult would get 6 or 7 grams, total.

    I also know people who shove the entire 12.5g bolus down their throat....soooo....do with that what you will.

    Just a thought. :)
  5. SNKGoats

    SNKGoats New Member

    Aug 30, 2010
    Wow! So much good information! I'm really glad I posted =)

    Okay...more information on my part...

    I didn't actually get a fecal done. When my goats started showing signs of worms (loose stool, pale gums, loss of weight, less active) I called my local vet and described what was going on and he told me to try SafeGaurd. I did, but one of my goats soon developed bottlejaw. He told me to take the dose x5 for 2 days. I did, but the goat with bottlejaw didn't improve. In fact, she was getting much worse. I called my vet again and he said I should try tramisole, but he'd have to order it in (he said it would be about 3 days). Unfortunately, I lost my goat that night. She was pretty young and I think she was severely anemic at that point.

    My other goats seem to be doing alright now. No pale gums or loose stool. They have gained all their weight back and they seem to be healthy as can be. I'm guessing the SafeGaurd worked on them. BUT, after losing one goat to the ineffectiveness of SafeGaurd, I'm very weary of depending on it again. I've talked to some breeders and it seems that most of them worm their goats twice a year, on a routine basis to PREVENT the worms...rather than just treating them once the worms show up. This is sort of what I meant to ask about.

    I'm a little surprised, after reading the posts here, that my vet never suggested getting a fecal done to figure out what kind of worms my goats had. But then, I just wasn't that impressed with the information my vet could give me...which is why I turned to online sources.

    Sooooooooo...if I worm my goats on a twice a year basis (spring and fall), which wormers would you guys recommend? Or should I only worm my goats when they actually have worms and after I get a fecal done?

    I've only had my goats for about 7 months, so I'm still learning :)

    Thank so much for the help!!!!

  6. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    I prefer to worm only on an as needed basis. But I check gums and eyelids and I know my goats behaviors to know when something istn right. I get a fecal done to know what kinds of worms I am dealing with (or coccidia) so I can treat effectively and not shooting in the dark.
  7. cmjust0

    cmjust0 New Member

    Oct 8, 2009
    Loose stool and loss of weight, in my experience, are usually signs of intestinal worms...tapeworms, for instance...if they're signs of internal parasites at all. Coccidiosis can cause the same thing, as can bacterial gut infections, etc.. The good news is that Safe-Guard (fenbendazole) generally works fairly well against intestinal worms like tapeworm....just not so well against other stomach worms like the dreaded barberpole worm.

    Pale gums -- which is to say, pale mucous membranes -- and lethargy, in some cases, are usually indicative of anemia, which is indicative of barberpole worms.

    Anemia severe enough to cause bottlejaw goes by another name: acute haemonchosis. It's named after the worm which causes it -- haemonchus contortus, aka, the barberpole worm.

    The condition we know as "bottlejaw" also goes by another name: submandibular edema. Basically, all that means is a collection of fluid under the jaw.. What happens is that the goats 'packed cell volume' -- the proportion of red blood cells in the goat's blood -- becomes so low that their blood becomes thin enough to leak out through the capillaries, and since the goat spends most of its day with its head down in the grass, all that fluid builds up in the loose skin of the neck and under the jaw.

    In goats that are also depressed and not grazing -- and therefore not putting their head down all day -- "bottlejaw" may also be seen as a collection of fluid around the abdomen.

    You'll also hear cases where people are baffled by bottlejaw that looks really bad at night (oh no!), then appears to get better by morning (yay!), only to return that night (not again!)...when all that's really happening is that the fluid is collecting as they graze during the day, draining at night, then recollecting the next day.

    In any case, needless to say, the barberpole worm is a goatkeeper's #1 enemy with regard to worms. They're the ones that keep me up at night. And for most of the USA, we're in *peak seaon* for barberpoles right this minute.

    As for the use of tramisol on your bottlejaw case...tramisol may have killed it, too. Once they get to the point of having bottlejaw, hitting them with a really strong dewormer can 'unplug' so many worms that the goat literally bleeds to death from the inside out.

    Unfortunately, chances are that there was nothing that could have saved it at that point. :(

    Fortunately, you don't really have to guess when it comes to the barberpole worms that killed your bottlejaw case, nor does it necessarily require running fecal exams. :)

    Instead of checking gums, try checking the mucous membranes of the lower eyelid. It's called FAMACHA..

    To do it, grasp the top of the goat's head with your left hand, placing your thumb over their upper eyelid.. Then take your right hand and place it under the goat's jaw with your thumb on the lower eyelid.. Press their eyeball slightly with your left thumb as you pull their lower eyelid down with your right thumb...their mucous membrane will sorta 'pop' up. Sounds complicated when you write it all out, but in practice, it takes all of about two seconds and gives you a pretty daggone good estimation of your goat's level of anemia, and anemia is highly correlated to barberpole worm burden.

    There are 5 different levels of 'pinkness' on the FAMACHA scorecard (which you can order...google it :) ) ranging from a salmon-like color (excellent) to white (fatal). Owners are advised to consider dosing with dewormer somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, and *encouraged* if they're lighter than that.

    Fecal counts certainly don't hurt, but given you've already lost one to haemonchosis and this is peak barberpole season, your biggest enemies right now are clearly barberpoles. That will likely be the case every...single...year... That's just how barberpoles work.

    To prevent barberpole worms, you really have to focus on efforts to reduce pasture contamination. See, the reason we're in peak barberpole season right now is because pasture contamination levels are hitting their highest levels, having been building all Spring and early Summer. There may only have been a few -- if any -- surviving barberpole larvae on your pastures in Spring, with the rest being in hypobiosis (a dormant state) inside your goat's abomasums. The hypobiotic worms are leftovers from last year, basically. Worms in hypobiosis are simply hiding out, biding their time, not causing any problems.

    They wake up when the weather becomes more hospitable to the survival of their larvae on pasture and begin sucking blood and making eggs. As those eggs hatch and the larvae are consumed by the goats, the numbers of barberpoles in your goats...and, as a result, the number of their larvae on pasture...ramp up throughout Spring and early Summer, eventually increasing at a near-exponential rate until they hit their peak in late Summer.

    So where there were an inconsequential number of barberpole larvae on your pastures this Spring, there are literally MILLIONS AND MILLION out there now representing several generations of barberpole worms which have come along in a single season.

    Having said that, depending on the climate where you live and what kinds of dewormers your particular barberpole worms are resistant to, it *may* be possible to employ a strategic deworming protocol that uses hypobiosis -- a barberpole worm's natural defense against winter -- to your advantage.

    That is to say...kill them while they sleep.

    Some dewormers act against hypobiotic larvae. If you deworm using one of these medications while the worms are dormant, you may -- again, depending on climate, issues with resistance, etc -- be able to SUBSTANTIALLY reduce the number of worms which would otherwise wake up in Spring and begin the process of contaminating your pastures.


    Talk to your goat-raising friends in the area. See if this is what they're doing.

    I'm just gonna go ahead and tell you right up front, though, that 95% of them will have NO CLUE what you're talking about. What they'll most likely tell you is that they deworm right after does kid out, then deworm again in late summer/early fall because that's when they seem to need it again...

    And they may or may not tell you that they have to hit some of their goats much earlier than Fall, and much more often than others -- but they do, whether they tell you or not. Guaranteed.

    One of a couple of reasons this could have happened.. If your vet's not comfortable with off-label drug use, Safe-Guard is one of two dewormers labeled for goats -- and it's the better of the two. It's also labeled to treat pretty much any worm a goat gets, sooooooo...makes sense that they'd suggest it.

    Another reason they may not have recommended a fecal is because it's August and you had a goat with bottlejaw...if they have any knowledge of small ruminant parasitology, they didn't have to run the fecal to realize you were battling haemonchus contortus.

    Could also be that they were concerned about giving a dewormer that was too 'strong,' for fear that they might bleed out...so they recommended the milder Safe-Guard first.

    Or...hey...it could be that they don't know what they're doing when it comes to small ruminants, have no idea which worms are what, nor how they operate, nor when their 'peak seasons' are, etc...

    Who knows.

    Might be worth asking why they recommended what they did, though.. Afterall, now that *you* know a little more about the situation, knowing the basis of their recommendation could give you a much better idea of where your vets are coming from in terms of small ruminant care.

    Common advice is to deworm right after a doe kids, and most kid in Spring...so there's your Spring deworming. And most goats need to be dewormed in late Summer/Fall, else they go downhill fast, so there's your Fall deworming. So there's your Spring/Fall combo, more or less by default.

    And, yes, you should deworm when your goats are showing signs of worm infestation (FAMACHA, fecals, whatever).. So there's your "as needed" component, as well..

    And then you have my own personal view of strategic deworming for hypobiotic larvae/pasture contamination, which you may or may not choose to employ.

    Unfortunately, deworming goats is almost as much an art as a science, and *EVERYBODY* has their very own special way of going about it.. You just gotta figure out what works for you, and do that. :)
  8. DPW

    DPW New Member

    Mar 13, 2010
    Crow, Oregon.
    It pretty much has been determined that something like 80% of internal parasites in your herd will be found in 20% of your goats. Culling that 20% goes a long way in controlling parasites in your herd.
    Most people I know are no longer worming their goats on some type of schedule. They only worm the goats that need to be wormed. Worming a goat that doesn't need to be wormed makes no sense to me.
    I do my own fecal exams so it is easy to find out who needs worming and who doesn't. Learning to do your own fecal exams is easy. And the cost of the equipment needed is a drop in the bucket compared to paying a vet everytime you suspect a goat is carrying a heavy worm load.
    My two cents.
  9. cmjust0

    cmjust0 New Member

    Oct 8, 2009
    Personally, I'm starting to seriously question the wisdom of that advice. Not *your* advice, per se...this is, afterall, the advice you get from all the experts in the field, and it's advice I've given many times in the past.

    I've just come to believe it's bad advice..

    The fact of the matter is that barberpole worms operate on a schedule, which is why we see our biggest worm problems in late summer.. That's because it takes them from Spring onward to build pasture contamination levels up to the point where goats are sucking down copious numbers of larvae on a daily basis.. The question then becomes, why do the barberpoles have to essentially start over every Spring?

    It's because they're not good at overwintering on pasture.. Barberpoles overwinter principally in the host, through hypobiosis.. And while they're in hypobiosis, they're not sucking blood nor shedding eggs...so your FAMACHA scores should be excellent and fecal egg counts should be near-zero.

    Having said that, and thinking about all the advice we're given by the experts, the common wisdom is that we *should not* deworm our goats while barberpoles are in hypobiosis simply because they're not showing signs of infestation, despite the fact that they *are* infested and wintertime is the *one time of year* when the worms themselves are at their absolute highest level of vulnerability..

    It would be like seeing a dinner-plate sized wasp nest, covered to the edges with sluggish, lethargic wasps on a 40* Spring night and passing up the opportunity to inflict a serious blow to the entire population with one shot of pyrethrine...simply because they're not stinging you *at that moment.*

    Does it make sense to wait *until* they become a problem? I don't think so...not if we don't have to.

    If the whole goat thing is gonna work out in most of the US, I think we're eventually going to have to re-adopt a scheduled deworming system and be a lot more strategic about *when* that deworming is done.. FAMACHA and fecals will still have a role to play, but -- in my mind -- they'll be used to verify that when you dewormed in mid-winter...when FAMACHAs were perfect and FECs were zero...that you used a dewormer which was still working effectively.

    That's my thinking, anyway..
  10. SNKGoats

    SNKGoats New Member

    Aug 30, 2010
    Thank you SO much for all of that advice!!! I'm really starting to understand better.

    Really?! That would be so useful to learn! Can you, by any chance, tell me how it's done?
  11. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    under the goat sense 101 section there are lots of information on doing your own fecals = or just do a search for it on here :thumb:
  12. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    as to a worming schedule -- that works if you know what kinds of worms you are dealing with on a yearly basis and it can take years to figure that out as you work with your goats and get fecals done when the goats are "wormy" or showing signs of a worm load

    It cant be something done across the board because barberpoles are not an issue for all. Like for me - I dont have pasture. I have a full dry lot so my worm issues are varied from others who are on pasture.

    Understanding what worms you have and their cycle will greatly aid you in your fight against it each year. Thats why I suggest fecals when you do have a worm issue so that the worms are correctly targeted and taken care of.

    Now i would love to learn the life cycle of strongyles as that is a worm I have issues with (lost a goat to it). And a goat I brought home had Hook worms so thats going to be another battle.
  13. SNKGoats

    SNKGoats New Member

    Aug 30, 2010
    Thanks again =) After reading up on things I should know for the last 3 hours, I've decided that I want to get a microscope and do my own fecal tests (yay!). Just one more question for now.

    Do you think that this microscope will get the job done?

    http://www.amazon.com/Celestron-44320-M ... 720&sr=8-1

    I don't mean to be cheap, but it's only $45 on amazon
  14. cmjust0

    cmjust0 New Member

    Oct 8, 2009
    That's a good point, Stacey.. I guess I'm looking at it from the viewpoint of barberpoles being the biggy because that's the one that folks generally have the most trouble with.. Rather, it's the one that kills the most goats -- hands down. I've read more than one study which indicated that, upon necropsy, barberpole worms generally account for >80% of the total worm burden in a goat on pasture. And, usually, if you're battling barberpoles as hard as most of us running goats on grass have to, the other 20% of worms are basically kept in check simply as a consequence of having to deworm so intensively.

    I guess it stands to reason that if you're not running goats on pasture, and therefore aren't battling barberpoles all summer, you're probably going to be more susceptible to other types of worms.
  15. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    SNK...That microscope will work fine....I learned how to do fecals through Fiasco Farms website.
  16. SNKGoats

    SNKGoats New Member

    Aug 30, 2010
    Perfect :)

    I was reading over everything again (now that I understand more) and I seem to have another question. (sorry to be such a pain!)

    "Fecal Counts". Okay...so I get doing fecal "exams" to determine what type of worm(s) I'm dealing with, but what is a fecal "count" and how do I determine it? (or is it only something a vet can do?) Also, what is a good number and what is a bad number?
  17. cmjust0

    cmjust0 New Member

    Oct 8, 2009
    Ironically, my vet doesn't even do counts -- only "exams," which is a little more boolean in nature. That is to say, they're basically just checking for presence of eggs. Almost any goat's going to have some kind of worms, though. Coccidia, too. That's just how it is. So to return me the results of a fecal exam by saying "Your goat has worms and coccidia -- that'll be $30"....um, yeah, that's just about worthless.

    I don't do fecals...exams, nor counts. Mostly because I'm working with the devil I know -- barberpoles.

    You can do your own fecal counts, though.. Check this out:


    I've read different stats on FEC thresholds for deworming...some say 200EPG, some say 500EPG, some say 1000EPG...Langston even mentions 2000EPG for bucks and dry does, apparently.

    Aaaaaand then I've seen people FREAK OUT on forums before after doing their own FEC's, saying "OMG! My goat had **20** eggs!" lol

    I guess it's all in how the animal appears to be fairing and what you're comfortable with. :)
  18. SNKGoats

    SNKGoats New Member

    Aug 30, 2010
    Ah, I see. I need to get one of those nifty McMaster slides. Another thing to add to my ever growing shopping cart ;-) Thank you!
  19. cdtrum

    cdtrum New Member

    Aug 25, 2008
    Northern Indiana
    I would just like to mention on the different EPG thresholds.....I know it depends on if you are talking standard breeds verse mini breeds according to my vet........I do fecals here, but I get where cmjusto is coming from.....goats can have adult worms and show no eggs on fecal because for what ever reason, usually weather conditions the momma worms are not laying eggs......so a clean fecal does not always mean a clean goat with no parasite issue.......the bottom line is get to know your goats, I use FAMACHA here also......but I have 2 goats that are never as dark in color as the Famacha chart shows they should be.....so every goat has their own color and I have learned what is normal color for each one of my guys......but I only have 4 to keep track of, I don't have a large herd.
  20. cmjust0

    cmjust0 New Member

    Oct 8, 2009
    Ditto, cdtrum... I have goats (the hybrids [aka MUTTS!], usually) that are always a nice salmon color despite the fact that they're very, very infrequently dewormed, and then others that require deworming fairly often who never quite get past maybe a 3 on the FAMACHA chart. Seems like 'pale pink' is sorta their baseline color.

    I also know *for a fact* that overall hydration plays a role in mucous membrane "pinkness," for lack of a better word. We had a doe who died of a bacterial scour who was so dehydrated by the end (despite SQ ringer's, etc) that her eyelids went from salmon to WHITE in a matter of hours. It was purely, 100% due to dehydration.

    And I also happen to believe that a goat's overall body condition plays a big role in hydration...that is, a fat goat seems, in my experience, less likely to become dehydrated than a goat with little or no body condition. For thin goats, dehydration happens QUICKLY.. That's also why I believe a little extra body condition saves lives, and why I manage for it...but that's another discussion entirely. :p

    And none of this even begins to address FAMACHA's total inability to allow the producer to distinguish between a goat that's *relient* versus a goat that's *resistant* to worms.. A resilient goat is simply able to make more blood quickly, so it can tolerate having more sucked out of it and still return a good FAMACHA score...while contaminating the hell out of your pastures. A resistant goat, on the other hand, returns good FAMACHA scores because -- in theory -- it's cellular immune system is good at fighting back against worms, so it maintains a lower worm burden.

    And, like you said...fecal egg counts may or may not tell you anything, either, depending on the weather and whatever pattern the barberpoles are in at any given time. And that may even vary goat-to-goat, since the only thing a barberpole's got to go on are hormones in the goat's body..

    I had this discussion with my vet once....resilience vs. resistance, worm dormancy, inconsistencies with FAMACHA, etc.. His conclusion was "I'm not sure there *is* a dependable way to know when a goat needs to be dewormed."

    Thanks, doc...very reassuring. lol