for people who love the littlest dairy goats
Hello, I am in need of some of you experience goat owners wisdom and advice!
I have an about 3 year old doe who has severe diarrhea. It at first started out as clumpy poo, now it is very wet. She has really white eyelids, and has gotten really skinny as well. I am sure that is because of a worm overload. I don't feel like I have time to take fecal samples to determine what worms she has.
What dewormer would you all recommend that takes care of the most types of worms, (or the type of worms it sounds like she has?) and what is the dosage? I have safeguard, but is that the best one to use, and can I do multiple dosages?
Also I don't want her to get dehydrated, any advice on that?
Thank you all for your help, I am not an experienced goat owner so I really appreciate it!
White eyelids is usually caused by barber pole worm, but diarrhea is usually caused by other roundworms. It doesn't really matter though, as Safeguard kills all of them. You need to double the dosage on the bottle. If you have used it a lot, especially if you have underdosed, the worms may be resistant to it, so you'll need to use something else. Since you have it on hand though, that's what I'd start with.
I wouldn't worry about an adult getting dehydrated. They are usually really good about drinking enough. If she's milking, however, you will probably see a big decrease in production. It will go right back up as soon as the worms are taken care of. Where dehydration kills an adult is when they are so weak they can't walk to the water bucket and get a drink. But if you stick a bucket of water in front of them, they'll usually drink. I once had a buck that was so bad off that he couldn't even hold up his head, so I held up his head and drenched him with a few ounces of water, and that was enough for him to get the strength to hold his head up and start drinking on his own when I put the water in front of him.
When people say you need to take a fecal to the vet to determine what type of worm they have, they are actually confused about the real information. All of the dewormers kill all of the roundworms, which is what all of the problematic worms are, but they do not kill coccidia. A 3-year-old with these symptoms, however, screams worms, because adult goats almost never have a problem with coccidiosis unless they have other health issues first, and then the coccidia grow out of control because the immune system is already compromised.
FYI, the only worm that is not killed by all of the dewormers is tapeworm. It is only killed by Safeguard and Valbazen, but it is visible to the naked eye, and it doesn't usually cause illness. A vet who raises goats once told me that tapeworms are worse for the mental health of the owner than the physical health of the goat, which is true, because most people freak out when they see them. But again, you don't need a fecal to tell you that your goats have tapeworms because you can actually see those. When a goat has tapeworms, that is the ONLY time you are supposed to use more than one dose of Safeguard -- and that is the only time you are supposed to use more than one dose of any dewormer. It is 1990s advice to do multiple doses x number of days apart. If the diarrhea has not cleared up in 24-48 hours, I'd use ivermectin (Ivomec) next, and that is used at 2x the cattle dosage, but try the Safeguard first. You don't want to move on to a stronger dewormer if Safeguard still works.
Here is an excerpt on dewormer resistance from the first edition of my book:
Deborah, thank you so much for your lengthy and quick response! I gave her a double dose of safeguard yesterday like you said, so I will be watching to see if things get better.
Thanks again, I so appreciated it!!
Just checking in to see how she's doing.
Thank you for checking in!
She seems to be doing better, but her poop still is off. I think it's getting better as well, but definitely not the normal goat pellets. (She's also still really skinny) Would you recommend using the ivermectin now like you mentioned in your reply? I'm confused about dewormers and what animal they are listed to be for. Such as can I use the ivermectin paste found at my local farm supply store that is for horses, for the goats? I'd also need the dosage. (Either Med-Pharmex Ivermectin 1.87%, or Zimecterin?)
Also, I have 7 goats total and all but my one buck has pretty light colored eyelids. A couple are better than others, but definitely still not as red as they should be. None of them have the diarrhea though. Would you recommend worming the girls as well with a double dose of safeguard, or an ivormectin paste?
Deborah, you have been so very helpful! It has been super hard to find information about this (even though it seems more basic) and also knowing for sure that I can trust the information given as reliable.
Thanks again! -Sophie
I like to see the poop firm up and turn into berries by now, if you gave her a dewormer on Sunday, so it's probably time to try something a little stronger. If it helped somewhat, then it probably killed some of the worms, just not enough for a full recovery. Since she has the most obvious issue, I'd go ahead and give her the ivermectin next. If you get the Zimecterin for horses, it is almost 2x as strong as the cattle injectable, so while you'd give the cattle at 2x the cattle dose to goats orally, if you get the Zimecterin, it is 1.87%, so it is almost strong enough for goats as is. The dosing on it is not terrible accurate though since you're eyeballing something that's in 250 pounds increments made for a horse, so if this is an adult ND that's probably around 60-65 pounds, try to eyeball it at around the 100 pound mark. You don't want to underdose.
If you have copper oxide wire particles on hand, you could give her 2 grams of that when you give her the dewormer because Dr. Burke did a study a couple of years ago that showed they can boost the efficacy of a chemical dewormer when given at the same time, and you only need grams for an adult and 1 gram for kids when using for worms. If you've given her COWP within the last couple of months though, I probably wouldn't do it because you don't want to OD her on copper.
It is not a good idea to treat a whole herd because you want some refugia, which are worms that have not been exposed to the dewormer and will still be killed by it. If you deworm the whole herd, then all of the worms that survive the deworming will be resistant to that dewormer, and that's all the goats will be pooping out after the deworming. So, it's a step towards dewormer resistance. If you have goats with poor body condition and pale eyelids, they would be first ones to deworm. Since you know the Safeguard worked a little, I'd use it AND the Zimecterin at the same time. You give them separately but one after the other. You will get a better kill rate when you do that because there will be some worms that are resistant to one that will be killed by the other and vice versa.