Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

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Hi, my name is Leslie and I'm new to the site. I have 3 wethers (triplet brothers all arrived together in June 2020) just about to turn one year old. I have my first question regarding significant itching and stomping of feet and possible mites. I guess a few basic details...they are the only goats we have, and they get mixed grass hay and free choice loose minerals (Manna Pro but going to try Sweetlix when it arrives). I'm in Minnesota, and we just got through that very cold weather. It has warmed up and all of the goats are shedding (and have a little bit of dandruff), so at first I thought the itching was just related to that. However, one goat in particular does a lot of feet stomping and itching of his forelegs especially, and seems very miserable. He definitely behaves like something is biting him. Their coats look really nice overall, no missing hair and absolutely no sign of lice after a great deal of searching. However, today I noticed a few small scabby spots on the forelegs of the one who is the most miserable, though I haven't been able to scrape skin significantly enough to see if I can find mites under a scope. I ordered Nu Stock arriving today and will try that but wasn't sure if it would actually kill mites or just possibly provide some relief. I also have DE coming but I'm unsure about using that on them yet in case it is too drying. I was wondering if I should just go ahead and use Ivomec pour on or if I really need to try to confirm mites at the vet. I was trying to avoid going, especially given how few scabby spots I can see and if there wasn't really harm in using the pour on without confirmation. In summary, I don't see any lice, their coats look nice and I don't really suspect any mineral deficiency based on that, and the one is just so annoyed that I would be surprised if it's only shedding...especially given the little scabs I am now seeing.  Not sure if I should use only Nu Stock cream for now, or go ahead with the pour on, or how best to minimize the itching. I thought I'd see what others think before I go haul one to a vet. Thank you!  

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Hi Leslie! 

Mites burrow down a good ways, so it can be difficult to get a good enough scrape to see them. Sometimes the vets have a hard time catching one under a microscope as well. If it were me, I would go ahead and treat with the ivermectin pour on. If they do have some elusive lice, that will treat both lice and mites. I am actually treating my herd with pour on for a lice outbreak right now. My first in over 4 years. We had a horrible winter storm come through which caused them to be confined to the barns for a week. I have always heard that winter weather is prime time for lice because of the closer quarters they keep in shelters, but being here in Texas, we don't typically see a need for them to shelter in for that long! It has been 7 days and I am already seeing hair grow back in a couple of places that had developed scabs. Keep in mind that the pour on will not kill eggs and should be repeated in 14 days. Treat all 3 =)

I would just do the ivermectin and see what kind of response you get. When you treat them with a lot of things at the same time, it is hard to know what worked, so you can tackle it faster the next time around. I personally am not a fan of dusting with DE because of the respiratory complications that can occur with it being inhaled. You can certainly use the NuStock on any irritated spots for some relief, but it is not going to treat lice or mange mites- they need a more systemic approach vs. spot treatment. According to the label, it can be used to treat ear mites.

Thanks Tammy! I will go ahead and try the pour on and use the NuStock for the small scab areas. I've had a little trouble figuring out the dose, somewhere in previous forum discussions I think I saw 2x the amount on the bottle labeled for cattle? I will treat all 3 and repeat as suggested. Many thanks!

Leslie 

Tammy Gallagher said:

Hi Leslie! 

Mites burrow down a good ways, so it can be difficult to get a good enough scrape to see them. Sometimes the vets have a hard time catching one under a microscope as well. If it were me, I would go ahead and treat with the ivermectin pour on. If they do have some elusive lice, that will treat both lice and mites. I am actually treating my herd with pour on for a lice outbreak right now. My first in over 4 years. We had a horrible winter storm come through which caused them to be confined to the barns for a week. I have always heard that winter weather is prime time for lice because of the closer quarters they keep in shelters, but being here in Texas, we don't typically see a need for them to shelter in for that long! It has been 7 days and I am already seeing hair grow back in a couple of places that had developed scabs. Keep in mind that the pour on will not kill eggs and should be repeated in 14 days. Treat all 3 =)

I would just do the ivermectin and see what kind of response you get. When you treat them with a lot of things at the same time, it is hard to know what worked, so you can tackle it faster the next time around. I personally am not a fan of dusting with DE because of the respiratory complications that can occur with it being inhaled. You can certainly use the NuStock on any irritated spots for some relief, but it is not going to treat lice or mange mites- they need a more systemic approach vs. spot treatment. According to the label, it can be used to treat ear mites.

According to Sheep, Goat, and Cervid Medicine (3rd edition) Ivermectin pour on is 1ml per 22 pounds down the spine from neck to tail. Be sure to part the hair so that the medication reaches the skin.

Thank you! I appreciate the responses Tammy. This forum is such a relief for a newbie! I’m glad the weather has improved in Texas too, my goats are definitely enjoying the early spring weather here (aside from the itching).

Tammy Gallagher said:

According to Sheep, Goat, and Cervid Medicine (3rd edition) Ivermectin pour on is 1ml per 22 pounds down the spine from neck to tail. Be sure to part the hair so that the medication reaches the skin.

Ditto on everything Tammy said. And ivermectin is used at 2x the cattle dose when it is being given orally for intestinal worms, so you did see that, but it was not the dosage for lice or mites. (And there are different products for pour-on and oral and injectable; and you do not use injectable for goats.)

Can I piggy back on Leslie's question? Leslie, how are the triplets doing?

Can I use the same Ivermectin pour on for my new 10 week old wethers? And if so, how to I apply just 1 ml down the whole length of their back, as they are weighing at about 20-22 pounds? Thank you.

Hi Ann! I got a 10mL syringe from the pharmacy (for kid medicine) and that helped for giving such a small amount. Mine are 40 lbs so I gave about 2mL. I poured it along the top line on the skin per Tammy's recommendation above.  The pour on seemed to help, and I thought after the second dose that we were totally in the clear.... but one is still occasionally more itchy than the others (mostly during the warmest part of the day) and they have some dandruff too. So, maybe dry skin at this point or I have a second thing going on. I'm going to keep checking them for any other signs of anything, or else once it warms up enough here I might try an antifungal shampoo or shave if needed. 

Thanks, Leslie.

Leslie, a couple of more questions, if you don't mind....I've treated them all now, using an eyedropper which worked pretty well, pushing it against the skin under their coat.   How long until you began to see relief for them?  And when did you apply their second dose?

  Thanks a bunch!

Ann- if you are pretty sure it is lice, I wouldn't worry about a second dose. The pour-on ivermectin is formulated to stay in the system long enough to kill the lice eggs that hatch. Mites are typically harder to eradicate with one dose, but you will likely see scabby areas with hair loss if that is what they have =) My poor boys had them all around their tail webbing and on their scrotums-poor things! They have all grown hair back now!

Deborah has also recommended sulfur dusting as a more natural alternative to using Ivermectin Pour On for lice. I've asked her for a little detail in exactly what to purchase and how to do the dusting and will let y'all know for future reference. =)

Thanks so much Tammy.  What I'm confused about right now is that I haven't seen any parasites so I don't know what I'm dealing with.  The 4 wethers are 10 weeks old and came two days ago and one began scratching after getting him home and I wondered whether something was in the straw that was bothering him. I cleared out the straw and put hay down but then this morning everyone is scratching.  The barn hasn't housed livestock in decades but squirrels and chipmunks have been in and out in the past. So I don't know if this is indeed parasites or some other condition. 

I called the vet, who the other goat owners in the area love,(and who I had made an appt with for next Tuesday to come and check the little guys over)  but it turns out she is bedridden with COVID which is awful for her and those who count on her.  So, I'm flying a little blind at the moment. As they seemed in so much discomfort  at timesI wanted to try the Ivermectin to see if it would help. 

If you have any other ideas, I'd be grateful to hear them! They are scratching from their nose down to their feet, so pretty much all over, though it certainly isn't constant.  Would stress alone be enough to cause the itching? I wouldn't have thought so. They are eating and drinking and their droppings are as should be (knocking on something!) and they seem perky, otherwise. Thanks again!


Tammy Gallagher said:

Ann- if you are pretty sure it is lice, I wouldn't worry about a second dose. The pour-on ivermectin is formulated to stay in the system long enough to kill the lice eggs that hatch. Mites are typically harder to eradicate with one dose, but you will likely see scabby areas with hair loss if that is what they have =) My poor boys had them all around their tail webbing and on their scrotums-poor things! They have all grown hair back now!

Deborah has also recommended sulfur dusting as a more natural alternative to using Ivermectin Pour On for lice. I've asked her for a little detail in exactly what to purchase and how to do the dusting and will let y'all know for future reference. =)

I could never find any lice after a lot of searching so I was sort of assuming mites.  I felt the one miserable guy was feeling better within a day or so of the pour on (and I did the second dose about two weeks later), but I also used NuStock (sulfur based cream) on the few spots I thought could be scabby or missing hair.  I'd be interested in the sulfur dust idea too, as mine don't have much in the way of scabs or missing hair spots for the cream. 

I also wonder what Tammy or Deborah think about something called Goat Itch Protector that I got from Jeffers. It's a liquid concentrate you mix with water that has DE, lemongrass oil and some other oil. It smells nice in comparison to sulfur but I wonder if DE would still dry the skin further. I used it a few times on the legs of the miserable one and it seemed to help relieve it right away like the NuStock. It's hard to know where to put anything though, if you can't see any reason for the itching! 

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