Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

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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Thanks a lot, Leslie.  And yes, not being able to see what the problem is is so frustrating. The Goat Itch Protector is something I'm going to keep in mind!

Leslie Carion said:

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! 

I checked with Deborah and she said that she has heard vets recommend the sulfur dust, but doesn't actually have use experience to share with us, so that would be something to check with your vet on if interested in using it.

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. =)

Leslie- you may want to try brushing them out now that the ivermectin has had a chance to do it's thing. My boys had so much dry flaky skin that was trapped in their winter coat. They just looked awful. I used an undercoat rake for dogs and it worked fabulously to get all the dead skin and the thick clumps of winter coat out. Plus they LOVED it =) They look and feel so much better. Of course, shaving is an option too =)

Leslie Carion said:

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. 

Do you know if the breeder gave them anything right before you brought them home? I would ask just in case something was applied that was irritating to the skin in general. I know when I treated my kids for lice with the Ivermectin Pour On, several of them were trying to scratch at it in any way they could get to the area, so I am pretty sure that it irritated their baby skin. It lasted for a couple of hours. They were around 8 weeks old when treated.

Lice can be super hard to see unless there is a large population. If they are very itchy, I would bet this is what you are dealing with.  

Another thought- were they banded just before you picked them up? Are they scratching with their little back feet like a dog, or are they sort of rolling around like they are itchy? If they are rolling around that may actually be a pain response to recently being banded rather than being itchy.

Ann Bodling said:

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. =)

Thanks, Tammy.  They were banded a few days before we picked them up but don't seem to be trying to reach that area now. They are using their feet and mouths like a dog would to scratch their legs and sides mostly. I'll keep an eye on them today and see if the discomfort recedes.  And I'll see about brushing them, too, as you mentioned to Leslie.  Thanks a lot for your help.

Tammy Gallagher said:

Do you know if the breeder gave them anything right before you brought them home? I would ask just in case something was applied that was irritating to the skin in general. I know when I treated my kids for lice with the Ivermectin Pour On, several of them were trying to scratch at it in any way they could get to the area, so I am pretty sure that it irritated their baby skin. It lasted for a couple of hours. They were around 8 weeks old when treated.

Lice can be super hard to see unless there is a large population. If they are very itchy, I would bet this is what you are dealing with.  

Another thought- were they banded just before you picked them up? Are they scratching with their little back feet like a dog, or are they sort of rolling around like they are itchy? If they are rolling around that may actually be a pain response to recently being banded rather than being itchy.

Ann Bodling said:

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. =)

Hi Leslie- glad your guys are feeling better. Deborah has way more experience than I do using essential oils, but reading the description of the product, I would say it is not really going to have an 'insecticide' type action. It says it "cleans away" the parasites.

Also- I don't know that what they are calling DE in their description is actually Diatomaceous Earth? I could not find a product ingredient list online, but did find this on their website "Further, we have also added our unique formula called DE (Organic Fossilized Algae Powder), so our product remains on your animals for longer, saving you time by not having to reapply our formula as often."

Thanks so much for the replies Tammy. I totally agree on the Itch Protector, I definitely felt it was more of a symptom masker than treatment given the cleaning away claim. I does say it has diatomaceous earth in the label ingredients, but it dries out my hands after leaking through my gloves so I'm probably going to avoid it. I have been brushing and they love it!  One guy was super itchy again yesterday. It's almost like it wanes for week and then comes roaring back. I'm wondering if they actually have a chorioptic mite, based on their itch location and location of any flaky patches and small scabs I could find.  I found some articles that discuss sulfur lime dip and eprinex as treatment for this particular mite (I attached a couple of the references, and I see eprinex labels for this mite). Not sure what you think about either of these as options, but totally understand if it's a vet-worthy question about using either of those after already trying ivermectin and NuStock. I understand it might get better as it warms up and gets too hot for the mite, if that's it, but its hard seeing him suffer with it.

Ann- I hope your little guys are feeling better soon!

Attachments:

Hey Leslie- sorry for the delayed response. It was tattoo day for all of our kids and it took much longer than we expected! Eprinex and Ivomec Pour On are both avermectins (macrocylic lactone class) so the mechanism of action that kills the mite is going to be the same, although the strength of the product may vary. According to Sheep Goat and Cervid Medicine (3rd edition) topical avermectins 'may' work and they also specifically mention that lime sulfur dips are usually curative for Chorioptic Mange. The thing with the dips is that it is also going to be an off-label use and I have no idea about meat/milk withdrawal, so this is certainly something I would talk to your vet about. I know they are wethers and not producing milk but always good to know these things for animals that could also be a meat source for someone. They also do recommend clipping them down before dipping. I guess the chorioptic mite tends to live a little closer to the surface than other mites.

These are the exact symptoms that my boys' had and they are all doing much better after 2 doses of Ivomec Pour On. I actually had my vet take a look at them several months ago because of the crusty areas on their legs and scrotum and he said that it looked like a healing staph infection so he didn't prescribe anything. I just treated them several weeks ago so I feel awful. But it is amazing at how fast hair grew back!

Thanks Tammy! These guys are pets for life but I will go ahead and see what the vet has to say anyway. I'm going to try to be patient also :) Thanks so much for the support on this forum, I really appreciate it!

Hi Tammy,  should I have expected the Ivermectin to be effective at relieving their itching 2 days after it was given?  They are all still itching and some seem worse. A couple of them are biting just above their feet, but I'm not seeing hair loss at this point.  I think I gave it correctly using an eye dropper pressed down through their hair to the skin.  Would you recommend giving it to them again right away?  Our vet is down with COVID and was bedridden a couple of days ago so I am not expecting her to be able to come any time soon.  Thanks a bunch!
Tammy Gallagher said:

Do you know if the breeder gave them anything right before you brought them home? I would ask just in case something was applied that was irritating to the skin in general. I know when I treated my kids for lice with the Ivermectin Pour On, several of them were trying to scratch at it in any way they could get to the area, so I am pretty sure that it irritated their baby skin. It lasted for a couple of hours. They were around 8 weeks old when treated.

Lice can be super hard to see unless there is a large population. If they are very itchy, I would bet this is what you are dealing with.  

Another thought- were they banded just before you picked them up? Are they scratching with their little back feet like a dog, or are they sort of rolling around like they are itchy? If they are rolling around that may actually be a pain response to recently being banded rather than being itchy.

Ann Bodling said:

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. =)

Your Welcome! Please keep us posted and I am interested in what your vet recommends about treatment and opinion about what is going on with them. I've never used a dip and would really like the feedback on your experience if you choose that.

Leslie Carion said:

Thanks Tammy! These guys are pets for life but I will go ahead and see what the vet has to say anyway. I'm going to try to be patient also :) Thanks so much for the support on this forum, I really appreciate it!

I would not repeat this soon. Give it a little more time to work. I looked all over for an answer on how long to expect before it kills lice, even when applied to cattle, and could not find an answer. There is nothing that I could locate on the label or the product details sheet. I am assuming because it is for treatment of various parasites, so it's just not that detailed. It does have to be absorbed into the skin and then the lice (depending on the type) have to either eat skin or drink blood to consume it. At that point it causes paralysis in the louse. It did take a few days before I noticed that none of mine were stopping to scratch themselves.

I know that it seemed to really irritate the skin on my younger kids when I applied it. They were rolling over on their backs trying to scratch it for a few hours after I applied it.

Ann Bodling said:

Hi Tammy,  should I have expected the Ivermectin to be effective at relieving their itching 2 days after it was given?  They are all still itching and some seem worse. A couple of them are biting just above their feet, but I'm not seeing hair loss at this point.  I think I gave it correctly using an eye dropper pressed down through their hair to the skin.  Would you recommend giving it to them again right away?  Our vet is down with COVID and was bedridden a couple of days ago so I am not expecting her to be able to come any time soon.  Thanks a bunch!
Tammy Gallagher said:

Do you know if the breeder gave them anything right before you brought them home? I would ask just in case something was applied that was irritating to the skin in general. I know when I treated my kids for lice with the Ivermectin Pour On, several of them were trying to scratch at it in any way they could get to the area, so I am pretty sure that it irritated their baby skin. It lasted for a couple of hours. They were around 8 weeks old when treated.

Lice can be super hard to see unless there is a large population. If they are very itchy, I would bet this is what you are dealing with.  

Another thought- were they banded just before you picked them up? Are they scratching with their little back feet like a dog, or are they sort of rolling around like they are itchy? If they are rolling around that may actually be a pain response to recently being banded rather than being itchy.

Ann Bodling said:

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. =)

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