Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

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My niece and nephew have three Nigerian dwarf does that kidded about five weeks ago, three sets of twins.  All the families appear to be doing well, but they treated them for worms based on a local veterinarians recommendation two weeks ago.

Today, we did weights, fecal egg count, and FAMACHA scores on all three of the adults. There was very little or no decrease in the fecal egg count, and all three had FAMACHA scores of three or four. 
Although I have no records of the actual dosage used, I believe they were underdosed based on the fact that dosing was based on under-estimated weights and they were given “a small dose”of levamisole. The drug choice was, again, the local veterinarians recommendation.
They have all received biannual COWP boluses. 
Weights are 23, 25, and 30 kg. 

Questions: do they need to be treated again? And, if so, with what?

I have on hand ivermectin, fenbendazole, morantel, and levamisole. 
I’m assuming that the latter is out but wanted to mention all the ones that I have.

The local feed store still has cydectin, but I understand that this is to be used for known resistance to the other drugs.

There is not a local goat vet within practical proximity. 

Thank you. 

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Deworming really should be based upon symptoms rather than fecal egg counts, and I am very suspicious that something is not right if you think all three does need to be dewormed. Either there are some management problems or they don't really need it. What exactly are the fecal egg counts? Is there any chance you can get a picture of the eyelids? Unless you actually have a FAMACHA card, it can challenging to know what to look for. I know it sounds simple enough, but a couple of months ago I was trying to help someone and wasted an unbelievable amount of time before I finally asked her to send me a picture of her goats' eyelids, and they were absolutely perfect -- as bright red as any goat could be! 

You will ALWAYS see worm eggs on a fecal, and that's fine. A healthy human always has bacteria in our bodies. We don't take antibiotics to try to kill all of the bacteria, and we should not be trying to kill all of the worms in a goat's body. They should be able to co-exist just fine with worms and coccidia. Goats can vary tremendously in their response to worms. One goat can be totally fine with 2000 epg while another can have a poopy butt and anemia with a count of only 300 epg. 

I am also wondering why you have so many dewormers on hand when you only have three goats. I have 30 goats and have only dewormed two this year (one is a senior) and one last year. If you have been using them routinely, you could have a problem with dewormer resistance, which is why you didn't see a reduction in FEC, but if it was already low, then it's not a big deal that it didn't go down. So I don't want to just tell you to give more dewormer when that could be a mistake because you could just be pushing them closer to dewormer resistance.

Are you doing any type of pasture rotation? If yes, how often are they rotated?

How often have these dewormers been used? Are they used at the dosage on the bottle or more? (Goats need 2x the cattle dosage of almost all dewormers and 2x the dosage on the goat Safeguard bottle, but only 1.5x the cattle dosage of levamisole.)

You are correct about not using Cydectin until you have resistance to other dewormers, but the REALLY big guns is levamisole. Cydectin is the second to last one you should use, and then when it stops working, levamisole. Once in awhile you run into someone who thinks they should go for the strongest drug first, which is not smart because if you over-use it, the worms will get resistant to it too, then you have nothing left.

Here is an article about dewormer resistance:

https://thriftyhomesteader.com/dewormer-resistance-in-goats/

Here is the link to the video of the FAMACHA scoring on You Tube. This is for my two does as we did not video the ones for the other three goats. They were all noticeably paler than Katie. I'll try to get a picture of them when we do it again in a couple of weeks. I scored Katie at a 3+ and Cocoa as a 2. I believe that the camera adds some red to the picture so included the FAMACHA card as an inset.

https://youtu.be/rpXOefe_MF8

https://youtu.be/lNhFHytoM4g

You will ALWAYS see worm eggs on a fecal, and that's fine. A healthy human always has bacteria in our bodies. We don't take antibiotics to try to kill all of the bacteria, and we should not be trying to kill all of the worms in a goat's body. They should be able to co-exist just fine with worms and coccidia. Goats can vary tremendously in their response to worms. One goat can be totally fine with 2000 epg while another can have a poopy butt and anemia with a count of only 300 epg. 

Both of these does had FEC's too numerous to count. Although it's been a while, I used to spend a fair amount of time peering through a microscope in my medical practice of 30 years. I'm pretty confident in the counts which include all Stongyles. I excluded eggs that I thought were coccidia species, but frankly got tired of counting after the first grid. I scanned the other grids and found them to be equally packed.

Are you doing any type of pasture rotation? If yes, how often are they rotated?

All of these goats are new to my farm within the last 6 weeks or so. We are using pasture rotation for my nephew's goats (3 adult does and 6 kids). Currently, we have 4 paddocks for them with Sunn Hemp (not Cannabis :)). They graze it down to about a foot in 2-3 weeks. The total area is about 1/4 acre. After that, I hope to move them to a patch of kudzu I've been wanting to clear out for a while. My own does are in a dry barn until I can get fencing up around the 1/2 acre wood lot. I will rotate them after they clear out the browse, which is considerable this time of year. We actually have 140 acres of forest, but the terrain is rough. That doesn't bother the goats, but fencing it is tough for me.

How often have these dewormers been used? Are they used at the dosage on the bottle or more? (Goats need 2x the cattle dosage of almost all dewormers and 2x the dosage on the goat Safeguard bottle, but only 1.5x the cattle dosage of levamisole.)

I've only used the dewormers on my goats once. I don't believe that they were wormed prior to my getting them, but will check again with the breeder. She is pretty conservative with the meds.

I used the table from the ACSRPC at 

https://60f7303d-ac52-4cac-b7fb-6050f500b0b6.filesusr.com/ugd/aded9...

I don't believe that my nephew's goats have been previously wormed either. The levamisole was recommended by a vet, but I believe that they under-dosed as the dosages were "small" and based on estimated weights. When we weighed them this week, they had underestimated by about 20%. They have been using Molly's herbal since they were kids.

Here is an article about dewormer resistance:

I had read the attached article. I understand about the problem of emerging anti-microbial resistance. It has been and will continue to be a huge problem in human medicine for many of the same reasons that it is in livestock. I hope to manage my herd in a way that will preclude the need for drugs. In the meantime, we have some goats that appear to be anemic with high fecal egg counts. My nephew's does are still nursing, and were moved across the country just prior to kidding. We have not yet treated them, but I'm reluctant to wait too much longer as I believe their stress level is high.

p.s. I originally tried to post this reply from my phone but may have hit the wrong button (fat fingers!). Please forgive me if multiple copies were posted.

p.p.s. I look forward to talking to you on our video chat this week.

Thanks so much for your help.

Philip Hopkins

Hi Philip! I know that Deborah has back to back calls for most of the day, so I wanted to pop in here. I am sure y'all will cover all of this info in your chat too. A FAMACHA of 2 isn't typically treated, but certainly warrants watching if the goat is not otherwise in great thrift. The 3 and 4 are of course more worrisome, especially since they have recently kidded and recently moved. Be sure to monitor body condition and milk production as well (kids should be gaining about 4 oz per day.) I would also keep an eye on their coccidia load as that can get away from them once they are stressed, and if they become weakened with a growing worm burden. Unfortunately the video links that you posted are coming up as 'private view only' so I was not able to see the photos that you shared.

We obviously want to use a dewormer when it is indicated, but there are a couple of things to try to avoid-

1)do not worm everyone at the same time if at all possible. (We always want some worms that have not been exposed to the dewormer deposited on the pastures as this helps increase the time that the worms become resistant to a specific class-the unexposed worms are called refugia)

2)do not under dose- which I know you are already concerned about. Most researchers will say that it is actually better to overdose a little than to under dose (except levamisole) 

3)don't treat off of epg alone. Fecals are best used for parasite load trends within your herd, confirming coccidiosis, or doing fecal egg count reduction tests after de-worming. It is unfortunate that you did not have an epg on them before they were dewormed. Keep in mind that barber pole worms are prolific egg layers, so many eggs does dot necessarily mean many worms, when they are present. This is why FAMACHA scoring is so important- if there are lots of barber pole worms, there WILL be anemia.

4)all dewormers should be given in ORAL form only. Pour-ons and injections should be avoided and a pour-on should never be given orally.

You have linked above the same chart that I like to refer to. Perhaps it will help you decide what you should use, if you feel that they need to be de-wormed again. I personally have no plans to use levamisol on my farm unless it becomes a last resort, as it is the one anthelmintic that has a small margin of safety when it comes to correct dosing.

I hope you find this info helpful. 

Tammy

I can't watch the videos as they both popped up as "Private." I really wish I could see them because a 2 is excellent, and a 3 is questionable and means you look at other symptoms. Just to clarify ... 1 is bright red and 5 is paper white. Did you get the scoring backwards? 

Ditto on everything Tammy said. Not seeing a reduction in FEC may not be a problem. When I interviewed Susan Schoenian from University of Maryland sheep and goat research center, she was part of an 11-year buck study, and she said that some of the best bucks in the study had FECs of 2000 epg. I'm sure that's horrifying to anyone who has ever worked in human medicine. 

I hope I got all the facts straight... You have only used levamisole on the three does that are anemic with the high fecal egg counts. Those goats are not on the same pasture as the other goats that got the other dewormers (so would not have consumed larvae from drug-resistant worms). If I got that right, then you probably saw no decrease in FEC because you did indeed underdose the levamisole. 

If you did get the FAMACHA scores backwards, I usually like to start with the "weaker" dewormers and use those until they no longer work, and since you have morantel tartrate and fenbedazole on hand, you could use those two and see if that helps. If those dewormers have not been used in the past, and they are dosed correctly, they should work because barber pole is the most common cause of anemia in goats. 

As a side note, Molly's does not kill worms. I've done before and after fecals and found zero change, and there is a published study that showed no difference between the group that had Molly's and the control group that got nothing. 

We did FAMACHA scores on all three of my nephew's goats. All three are published so should be viewable.

https://youtu.be/pW4JqH_AKOs

https://youtu.be/URK3RT-0_6c

https://youtu.be/dpfcAh9yKcM

Thanks.

Thanks for re-posting those! I would keep a close eye on Eve and Dawn. Cocoa looks great. I think once you have seen a truly white 5 and an unmistakable blood red 1, it is much easier to feel better about when to treat the in between scores. I also pair my FAMACHA scores, especially the 3s and on-the-edge 4s with a 5point check. As Deborah mentioned above, if you decide to treat the girls with middle of the road scores, go with the weaker classes that you have on hand. Save the big guns for the true emergencies =)

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