PARASITE CONTROL - INTERNAL PARASITES IN GOATS & SHEEP
Why We Worm Goats & Sheep
Worms are parasites that deprive the goat or lamb of nutrients and cause poor growth rates and other health issues. Parasites can be found in various organs and the intestinal tract. De-wormers need to be paired with a different wormer to cover all of the worms that can affect goats or sheep.
Commonly Found Worms in Goats & Sheep are:
- Stomach worms (Haemonchus contortus species)
- Lungworms (Dictyocaulus spp. or Muellerius capillaris)
- Liver Flukes (Fasciola hepatica)
- Coccidia (Eimeria)
When is it Necessary to Worm my Goat or Lamb?
There are Two Basic Answers to this Question:
- Basic Management– Worming your market goat or lamb should be part of your 3-4 month maintenance & management practice. We always tried to worm at 60 & 30 days prior to the show to ensure adequate withdrawal times. The good news is that many of the available wormers have short withdrawal durations.
- When there are signs – Worming must be administered when there are physical signs of infestation. Goats and Sheep will pick up larva in the soil and from each other. So keep an eye open to the symptoms.
Symptoms may include the following:
- Dry Coughing – Lung Worms left untreated could lead to pneumonia & other respiratory issues.
- Poor Growth (or slow) – Stomach Worms
- Colic (Stomach Pain & Cramping)
- Blood in feces (not common)
- Anemia – Stomach Worms (See FAMACHA© Chart)
- Bloated or distended belly
- Rough Coat (dry & brittle)
- Rapid Breathing (lung worms)
- Depressed & Lethargic (sleepy)
- Bottle Jaw (fluid collected under the jaw area)
What are the Signs of Worm Infestation & Anemia?
The FAMACHA© system was developed in South Africa. Worms had become drug-resistant and worming the goats and sheep more often only built up the worm’s resistance to the de-wormers. The FAMACHA system utilizes an eye anemia guide to evaluate the eyelid color of a goat or lamb to determine the severity of parasite infection and the need for deworming.
- Bright Red Eyelid Color – Indicates that the goat or lamb has few or no worms or that the animal has the capacity to tolerate its worms.
- White Eyelid Color – Indicate Severe Anemia; the worms present in the goat or lamb’s gut are in such numbers they are draining the animal of blood. If left untreated, the goat or lamb could die quickly.
The FAMACHA© chart contains five eye scores (1-5), which measure the percentage of red blood cells in the animals system. Animals in categories 1 or 2 (red or red-pink) do not require de-wormers whereas animals in categories 4 and 5 (pink-white and white) need immediate attention. Animals in category 3 may or may not require treatment depending upon other factors.
Withdrawal periods -
Reflect the amount of time necessary for an animal to metabolize an administered product to a safe, acceptable level. Every federally approved drug or animal health product has a withdrawal period printed on the product label or package insert. Withdrawal times are not the same for all drugs.
NOTE – Any medicine or wormer given to your goat or lamb must meet withdrawal times to qualify in market classes.
BE SURE TO KNOW WHAT THE WITHDRAWAL TIMES ARE FOR YOUR SHOW.
This is one time that having red eyes is a good thing. It’s the light to white that indicates severe anemia & worm problems.
White requires immediate attention. Here are some good examples to help you develop an eye for the tissue coloring (yes the eye pun was intended).
Compare the photos to the chart.
Anemia can also be determined by looking at the gums of the goat or lamb.
Gums should be pink in color. Blue or white gum color may indicate anemia or other illness. Call a vet if you see these colors.
Where Do Goats and Sheep Pick up Parasites?
- Stagnant Water – Goats and Sheep pick up lung worms and liver flukes from stagnant water. The larvae grow and reproduce inside snails, which live in stagnant water.
- Wet Grass & Plants – Stomach worms leave their larva on wet vegetation (like wet morning grass) where the larvae are eaten by goats and sheep.
- Overcrowding – Coccidia generally affect young animals with immature immunity systems. Coccidia commonly live on the ground but are usually not a problem unless there is overcrowding of animals. Coccidia live in the lining of the intestines and destroy the goat or lambs’ ability to absorb nutrients. The most common sign of Coccidia infestation is messy diarrhea.
Administering Liquids Orally (by Mouth)
Liquid or Injectable de-wormers can be given orally using a dosing syringe. Simply draw the recommended dosage in a syringe and a little more to cover any medicine lost in the process. I always aim to put the syringe into the corner of the mouth and dispense. They may not like the flavor and might shake their head or rub their mouth. Read the product label for the dosage amount by weight.
How to Pick the Right De-Wormer
Most market goats and sheep will be adequately de-wormed by using a Fendendazole product for one cycle and an Ivermectin product for the second cycle. But if you see specific symptoms, selecting a product from the chart below can be beneficial. Worming is administered typically over 3 days and then again in 2-3 weeks for 3 days to ensure that both the adult and larva are killed.
Approved Drugs for Removal of Internal Parasites in Goats & Sheep
Mange / Mite Treatment – External Parasites
If treating mange or mites, administer 1 tube of Ivermectin paste in thirds for 3 days. Keep the goat or lamb segregated for one week after treatment. Ivermectin takes a little time to take effect. Segregation will help reduce re-infestation. Eggs are unaffected by Ivermectin and will need to be treated after hatching. Re-administer Ivermectin in two weeks to kill any hatchlings.
- Drenching Gun or Dosing Gun
- Two Types of Wormers (For rotation)