Monday, February 18, 2013

Deworming Your Goats

The health of your goat will depend a lot on how they are managed. Herd management is a practice you really need to become familiar with. You know the saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That is very true any time you are raising animals. You can help to avoid unnecessary loses and unexpected expense just by managing your herd appropriately.  This blog post is all about deworming your goat herd. I am also going to include everything in this post under the Medicine Cabinet page so you can come back to it quickly for reference. Below I have listed a few of the dewormers you can use on your goats. Many are not labeled for goats, but that doesn't mean you can't use them, it just means you should talk to your veterinarian before you use them. There are not a lot of dewormers on the market for goats, mostly because there isn't a huge interest in goats on a large scale, like there are for cattle and swine. When you have producers with thousands of heads of animals the big drug companies are more apt to produce medications geared toward them. Most of the parasites are very similar from one species to another so the medications will still work on your goats, they just didn't have the funding or perhaps the interest in testing their product on goats because they didn't feel that the cost for that study would be worth what they will get back from labeling that drug for goats.... Do you see where I'm going with this. These drugs are used in goats all the time, they just don't say it on the drug label, so talk to your vet before you use them.

It's a good idea to just get to know your vet anyway, you want to find someone that knows a little about goats, at least the basics, and will be able to help you should you need professional advice. I can tell you from experience and working in the field, if you need a veterinarian at 11pm at night, that doctor is more likely to help you out if you already have a working relationship with him or her, if the first time your calling this veterinarian is at 11pm on a rainy night, good luck.  Another tip, take in fecal samples of your herd to your veterinarian, they won't cost you that much and it will help establish a relationship with the veterinarian, which you will be happy you have on that cold, rainy night at 11pm when your doe is having trouble delivering that 3rd kid. I promise. Plus, fecal samples are a great tool to know where your herd is in terms of parasite load. There is no reason to be deworming your herd if they don't need it, it cost you money you could put to better use and it can contribute to resistance to the drug in those parasites. And because goats are so prone to getting parasites and drugs aren't generally geared toward goats the less resistance there is the better for us as goat owners. 

So I have listed a few dewormers that may or may not be labeled for use in goats. I have tried to list any withdrawal times for both milk and meat, this is the time after the medication is given before you should eat or drink the meat or milk. I have also tried to include any contraindications, the route to give the medication and what worms the drug covers. Following the drugs and their doses are some tips on managing your goat herd and your pasture in relation to parasites. There is also an article that will delve deeper into the subject of parasites.


Fenbendazole, Panacur®, Safeguard®
- labeled for goats at 5 mg/kg but 10 mg/kg correct dose for strongyles
- use by veterinary prescription.
- approved for dairy cows with zero milk withdrawal
Spectrum - abomasal and intestinal strongyles, lungworms, tapeworms
Dose - higher than sheep and cattle; at least 7.5 mg/kg; commonly use 10 mg/kg, 15mg/kg for tapeworms
Route - oral
Withdrawal - milk recommendation 96 hours at 10 mg/kg based on goat studies; meat atleast 8 days based on label for cattle.

Albendazole, Valbazen®
- not approved for goats, is labeled for sheep at 7.5 mg/kg
Spectrum - abomasal and intestinal strongyles, flukes, tapeworms, lungworms
Dose -15 mg/kg
Route - oral
Withdrawal - meat 7 days (sheep label), not to be used in dairy animals

Morantel, Rumatel®
- approved and labeled for lactating dairy goats
Spectrum - abomasal and intestinal strongyles; not absorbed.
Dose - added to feed, same dose per pound as for cattle (0.44 grams per 100lbs)
Route - oral
Withdrawal - milk zero; meat 14 days

Levamisole, Levasole®, Prohibit®
- not approved for goats, is labeled for sheep
- reputation for causing abortion
- causes frothing, muscle quivering in some goats even at normal dose.
Spectrum - abomasal and intestinal strongyles, large lungworms
Dose - 8 to12 mg/kg . DO NOT overdose - toxicity common.
Route - oral (some use cattle injectable but greater risk of toxicity)
Withdrawal - milk not known, not approved for dairy cows;
meat at least 3 days based on sheep oral label, at least 7 days based on cattle injectable

Ivermectin, Ivomec® 
- not approved for goats, is labeled for sheep and cattle
- use with veterinary prescription
- injectable product stings and should not be used, to avoid selecting for resistant worms.
Spectrum - abomasal and intestinal strongyles, lungworms, biting lice (not tapeworms,
flukes or biting lice).
Dose - routinely double that for cattle, sheep, horses; total resistance common in goats in Texas.
Route - oral (sheep drench, horse paste); pour-on (cattle product) not evaluated for efficacy in goats and would select for resistant worms.
 Ivermectin contaminates the goat's milk.
  Oral 0.2-0.4 mg/kg - 14 days meat, 9 days milk
  SC 0.2 mg/kg - 35 days meat, 40 days milk

Moxidectin, Cydectin®
- not approved for goats.
- by veterinarian’s prescription
- should not be used if any other dewormer is still effective on the farm
- withdrawal recommendations for goats are
  Oral 0.2 mg/kg - 14 days meat
  Oral 0.5 mg/kg - 23 days meat
- do not use SC
- do not use in dairy goats

Special Considerations:
Resistance is common and goats are very susceptible to parasites so be mindful when deworming your herd. Follow these simple guidelines to help prevent increased resistance.
- Consult your veterinarian for fecal exams and control programs. 
- Avoid small grassy exercise lots.
- Avoid deworming in the first month of pregnancy, when drugs might cause birth
- Minimize treatments to slow development of resistance.
- Consider treating two days in a row to increase efficacy.
- Consider fasting overnight before treating to increase efficacy.
- Avoid milk residues in dairy goats; deworm while dry if possible or use morantel.
- Observe meat withdrawals in meat goats and culls.
-Avoid frequent rotation of dewormers - ideally, stay with one drug for an entire year.
-Do not use injectable or pour-on anthelmintics, as these select for resistant parasites.
-During the grazing season, monitor for clinical signs (anemia, diarrhea, bottle jaw) and treat the affected animals but leave goats that are in balance with their parasite load untreated.  This slows the development of resistant parasites by leaving unselected worms in the population.  Record the identity of animals requiring frequent treatment and cull them and their offspring to increase genetic resistance of the goats to parasites.
-Do not use moxidectin (Cydectin®) unless no other drug works on your farm.  This is the last resort drug and its efficacy must be preserved as long as possible.
-Weigh or use a weigh tape on all animals to determine proper dose.

Strategic use of dewormers – these are times to consider using dewormers on
susceptible, infected animals
- monitor fecal shedding during the summer and treat and move as needed.
- pre-breeding (fall) to decrease over wintering of arrested larvae and to improve body condition, reproduction, and kid birth weights.
- late gestation or during early lactation to treat peripanurient rise and to decrease parasite load being introduced on to pasture.
- treat and move to safe pastures which have not been grazed before or for at least 3 months.  Treating before moving does; select for parasite resistance.
- monitor fecal shedding during the summer and treat and move as needed.

Good pasture management - avoid over stocking, rotate before eaten to the ground, manage areas around feeders and watering areas, co-mingle grazing species.  Strip grazing areas must be large enough to avoid severe buildup; small strips must be changed more frequently.

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