Although it appears there are about a dozen chemical dewormers on the market, all fall into one of three categories. Drugs in the same category have a similar mode of action and work to kill similar worms. Deworming goats correctly is an important step in preventing dewormer resistance.
When I was writing the first edition of Raising Goats Naturally in 2013, a new dewormer that was the first in a new class had been submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval, and I naively wrote that it was not expected to be on the market for a couple of years. Monepantel is still not on the market in the United States although it was already available in Australia at the time the first edition was published. Some researchers and veterinarians do not think it will ever be approved for use here.
Don’t be too disappointed though because research has shown that worms developed resistance to the new dewormer on some Australian farms in only two years. The answer does not lie in inventing new dewormers. The answer is to use our dewormers more intelligently.
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“White dewormers,” so called because they are most commonly sold as a white liquid or paste, are benzimidazole dewormers, which include fenbendazole and albendazole. It appears there are more dewormers than there really are because some brand-name drugs have the same one or two active ingredients. Panacur and Safe-Guard both use fenbendazole as the active ingredient. Valbazen is the trade name for albendazole. Only Safe-Guard is approved for use in goats, but other drugs are used off-label.
The benzimidazole class of dewormer is the only one effective against tapeworms. While a single dose of albendazole kills tapeworms, fenbendazole must be given three days in a row to treat tapeworms. Albendazole is not recommended for use in early pregnancy, but it has been linked to a variety of problems in multiple species at different stages of gestation, so some people may choose to avoid it throughout pregnancy.
The second class is the macrocyclic lactone dewormers, which are sometimes called the clear dewormers because they are a clear liquid or gel. This includes ivermectin and moxidectin. Moxidectin is considered much stronger than ivermectin, so ivermectin is generally used first because moxidectin can still be useful in some goats when ivermectin no longer works. Although these drugs are not labeled for use in goats, they are approved for extra-label use orally or as a pour-on. (Never use a pour-on orally!)
Moxidectin injectable is not supposed to be used in goats, and although ivermectin injectable is approved for extra-label use, the milk withdrawal is 40 days, making it impractical for use in milkers.
Imidazothiazole dewormers are the third class of dewormer. They are usually sold as a water-soluble powder, a bolus, a medicated feed, or a feed additive. This class includes levamisole and morantel tartrate. Morantel tartrate is the only drug in this class approved for use in goats, and it is sold as a feed additive.
Levamisole is sold as a bolus or as a powder that can be mixed with water and given orally. Because levamisole has been used so rarely in goats, some people have found that it works when other dewormers are no longer effective, including Rumatel, which is in the same class.
One must be very careful, however, when using levamisole because the margin of safety when dosing is not as large as with other dewormers, making it easy to overdose a goat. While most sheep dewormers are used in goats at twice the sheep dosage, levamisole is used at only 1.5 times the sheep dosage. Signs of toxicity include tearing of the eyes, excessive salivation, and the goat walking like it’s drunk. In most cases, the goat will recover after a few hours or days of rest, but if the overdose is too high it can cause death.
Combining dewormers in goats
When individual dewormers no longer work, it is possible to combine two dewormers from different classes. For example, you can give a dose of albendazole and then a dose of ivermectin immediately. (Do not mix them together.) If one drug kills only 70 percent of the worms, for example, and the other one kills 70 percent of the worms, each of those drugs will kill some of the worms that were resistant to the other dewormer, so you will wind up killing more worms than if you had used only one. In some cases, depending upon the level of resistance to the dewormers, you can kill as much as 90 to 99 percent of the worms when using two dewormers at the same time.
As of this writing, one researcher is advocating the use of dewormers from all three classes at every deworming. Although research has shown that provides the best efficacy rate in terms of killing worms, I personally won’t do that unless I have a goat that really needs it. Every time you use a dewormer, you take a step towards dewormer resistance, and if you combine all three, then you’ve just created a world with only one dewormer.
If people only used dewormers when it was absolutely necessary, then dewormer resistance would never happen. But obviously lots of people are indiscriminately using dewormers, and I’m concerned that if everyone starts giving all three at once, the worms will become resistant to this combo, leaving producers with nothing to use when a goat is seriously debilitated by worms.
This isn’t just theory. It actually happened a decade ago on our farm. The idea of using two or three dewormers has been around for that long, and when we started seeing dewormer resistance, we started using two dewormers. Ultimately we used all three simultaneously, and within only a few months, they quit working.
Extra-label drug use in goats
Because goats are a minor species in the United States, it is not profitable for drug companies to test their drugs on them to get FDA approval to have the drugs labeled for use in goats. Veterinarians and owners, however, need to be able to treat a sick animal.
The Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act (AMDUCA) of 1994 created guidelines for using drugs extra-label so that drugs can be used legally in different species, even when the drug has not been FDA approved for that species. However, this does not mean that you can use whatever drug you want to use in goats.
According to AMDUCA, you can use an extra-label drug to treat your animal only after consulting with a licensed veterinarian and only if there are no FDA-approved drugs available to treat that condition. You may also use an extra-label drug when the only approved drugs don’t work. For example, this means that legally you should only use fenbendazole or morantel tartrate as dewormers because they are labeled for use in goats. However, if they no longer work, you could use a dewormer that is labeled for a different species.
To find approved dosages, as well as meat and milk withdrawal times for extra-label drugs, consult the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (FARAD), which is supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and maintained by several universities. If you don’t see a milk or meat withdrawal time, you should not use that drug in an animal that will be used for milk or meat. Sometimes there is no recommendation because the drug has not been studied, but it may also be because the drug stays in the animal’s system for so long that it is impractical to use it, especially in dairy animals.
This is an excerpt from the second edition of Raising Goats Naturally: A Complete Guide to Milk, Meat, and More by Deborah Niemann.
More information on deworming goats
Here’s a video that shows you how to drench a goat.
This podcast on New Goat Dewormer Guidelines is a 2022 interview with Michael Pesato, DVM, DABVP, Assistant Clinical Professor of Food Animal Medicine and Surgery at Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
This podcast on Using Dewormers Correctly is an interview with researcher Susan Schoenian at the University of Maryland Research Center.
Milk and Meat Withdrawal in Goats Following Drug Use
How to avoid dewormer resistance
Preventing internal parasites in goats
Coccidia is often confused with worms because both are internal parasites, but coccidia is not a worm and is not killed by dewormers. To learn more, check out Preventing Coccidiosis.
39 thoughts on “Deworming Goats”
We are new goat owners. We have three nigerian dwarfs, ages are 5 weeks, 3 weeks, and 1 week. Obviously, we are currently bottle feeding all three! I am reading so many different things on worming, and I am concerned about creating a resistance if I “over” worm. Do you de worm your bottle babies automatically at a certain age, or do you just periodically look for signs they need to be de wormed? Thanks!
All goats have worms, so the goal is not zero worms. The goal is simply to keep them at a level that is not harmful to the goat. As long as the goat is not anemic, doesn’t have diarrhea or bottle jaw, and is in good body condition, they don’t need a dewormer. If these kids have always been bottle-fed and kept in a kid pen in the barn, they probably have a very low worm load, and you may never have a problem. If they were kept with adults in a small pasture with very short grass, the 5-week-old may have a fairly high load already. But you just need to watch body condition and the other things I just mentioned. Here is more on dewormer resistance and outdated deworming practices:
Hi. I have a few questions and don’t know where to post them, this says reply. Can you please direct me?
Good morning! Sorry for the confusion on my part.
I have an almost 4 month old (Sept.24) Nigerian Dwarf whether. I got him at two weeks and he was on homogenized milk. He ended up very sick and I learned he was malnourished so his whole diet was changed. He is still on the bottle, gets probiotics added to his formula, grain and goat mineral. He was also banded three weeks ago today.
He has received his shots although it was a first set, I don’t know if he should have a second set. He was dewormed when I got him and dewormed again approximately two months ago. I was told to do it again when he felt better.
Anyway, his coat isn’t quite bristle but it’s not soft and he’s losing hair. He isn’t patchy but his hair is thin and looks fuzzy! There are no sores, his skin looks good and he is full of energy!! He is also pooping like a dog. His poop is formed in all the little balls but comes out like a dog’s. My husband calls them pinecones. I don’t know what my next course of action should or shouldn’t be.
The vet in my area knows NOTHING about goats so his vet is 3 hours away! I am going to take him back for a checkup in November but for now was hoping someone maybe has some insight. He is a house goat so he lives like a dog with our 3 dogs and 4 cats.
Thank you and sorry for the lengthy story. Oh and his little testicles are hard and all shrivelled up but haven’t started to fall off yet AND he’s still displaying studdy behaviour.
If he received a CDT vaccine, he does need a second dose for it to work.
Typically when a kid’s poop is sticking together it’s because of worms, but if he is in the house and has been since he was two weeks old, I don’t see how that could be the problem. It sounds like he is just not getting enough fiber in his diet. The coat condition sounds like he is mineral deficient, which is not unusual when someone tries to keep a goat in the house. He needs to be outside for vitamin D production, and he needs free choice loose goat minerals available 24/7 so he can have as much as he wants. Goats have a rumen, which means they need to be eating all day long. On pasture they walk along eating until their rumen is full, then they sit down, burp it all up and chew their cud, then swallow it and send it into their second stomach. You cannot provide an environment like that in your house. You would have to have grass hay sitting out 24/7 for him, which would make a huge mess in your house.
He does NOT need grain as that can cause urinary stones, and it has virtually no fiber. He needs forage — grass, weeds, leaves, small branches, etc, and GRASS hay — NOT alfalfa — when he is inside the barn at night or during the winter when nothing is growing.
I cannot stress how dangerous it is for a goat to be in a house. Kids have been electrocuted from chewing on electrical cords, and they have died from digestive blockages when they attempted to eat all sorts of crazy things. One poor goat had surgery to remove about half a dozen different things including hair ties and small plastic toys.
Goats should never be sold alone as a single kid. They are herd animals and need at least one goat friend. I won’t sell single goats to a home with no other goats. It will be an adjustment for him, but he needs a goat friend, and he needs to go outside.
Thank you for this information! We have a 3 month old kid who has a rough, dull coat and gets a huge belly every day because he won’t stop eating. His twin brother has a beautiful coat and his belly seems normally-sized. We suspect a high wormload and just gave him 4.4mL of Valbazen (he weighs 55 lbs). When should we give him another dose? I have not been able to find any information on follow-up dosing for Valbazen but was told with Ivermectin to give it once a week for 3 weeks. We administered that when the kids were about a month old because the person we got them from suspected worms then.
Current research does not support giving a routine dose of a dewormer a week or two after the first dose — so that’s why you can’t find any info on repeating the dosing. Giving a follow-up dose is based on an old practice that was proven to not be helpful when it was actually studied. If you already gave ivermectin three times over three weeks, and the kid is in that bad of shape, then the worms are resistant to ivermectin. He may also have a poor immune system.
I’m sad to hear that someone sold you one-month-old kids with a worm problem. It sounds like the kids may not be getting enough milk. How much milk were they getting at one month, and what are they getting now?
It is also possible that the kid has a problem with coccidiosis. Have they been treated for that? Are you feeding a medicated feed?
I own 8 acres, divided into 2 acre paddocks, rotationally grazing 22 goats as required by our county tax authority.
My history was as yours for 4 years, fighting parasites daily in order to keep my herd healthy. I had even considered not raising goats after being out of the country for 3 months and not having the daily responsibilities of worm warfare.
A friend told me about a rancher, Joel Salatin, who raises numerous animals up north and has written a book, Salad Bar Beef, recounting his herd management and worming protocol. I read the book, ordered Basic H Classic from Shaklee Company for worming, and began a new herd.
This new herd and worming method was begun on July 1, 2020. I currently have 22 head of Bóer cross goats of ages varying from 4 years to 5 months. I have random fecals done by my vet from time to time, and they have all been clear.
1. Order Basic H Classic from a Shaklee rep.
Comes in 5 gallons @ $200.
2. One week per month, add 1 tablespoon Basic H Classic for every 5 gallons contained water in each water tub. (My tubs are 10 gallon tubs. I put 2 tablespoons in each after filling.)
Treated water must be the only water available for this week. This will NOT work for water sources other than containers.
3. For 3 weeks, animals have access to untreated water. I marked my calendar to begin my treatment week on a Sunday. I marked off the following 3 weeks untreated, and completed the entire calendar year schedule when I began this program.
4. One exception: when I was forced to purchase several goats from a local auction, I used treated water for their first 4 weeks on my farm due to intense parasitism which was apparent when I purchased them. They have come around well and are doing beautifully.
5. I divided the Basic H with 4 other farmers with like-sized herds. After the tax exemption for the Basic H Classic, our costs are about $40 per year.
This is a time-proven remedy for parasites in goats. No drenching, no chemicals. I wish I had known about this long ago. My life has been simplified, my feed bill has gone down (parasites are expensive to feed), and my goats are very healthy.
I’m very familiar with what Joel used to do back when he wrote that book. I tried adding Basic H to my goat’s water when we were dealing with dewormer resistance. It does not work. It is not proven. Joel has two things going for him (1) he has cattle, which rarely have parasite problems. We had cattle for about 15 years, and we never needed to deworm a cow once. They have excellent parasite resistance. (2) Joel moves his cattle to fresh pasture every single day. If you moved your goats to fresh pasture every day, you would have zero parasite problems too. Pasture rotation is THE proven strategy for overcoming problems with worms.
Well, gosh, I guess the proof must be in the pudding. I continue to use Basic H, 1 Tablespoon per 5 gallons water for 7 days, untreated water for 21 days. We continue to make random fecal tests which continue to be clear. My herd is healthy, my feed bills are low, and I plan to continue this practice.
Before using Basic H, I was worming goats every 3 weeks. The only wormer I have purchased in the past year has been to drench goats purchased from the goat auction before isolating them on my farm with Basic H treated water for two weeks, then moving them in with my original herd. On my farm, for the past year and a half, we just don’t experience the worm issue anymore. 8 acres, 22 goats. Treated water 7 days. Untreated water 21 days. Repeat throughout the year.
The rough, dull coat may be an indicator of poor gut flora or a copper deficiency. A good probiotic paste can be very helpful given daily for helping the rumen get straightened out. Have you done a fecal to see if parasites are the problem?
I give copper boluses to my herd, depending on their weight. 1 gram per 26 lbs is the ratio I use. The boluses are capsules containing copper shards which attach themselves to the insides of the goat and are released slowly over time. I dose my goats with these 2X yearly according to their weight, and also will give a supplemental dose to any goat whose hair color is fading dramatically, hair is “fish hooking” on the end, or are losing weight while fecals are clear.
What dewormers are safe to use during late pregnancy?
Ivermectin, Cydectin (moxidectin), Safeguard, morantel tartrate are all safe during pregnancy.
We are new goat owners and bought a Nigerian Dwarf doe who just gave birth to a single buck three days ago. He is already showing signs of worms. He has loose, bloody poo. I haven’t noticed anything like that in his mom yet. Is he too young to have worms and can he be treated for them at his age?
That is way too early for worms — even if he were born into a pile of poop. Normal poop for a newborn looks like yellow scrambled eggs. If it looks like he has mustard squirted all over his back end, that’s usually caused by getting too much milk. I’d suggest that you milk out the mom, which I always recommend with singles anyway. They tend to make enough for twins or more, but it’s all about supply and demand. Your little guy is definitely demanding as much as he can — way more than he should! But he can’t eat as much as two kid, so within a few days her supply will go down, and then you’ll be living with a low milk supply for the rest of her lactation. When you have a single kid, you need to be milking daily from day one — either milk twice a day without separating or separate him overnight and milk her in the morning.
If you do not know how to milk, I would suggest trying to milk her 3-4 times a day. If you separate her overnight and then milk her in the morning, you won’t be able to milk her out, and he’ll probably just wind up gorging on milk again and getting diarrhea again. So, just try to milk her several times a day for now until you are able to really empty her out. Basically you are the twin kid that wasn’t born.
As for seeing a bit of blood in poop, that’s not all that unusual, and it’s not usually a problem. If he’s bouncing around like a normal kid, I wouldn’t worry about it.
What is the dosage for Prohibit for goats?
Research says you dose that one at 1.5 times the cattle dosage.
I have a 7-month ND wether with soft poop. He was vaccinated by my vet and received his booster in June. Fecal sample in June was clear. I have used Safeguard drench twice (4 weeks apart) recently. He is eating well and playing. Sleeps in a high and dry barn. Has fresh hay and Timothy hay pellets. I change their water daily. He has loose goat minerals every morning. He has not received copper. What’s the next step?
Vaccine has nothing to do with this. You should not have used Safeguard if the vet said his fecal was “clear.” I’m assuming you followed the directions on the bottle, which are not correct, unfortunately. Since that label got FDA approval, there has been a lot of university and independent research that has shown that goats actually need 2x the dosage on the label. That means that you have basically inoculated the worms so that they are going to be immune to the Safeguard. You should never give a goat a dewormer unless they are actually sick — just as you would not give one an antibiotic unless they are actually sick. It is impossible to get goats to zero worms, and every time you use a dewormer, you are taking one step closer to dewormer resistance. Here is more info on that:
When you say soft poop, do you mean he’s pooping like a dog rather than berries? What color are his eyelids? Red, pink, white?
I’m new to your blogs and absolutely love them. I just added two little gals to my herd after a bear had killed our two beloved 7 year old Nigerian Dwarfs Daisy & Einstein. I got two new NDs one is 1 1/2 and one is 2.
I got her from a woman who had a large farm of many different animals. When I got them I had noticed Maple had some crusties in her eye ducts & her gums looked white.. after further examination of her inside lower lid I realized she had an over abundance of worms..very bad. Her eye inside on the bottom was a sheet of paper white. I did tons of research and ended up purchasing Equine Safeguard Paste. I know it wasn’t the most recommended as it doesn’t kill every worm but I wanted to get some type of treatment in her ASAP. I went ahead and gave her some on a ginger snap (she goes nuts for those) & I had read that you stated to give Safeguard 3 days in a row. Today was my third morning of giving it to her and I checked the inside bottom of her lid & it is warm pink. I almost screeched of joy. I was going to buy a grain de wormer as well to combine with the safeguard – should I purchase that as well & give a dose? I am so nervous to lose these babies as my heart is broken over our recent loss.
Do I need to continue a de worming every (example – 6 months – 1 month) to PREVENT worms again? Or do I only use de wormer when I notice her lid going white again? I want to make sure these gals are healthy as can be. I read you stating its unnecessary to give de wormer when they do not have worms. So does this mean I just let them be and check them every month to make sure their eyes are a normal warm pink-red?
I feed them plenty of hay daily & a scoop each of grain in the morning. I’ve also recently given them a Half a cup of alfalfa pellets after grain for some extra food in the winter. I know they’re not necessary to give but want to make sure that’s okay.
Is there anything else you’d recommend to keep them on a healthy cycle other than what I am doing? Any copper products I should routinely give? I read something about giving them Nutri-Drench Poultry in their water for extra nutrition.. again sorry for all the questions I just love your page & want to give the best to my girls! Thank you so much. – Brooke
You must have read somewhere else to do the Safeguard 3 days in a row because that is very old advice from the 1990s. That particular dewormer has a very wide margin of safety, so it’s not going to hurt her, but it’s not necessary.
All goats have worms all the time, but they normally are fine as long as the worms don’t get over populated. It is impossible to completely get rid of them, and attempts to do so caused the current problem with dewormer resistance, so routine, scheduled deworming is NOT recommended. It’s a great idea to check the eyelids weekly to be sure they are not anemic, but also check body condition and pay attention to how they’re pooping (should be berries, not logs or diarrhea).
Here is more info on dewormer resistance:
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for raising goats because every farm is different, and attempting to copy what someone else does can have disastrous results. So you need to understand what goats need and then how to tell if they are not getting enough (symptoms of deficiency). Goats are naturally very healthy, so you should not be having any problems on a regular basis.
Here is more info on goat minerals:
It doesn’t sound like you breed your does, which means they could struggle with obesity, even if they are only on pasture. They definitely do not need grain at all. You can just use a handful now and then as a treat or a bribe. They also don’t need alfalfa. It’s only for milkers and pregnant does because it is high in calcium. Too much calcium can cause a zinc deficiency. If they are dry, they just need a good green grass hay, and if you want to give them pellets, get the timothy or orchard grass pellets rather than alfalfa.
I have NEVER heard of giving goats Poultry NutriDrench in their water, and I absolutely do NOT recommend that. It is pure sugar with very little actual nutrition. They need a free choice loose mineral as described in the article I linked above.
You could spend a fortune if you get everything that everyone online says they use, but bottom line is that if you have two dry does, they are fed like wethers — a good green grass hay, a loose mineral made ONLY for goats, and plenty of fresh water. You do not need to add anything else unless there is a problem you are trying to correct.
Can I just not find it on your website podcast tab or did you not add the podcast “Using dewormers correctly” to this site? I thought that podcast was eye opening and had some great information. I wanted to reference it again and do some follow up research on the guest from that episode.
I’m so happy to hear that you found that episode helpful! It was back in October, so is no longer on the first page of podcast episodes. Here’s the direct link:
There is a search bar on the right hand side of each page, which works well if you know the name of an episode. (Does not work so well if you’re not sure about the title.)
We have 2 doeling Nigerian dwarf/Pygmy goats that are approx 8 weeks old. We have had them for just over a week and are noticing that they have dull coarse coats and itch A LOT. My suspicion is lice, I’ve spotted a couple. I also found out that they were not dewormed prior to leaving their farm (but did receive their CDT).
I have 1% injectable Ivermectin on hand, but have read a lot of variables on dosage and route. Can you give any advice on this in order to treat both the lice and deworm??
We provide them with alfalfa hay in a feeder, grazing, and loose minerals (which so far they haven’t touched), and baking soda if needed.
I love your blog, thank you for all the resources and information! We have two more doelings coming next month and want to get this under control beforehand!
Unfortunately, you can’t treat lice and worms with a single treatment in goats. You could in cattle, but not goats because their metabolism is quite different. You need a pour-on for the lice and an oral for the worms. Goats need 2x the cattle dosage of ivermectin given orally. If you see anything less than that as a dosage, that’s from 20 years ago. Sadly, nothing online ever dies, which is why you see so much conflicting info. Pour-on ivermectin works for lice, but since it is the same drug, you should give them 24 hours apart.
If you are getting other goats from a different farm, you should keep them quarantined for 30 days so that they don’t give each other anything contagious. Plus, if the ivermectin doesn’t work on the worms, you don’t want them pooping those worm eggs on your pasture to infect the new goats. I learned this lesson the hard way 17 years ago when I bought a new buckling that had dewormer-resistant worms and managed to contaminate my buck pen before he died two weeks later. That was the beginning of my nightmare with dewormer resistance and how I ultimately became an accidental goat expert.
You didn’t say anything about the kids actually having symptoms of a worm overload, and routine deworming is discouraged because every time you use a dewormer, you take a step towards dewormer resistance because every worm that survives will be resistant to that dewormer. However, is you’re going to use the ivermectin pour-on, the worms will get exposed to a low level of the dewormer anyway … so I’d use the oral ivermectin first, keep the kids in the barn (assuming it’s not 100+ degrees in there), wait 24 hours, then use the pour-on for the lice, and keep them in the barn for a few more days. When you do put them on pasture, put them on an area where you can move them away in a week and not return for at least a month. Hope all that makes sense!
I have a 3 month ND doe. Two weeks ago I discovered that every piece of her poop had a 1/4″ white grainy worm. They were not moving. I took fecal to the vet and she said they were tapeworms, give her Safeguard and follow the instructions on the label which was 5ml for approx 10 lb goat. It’s been 11 days since she’s had the Safeguard and she seems to be doing well and the white worms are no longer in her poop. But what I worry about is what is left in her intestines. I read your blog on tapeworms and you say to double the amount given on the label. So my question is should I have her another dose and if so, how much? Will she need another dose down the road. Thank you so much. I love your blogs!
Tapeworms actually don’t hurt a goat at all. They eat the contents of the intestines, which is not a big deal. Goats can have them and not always poop out the segments, so she could still have them, but it’s not a big deal. One vet I know said that tapeworms are worse for the mental health of the owner than the physical health of the goat. They are the ONLY worm you can see with the naked eye, so if you ever see worms, that’s what they are. No need to see the vet. In other words, she probably still has them, but you don’t need to treat her. It’s unfortunate the your vet did not know that you need to use Safeguard for three days for tapeworms, so you probably didn’t kill hardly any at all, but again, no big deal. What did happen, unfortunately, is that you exposed the barber pole worms in her gut to the Safeguard at such a low dose that all of the worms probably survived and are now resistant to that dewormer. But that’s not a horrible problem for her because your other goats are pooping worm eggs onto the pasture from worms that are not resistant. The eggs don’t hatch inside the goat, so the resistant larvae are on the pasture where all of the goats can consume them. Eating larvae on the pasture is how goats get infected. Barber pole worm and other roundworms are really the only ones that are a big problem for goats, but all goats have them in their gut, and as long as they have a healthy immune system, they can handle them just fine. Here is a podcast where I interview a parasite researcher about the latest on worms and using dewormers:
And in this one I talk to a vet professor about tapeworms and other common but unimportant worms:
There are also transcripts if you prefer to read.
Thank you so much. I’ve read a lot of advice on FB groups to deworm, deworm, deworm that I felt like I needed to do more when actually, I didn’t need to do anything at all! Will the worm segments finally stop appearing?
They appear sporadically. Your original message said you haven’t seen any in the last 11 days, which is typical. You may or may not see them again, and it doesn’t matter. You mostly only see them in kids. You rarely see them in adults. If you listen to the second podcast I listed, you’ll hear a couple of funny stories about tapeworms from me, as well as the vet professor who raises sheep.
I am not a fan of FB goats groups because a lot of them have terribly outdated advice. And you can get so many different answers to a question that you just wind up confused.
Yes ma’am! And it doesn’t take much to confuse me! Thanks again!
I have a 2, 8 month old Nigerian Dwarf weathered goats. One of them has very dry flakey skin a scratches some. With very small scabs few on top of his head an his body. I had vet out to look him over. She said could be zinc deficiency so was told to give 50mg of zinc and sunflower seeds. It’s been 4 weeks I have been giving this to him an no change. She also said I could give him a iodine bath. Which I have no idea on what to use for that. Should I try copper Bolues. His brother is with him at all times and shows no signs on flaky skin or scratching. They both also go in yard with their mother an her sister to graze in yard everyday an they also don’t have the flaky skin on a scratching. I don’t know what to do for him. So I was thinking a deficiency in something.
What you have described is not a symptom of copper deficiency, which can cause hair loss on the tip of the tail and bridge of the nose and around the eyes, but it does not cause scabs. I think of external parasites when I hear scabs. It is possible for external parasites to only affect one animal and not others in a herd. I know it’s hard to believe, but I’ve seen it happen. The textbooks say this is due to poor immune response on the part of some animals. In our case, it was a doe who would always throw all of her energy into making milk. She would usually have a very hard time with internal parasites for the first couple of months after kidding, but one year she wound up with the most unbelievable case of lice I had ever seen — so severe that it caused anemia. Although you can see lice if you pull the hair back and stare closely at the roots, you can’t see mites and would have to have a vet do a skin scraping to get a definitive diagnosis. Either way, you can treat with a topical produce such as Eprinex.
I have a small herd of 6 goats aged 4 years to 1 year. We did our first deworm about a month ago and all but 2 seem to be fine. The other 2, Nigerian Dwarf, have become very lethargic and seem to have dropped weight. Do we just need to keep doing the dewormer or is there something that we can give them to help get them thru it? I’ve read about Vitamin B but didn’t know if that would help.
It sounds like you dewormed all six goats, which is NOT recommended. This leads to dewormer resistance because you exposed all the worms in your goats to the dewormer. If two of the goats are now showing signs of a worm overload, then the dewormer did not work. My guess would be that you underdosed the or used a dewormer that simply did NOT work because you already have a resistance problem. If you bought these goats from someone who has been using the same dewormer on a regular basis, then the worms are resistant to that dewormer, which is why two of them are not doing well. Simply giving them more of the same dewormer will not work, and giving them anything else (such as vitamins) is not going to help them because the worms are killing them.
I hope you already downloaded the dewormer cheat sheet that is linked in the above article. There are NO dewormers that are correctly labeled for goats, so if you followed the dosage on the label, then you under-dosed them, which is why it didn’t work for the two goats that really needed it.
Here is my article that covers all the basics of worms:
There is no magic pill for worms. The key is management. Your pasture is likely loaded with infective worm larvae, so the sick goats are consuming more larvae daily. They need to be treated with a different dewormer at the correct dosage — see dewormer cheat sheet — and kept inside the barn so that they are not continuing to consume more larvae from the grass. Because you will ONLY be treating the two sick goats, you could move all six to a clean pasture, but you would need to move them to another clean pasture in a week (ideally) or two weeks at the latest. The best solution for the sick goats is just to keep them off pasture until they are back to normal.
If you check their eyelids (pull down lower lid), you will probably see that it is quite pale. It should be bright pink or red, but anemia is caused by the barber pole worm, which can kill goats faster than any of the other worms because it sucks their blood. If the eyelids are light pink or white, that’s a bad sign. If they’re white, the goats could be dead at any moment — an hour from now or a week from now — because they are very anemic. In addition to being treated for the worms, if they have lost weight, they need a 16% protein goat feed and alfalfa hay (which also has 16-18% protein) to rebuild muscle. Once they’ve regained weight, you can stop feeding the goat feed and go back to grass hay for all goats that are not milking.
Be sure to read the guide to goat worms I linked above because I have barely touched the surface of what you need to know.
Hopefully this comes through as I know this is an older blog post. My question is we have two Spanish goat does with anemia, rough coat, and lower body condition. We have dewormed with safeguard followed by ivermectin twice now with a span of 10 days apart as recommended by another producer and large animal vet. However, now we are wondering if there isn’t resistance in these two goats. Would a follow up with Cydectin now be helpful? I use the dosing guidelines from the wormix.info site. Stools are normal with the occasional clumpiness. Feed is forage, hay, and a small amount of grain. I’m in OH so the pasture is not currently growing.
Thank you for all of your info!
Dewormer resistance happens in the worms on your farm — NOT in individual goats. After goats are given a dewormer, the surviving worms lay eggs in the goat that are pooped out and those eggs hatch on the pasture and become infective larvae, which is then eaten by goats who are eating grass that is too short — which means it’s covered with larvae because larvae don’t get much higher than 3-4 inches on grass.
Anyone who tells you to do two dewormings 10 days apart is giving you info from more than a decade ago.
Did you give the goats 2x the Safeguard dosage on the bottle and 2x the ivermectin cattle or sheep dosage on the bottle, and was it given orally? I’m asking because depending on which page you read on the Wormx site, you may have had to do some math, and sometimes people get that wrong. But 2x the bottle dosage is what you need to do.
One big thing that most people fail to do after treating for worms is to remove the goats from the source of reinfection. So, if you have super short grass on your pasture and you don’t keep hay in front of the goats all the time, they could be nibbling on that super short grass that is covered with worm larvae — and whenever the temps go above 50 degrees, barber pole eggs hatch. We have been having unseasonably warm February, so this could be a problem for a goat that is already compromised.
Worms do NOT hatch inside the goat, so unless you used the wrong dosage of dewormer or it was expired or it was stored incorrectly — or if the worms on your farm were already resistant to it — those dewormers should have killed enough worms inside your goats to make them healthier. If they are still anemic, then it’s because they are picking up more larvae that is sucking their blood, or they have a disease like Johnes that can cause similar symptoms.
That “second deworming” practice originated decades ago when people thought worms hatched inside the goat, which we now know is wrong. But if you leave them on a larvae-infested pasture, they will pick up more larvae that start sucking blood and put them right back in the same place they were before you treated them.
The NEWER information (which has actually been around for at least 10 years) is that if you are dealing with some kind of resistance is that you use two or three dewormers from different classes at the SAME time — meaning one right after the other. So you would give a 2x dose of Safeguard followed immediately by a 2x dose of ivermectin. And then keep those does off the grass until they are no longer anemic.
If they have very poor body condition, they may need a 16% protein goat feed to help them rebuild muscle mass while they are recovering in the barn.
I have hours of videos that explain this in greater detail in my parasite course.
I have eight adult goats and just brought home a 4 month old buck from a closed herd. He has been routinely wormed since birth. I worm my goats as needed… not often, maybe twice in the last 4 years. I noticed little yellowish-white worms in the new goat’s poop yesterday. Overall, he looks healthy and poop looks normal (other than the worms). Should I wait to treat and see how he does or should I go ahead and treat? I’m worried about my other goats getting infected with possible resistant worms… but I guess he’s in there with them all now. Not sure what to do. They have forage, grass, hay, and a little grain each day. They are on shorter grass… I didn’t realize that was not a good thing!!!
Thank you so much!!
What you are describing is most likely tapeworms. They are pretty much the only worm you can see in the poop, except for maybe a pinworm, which is like a little tiny white thread with pointy ends.
You do not have to worry about your other goats getting them because 1) healthy adult goats have strong immunity to tapeworms and 2) tape worms have an indirect life cycle that requires a pasture mite in order for the offspring to become infective to other goats. You may or may not have these pasture mites.
Although tape worms ‘could’ create a problem for young goats, it is not very common for them to cause harm and so it is not typically recommended to treat them. I would just keep an eye on him to be sure that he is eating, drinking, gaining weight well, and having otherwise normal goat poop.
Here is a great article about Common but Unimportant Worms which has more info about tapeworms for you 🙂
Also, the fact that your herd has rarely been dewormed means that you have plenty of refugia on your farm. These are worms that are not resistant. As your new little buck grazes, he will invest the refugia, and they will dilute the population of resistant eggs that he is shedding, as the resistant and non-resistant worms breed inside of him.
If you had purchased multiple goats that had been regularly dewormed, you would have more of a concern, but one little guy should not cause you too much worry.
I will check out the article! Thank you so much!!