Dealing with Worms in Goats

Parasites are a very common problem in goats. Overloads of them can cause lots of issues, including diarrhea, lethargy, anemia, and even death.

The most important mineral in keeping worms/parasites at bay is Copper. Keeping their Copper levels correct is VERY important.

Check often under their eyelids, and what you want to see is a dark red/hot pink color. See the ‘anemia’ guide below, for an example.

*photo courtesy of FAMACHA

The darker the coloring under the eyelids (you can also check the insides of their lips), the better their Copper level is. They are also less likely to have an overload of worms. (This is not the same thing you look at to see if they have coccidia; they can have coccidia and not be anemic).

If your goat is not pooping ‘pebbles’, this is another signs their copper levels/worm load is out of balance.

You need to have the minerals free choice, especially, (in this instance) Copper sulfate. This way they can take what they need to prevent issues. Some give Copper Bolus’; we have not found them to be effective enough.

What can I do if my goat is having an issue now?

If they are looking pale under their eyelids, and are lethargic, their Copper levels are low. It is likely the worms have overloaded their system, and are taking a lot of blood. Begin with isolating the affected goat.

You want to get to work with them as soon as possible. Worms can be life threatening; we lost a goat kid to worms a few years ago. We did not realize what was going on yet at the time.

We always offer molasses; if they are really bad off, they may not want to eat it, but they need it to help with their iron levels. In this case, we give B Vitamin shots to stimulate the appetite.

We mix molasses, along with kelp in the grain ration on a regular basis, as well.

As a natural ‘drench’ we give:

2 1/4 tsp. Vitamin C

2 1/4 tsp. of dolomite (calcium/magnesium)

1/4 tsp. of copper sulfate

1/4 tsp cinnamon

We split this half in the morning and half in the evening, and put it into an empty, dry mouth. We also do this when/if eyelids start looking pale.

Usually, this alone clears it up, unless the animals have not been receiving Copper regularly. Keep records of when and which goats need repeated doses, and how often you have any worm issues. As your goats mineral levels get higher, you should see the instances decrease.

Keep Kelp free choice; it has lots of minerals to help balance their systems.

In the South/Southwest, Barber Pole worms can kill in hours. They are nothing to play around with. If you give the above drench, and it does not work quickly, we give a chemical drench right away; they are a very quick killer. This is usually the only worm that we have had to give a chemical drench for, once we learned about, and started giving, the minerals.

Commercial chemical de-wormers drive down the Copper that is in the animals system. So, if you give one, be sure to replace what they have lost, and have the Copper sulfate free choice for them to get what they need.

Keeping mineral levels up, and checking eyelids, is the best prevention.

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