Well, I learned something new this week. And am still learning, to be quite honest. I am going to write about what I have learned, but I am not an authority, and would love to know more if you have some information on this subject.
Here is the deal. One of our goats in particular has been difficult since she was bought. She always has more trouble with parasites than the others, and hasn’t seemed to respond well to the chemical wormers, thus we moved to herbs, which seemed to make a positive change in the whole herd. Now, I don’t worm all the time, even with herbs, only as I see a need through fecal exams or health. I also give the goats copper boluses as needed. I do always use a chemical wormer immediately after a doe has given birth because of the high level of parasite growth at this time. This year has been no different, but in the last week I noticed something off about my doe. She was a little off feed and had a rust colored stripe going down the back of her udder like she had a discharge of it. In all other ways she seemed healthy, though a little on the fat side (she is greedy at the hayrack) and always looking pregnant.
Now, I know what’s normal, and this wasn’t, so I got to doing research. Our fecal exams seemed to be okay, but still… So, I learned that three things can cause what I was seeing. One is a retained plecenta and a uterine infection, but that usually is seen within 48 hours of birth, and it’s been three months. Second, it can be copper toxicity, but I knew that wasn’t the problem. That left three, liver flukes. Now, I was a bit stumped since I had treated with chemicals twice since kidding this year due to herd changes and such. With the herbs as well I didn’t figure there should be any problems with parasites. The goats all look and act very healthy, glowing coats, eye-lids the right color, etc., but reading the signs was like looking at my goat. Normal, healthy appearance for the most part, but bloated constantly on the right side, rust colored discharge, and possibly seeming like she constantly needs worming. That’s our girl, so I read what to do about them and started her on a program. The next day I found signs of adult, dead liver flukes in her poop! Walla, and my goat already looks tons better!
Here are a few facts about liver flukes.
~They often get missed in fecal exams since the egg looks like that of another parasite.
~Only 2 products on the market kill liver flukes, and only the adults, leaving the other stages to grow and harm your goat in a typical worming schedule.
~In order to get rid of them you have to treat 1 time every ten days for a total of 3 treatments
~Ivomec Plus Injectable (injected, not orally!) and Valbazan are the only 2 drugs that will kill them
~Liver flukes are carried by snails, so they are very prevalent where things get damp, especially in warm, southern climes with high humidity and rains.
After learning all this, I have decided in our climate to worm with one of these twice a year, spring and fall, saving my herbs or additional wormer for when it’s needed between times based on fecal counts. Some notes about the wormers; Valbazan is NOT EVER for pregnant or lactaing does! It does however kill a worm that Ivomec Plus does not. Ivomec Plus, however, is safe for pregnant and lactaing does. So, now that you know what I have been working on (keeping my head stuck in the computer and books) I hope you find it useful. I am still learning a lot, even after three years, so I may not have everything right, but maybe there is some useful information here. Below I am sharing links to a couple of sites I found very helpful for your own perusal.