Internal parasites




There are thousands of different types of internal parasites. A parasite is defined as something which lives on or in another organism. The problem is that this is not usually beneficial to both parties. The parasite can actually take nutrients away from the host. Also it can cause local irritation, which if in the lungs can cause coughing, in the bowels it can cause diarrhea or on the skin it can cause itching. When we speak of internal parasites we usually refer to those things that are common called "worms." To say that we are worming our goats, means that we are trying to rid them of or kill the parasites. The medicines must be strong enough to kill the parasites while being gentle enough not to kill dear old Suzy Q. In "the olden days" you could just give Suzy Q a couple of cigarettes every month and not worry about worms; now, in this more politically correct era we use a lot of fancy preparations which may or may not be a whole lot better!

For a chart presenting the symptoms and treatment of various internal parasites, click here

Frequently, you will find that you suspect a case of "worms" or your vet will tell you that the fecal exam showed the presence of roundworm eggs of a particular type and then you give one of the worm medicines at the standard dosage and you still have worms. Most people who have had goats for a long time have learned that you have to give repeated doses or even give dosages higher than the normal in order for the treatment to be effective. When you give most of the standard wormers, either for prevention or treatment, always be sure to give a second treatment about 21 days later in order to kill the eggs that have now hatched, since many wormers do not kill them in the egg or larval stages. Some parasites are not affected by the standard dosages; for difficult cases we have found that a double dose of some wormers such as Levamisole ® are needed in order to do the job. You may wish to consult with your vet whenever standard dosages are exceeded.

Some of the preparations should not be used in certain situations. Be sure to see the precautions in our section on Worming

"Bottle jaw"

"Bottle jaw" is a common symptom of internal parasite infestation. It is distinguishable from other swellings of the jaw in being centrally located, rather soft in texture, and higher than the goat equivalent of the "Adam’s apple." We have found that these swellings usually disappear after a good worming. We suggest that you wait a day or two after first noticing "bottle jaw" because the swelling sometimes mysteriously disappears on its own just as quickly as it appears. Here is a picture of a case of early-stage "Bottle jaw". The swelling can later become very large if not treated.The second picture is a little more advanced.

See Worming

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