When to worm

We recommend that all goats be wormed at least twice a year. Three times per year is even better. There are some who feel that since the commercial worm preparations are not "organic", they cause significant harm to the animals and should be avoided if at all possible. We have not found this to be true, unless the animals is already debilitated by disease or deficiency. There are a few who seem to show mild digestive disturbance following worming; this is easily prevented by giving one of the probiotics (Probios Bovine One®) about 12 hours after the worming. A different wormer should be used in rotation so that resistance does not develop and so that organisms which don’t respond to one type do not have a chance to bloom. Some people perform regular fecal testing and worm only if eggs are found in the samples. This is probably ideal, but may be too expensive for most of us.

The schedule of wormings should be arranged so that one of them comes near delivery, which is the time of highest stress for productive does. Some parasites thrive during the summer months; one of the wormings can be timed the prevent that outbreak. It is good to check with your local extension office or vet to find the most up to date information on this.

Each worming should also be repeated 21 days later in order to kill those parasites which have hatched since the last worming, since most wormers, even the best, do not kill eggs. Therefore, if you plan wormings for three times per year you will actually be doing it six times.

What to use

There are as many preferences as there are goat raisers. Many folks use "herbals." These may or may not work; however, we have never used them and do not pretend to have the knowledge to even comment on their use.

Another problem is that it seems that just when we find something that works well for us it gets taken off the market for some reason or the other. Two of the best products have been TBZ® (thiabenzadole) and Levasole® (levamaisole hydrochloride, aka Tramisol®). TBZ is no longer available; Levasole wasn't available for a while, but seems to be back in production now, but is rather hard to find. One current source is Pipestone Veterinary Supply at www.pipevet.com

Valbazen® (albendazole) is a highly effective wormer and will also take care of adult liver flukes. Caution: it should never be used during the first two months of pregnancy. It can cause fetal death or skeletal malformation of the fetus.

Panacur® (fenbendazole) is a wormer frequently used on horses which has recently found use in goats. It also goes by the name Safeguard, I believe. Some report noticing worms after its use in goats; others recommend using a dose which is double that of the label recommendation for horses.

Ivermectin is used by many people on all sorts of farm animals. It is very effective against both internal and external parasites. It comes in injectible, paste and "pour on" form which makes it easy to use. It also comes in a formulation which is effective against liver flukes. However, it is excreted in the milk of lactating animals and one should be very careful of withdrawal times. We do not recommend the oral use of Ivermectin, any pour-on or any other preparation not labeled by the manufacurer for oral (internal) administration. You should discuss this topic with your vet. Since the elimination of some of the "old stand-by's", more and more goat raisers are now using Ivermectin.

It is a very good idea to rotate pastures whenever worm remedies are given, either for prevention or treatment so that the animals are not reinfested by the same organisms that you are treating for.


For the treatment of internal parasites one should carefully consult the labels of all worm preparations. Frequently, a higher dose will be required for treatment than for prevention. Almost all will require a second treatment 21 days later. Some severe infestations will require several dosings to do the job. You should always get expert help from your vet if you find that you have given multiple treatments without a reduction in symptoms. As mentioned above, it is not a bad idea to follow treatment with an application of one of the probiotics to help restore rumen microbes.

For a handy reference on all the wormers and their use, visit the Worming Chart at the goatwisdom Message Board.

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