Most goats suffer from worms. Worm infestation may contribute to low growth rates and death from other diseases due to worms causing malnutrition. Young goats are more susceptible.

It is worth observing and noting what worms are present in all goats slaughtered for sale and all goats which die. This will enable you to know what worms are common in the area and make sure appropriate remedies are chosen.

Different remedies treat a different selection of worms. Generally, most will treat roundworm and milk tape worm but not all will treat liver tape worm, nodular worm or liver flukes.

A way to check for worm infection in live goats is to check the inside of the eyelids and mouth. If it is very pale, almost white instead of pink, heavy worm infestation is suspected. You can also check the manure for signs of worms though not all are visible without a microscope.

If you have access to a microscope you can check regularly for worm eggs in the manure.

Goats do build a natural resistance to worms and many plants that they eat have natural deworming effects so the management aim is not to be totally worm free but to keep infestations down below levels causing economic damage or deaths.

  • Tape Worm

Tape worms are very common especially in the rainy season. They are easily treated as most worm remedies will deal with it. If not treated there will be loss of growth as a result so treatment is well worth the cost.

  • Liver Tape Worm
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Also known as stilesia. These tape worms are found in the liver ducts. They do not make the goat sick but make the liver unsaleable. They need a specific remedy as most dewormers will not treat it. Check the dewormer labels carefully.

  • Round Worm

Very common especially young goats of weaning age. Easily dealt with by most worm remedies. If not treated there will be loss of growth as a result so treatment is well worth it. Not treating also increases susceptibility to pneumonia and mange.

  • Nodular Worm

Nodular worm is seen as small white bumps in the large intestine. Does not cause death but can weaken the goat and heavy infestation makes the offal unsalable.

  • Taenids

These are the larval form of tapeworms that become adults in dogs. They look like a water filled bubble with a white spot in. They are found usually in the cavity around the stomach and intestines. The best control is to deworm all the dogs with praziquantel and never feed scraps to the dogs when slaughtering.

Sometimes the taenids infect the brain and can cause circling behaviour or apparent blindness. Albendazole helps with taenids but must be used with care if goats are pregnant as it can cause abortion.

  • Nasal Bot

Nasal bot is not actually a worm but the larva of a fly which lays its eggs in the nose. The maggots hatch out and live in the nose. The flies cause a lot of irritation as they lay their eggs and the larva can cause problems in the nose. They are not very common in goats but can occur. They are much more common in sheep.

  • Eye Worms
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There is a worm which affects goatsโ€™ eyes. It is very thin like a hair and quite hard to see. The symptoms are eye infections which do not respond to treatment with antibiotics. Total blindness can result if not treated. Treatment with one drop of de-wormer in each eye is immediately effective. It is not very common but quite devastating if it occurs unless diagnosed and treated.

  • Flukes

Flukes are found in the liver and are common in damp areas but drier areas are free of them. There is no need spending more for medications to treat these if they are not found in your area.

Most dewormers are based on Ivermectin, Albendazole or Levamisole alone or in combination with other medications. Different combinations have different levels of efficacy on different worms and different levels of risk in pregnancy.

Know what worms you have.

Read labels carefully.

Give doses as close to the right dose as you can reasonably achieve. This requires being able to weigh your goats or have enough experience to reasonably estimate the weight by eye.

Usually, it pays to deworm all the herd not long after the beginning of the rains when there tend to be a sudden increase in worm numbers and again at the beginning of the dry season when the reduction in available food means you canโ€™t afford passengers. In between, treating weaning age youngsters or spot treating any that are sick or unusually thin may be worthwhile.

โ€“ Ruth Henson

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