Just like horses, dogs, and cats, goats can also be infected with internal parasites. It is important to know the symptoms and have your goat treated. If internal parasites go left undetected the goats can become very ill and even sometimes die.
Types of Parasites
There are several different types of internal parasites that can invade goats:
Trichostrongylus (Lung Worm)
Haemonchus (Barberpole Worm)
Ostertagia (Round Worms including stomach worm, wire worm, hoke worm whip worm and thread worm)
How do they get infected with the worm?
Goats will ingest these parasites while out to pasture or sometimes in a confined area such as a pen or barn. Once the parasite is ingested it will live in a part of their stomach, and will lay eggs in large amounts. The eggs are then passed through in the manure. Then the eggs will eventually hatch, sometimes in days and others in months. The larvae will thrive in warm wet conditions. Once the goat eats the larvae it takes about 2 weeks for Haemonchas Contortus to become adult’s worms and begin to lay eggs. The Ostertagia and Trichostrongylus take about 3 weeks to mature and lay eggs. Once the parasites are ingested the damage begins for the goats. Larvae will cause damage to the stomach by affecting gland cells. Haemonchus is a blood sucker, it will consume a great amount of blood from the host. Sometimes the larvae will consume blood faster than the goat can make it, resulting in death.
How do I know if my goat has parasites?
Some signs that you need to watch for are:
But please not that internal parasites infect the gastrointestinal tract, such as lungs, blood system, and skin. And unfortunately you can not “see” these. You can have your goats manure checked for parasites. Village Veterinary Hospital will run a few tests on the manure to look for the “type” of parasite that could be affecting your goat. If your goat has become more lethargic, it is important that you call our office and have the goat seen. Also when you bring the goat in for an exam, make sure to bring a stool sample with you.
A good rule for deworming is to always start a few days before turning the goats out to pasture in the spring. Followed by a booster deworming a few weeks later. You can also deworm after a hard frost in the fall, this will help keep them protected through the winter months.
If you have any other questions regarding parasites in your goats or you would like to schedule an appointment to have you goat seen, please contact our office at 505-869-2627 and we will be glad to assist you in any way we can.