A damp autumn can be just right for the proliferation of internal parasites (worms). I am so happy to get some really good worming advice from my vet when one of my goats showed symptoms of a high worm burden. This is not a goat farming area, so often goat-specific advice has been hard to find. She took an egg-count, advised accurate weighing and warned me not to underdose. Goats must also be wormed orally as they don’t absorb medication well through the pour-on or injection methods. The dose per weight is always higher than for sheep, as goats have a higher metabolism.
Orally dosing can be a tricky operation with a 68 kg goat who is very strong and wriggly and doesn’t like the procedure. I used a goat weight calculator and measured her girth around chest and withers to obtain her weight. Getting her to ingest the wormer from a dosing syringe was impossible, even with two helpers, so I just tried dripping the wormer over some alfalfa and beet pellets. She snaffled that up and licked the bowl clean! So no stress and medicine direct to the rumen where it works best.
Parasite prevention: pasture rotation with solar powered electric net fence
My vet also recommended pasture rotation and liming the infected pasture in autumn to kill of remaining parasite eggs and larvae. I’ve installed electric temporary net fencing to enable division of the paddock, which works very well once the goats understand the effect. I demonstrated it with some alarming acting, shrieking and jumping in the air after touching it; they all ran away and seemed to get the message. I would really like to start planting and harvesting herbs which promote goat resistance or reduce worm infection and this looks like a good article to start with.
The vet recommended I have another worm count 15 days after worming. This is to make sure the medication is working, as parasite resistance to wormers is becoming an issue. If this is the case, a change to a different class will be prescribed. To request a worm count, put some droppings in a clean container (a freezer bag will do) and take it to your vet first thing in the morning. The analysis must be done when the feces is fresh.
See also section on parasites.