"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Things I Didn't Know About Worms

I must have misheard the lady on the phone yesterday who called to give me the results of Iris' fecals. I thought she said "nine" stomach worms and 1 coccidia, which would be pretty darn clean results. Actually she said "79" stomach worms and 1 coccidia.

Seventy-nine is a pretty high number, although not spectacularly high. The symptoms she is showing are generally worse than would be expected with that number, but it makes sense that she would be sicker than your average goat because she has recently been through the tremendous stress of carrying triplets to term, a rough delivery, and trying to instantly produce enough milk for three very hungry, rapidly growing babies. That's an awful lot of hard work. Doubt I could do it without getting sick, either!

But the worrying thing is that Iris was wormed - twice - recently. She was wormed right before breeding, and she was wormed after delivery. Both times with Ivermectin. That means that the worms she has have developed resistance to Ivermectin and now we need to switch wormers and hope they don't develop multi-drug resistance.

I knew resistant parasites are a problem. They are a major problem in goats. What I didn't know, and the vet patiently explained to me, is that resistance develops inside individual animals, not necessarily in all the animals on a given farm. He said that in any given herd, twenty percent of the animals, give or take, will be unusually susceptible, just because of their genetic makeup or other unknown factors. These twenty percenters are responsible for shedding over eighty percent of the parasite eggs. Therefore, rather than treating all the goats with the second-line wormer (which would only serve to help the worms inside them develop resistance too), we should only treat the problem animal. Iris has always been rather delicate of constitution. She is always the first to develop symptoms and the last to have her symptoms resolve. My guess is she's just one of those twenty percenter animals.

So for now, the treatment plan is:

- worm with Safeguard three days running
- bring new fecals in in two weeks
- supplement local hay with high quality alfalfa and make sure she has enough grain.

If the fecals show improvement in two weeks, but her symptoms do not, then we could be dealing with Johnne's disease, which is a whole different situation, and one I don't want to think about right now.


polly's path said...

I hope she gets better soon, and that it's only worms.
Good pink thoughts coming her way!

Anonymous said...

FYI from my vet. The same explanation as your Vet gave and more. Due to most people worming wether it is needed or not parasites/worms have developed a resistance. Ivermectin is not recommended by my Vet as it kills the Dung Beetles. When I take my fecal in for a check and if I need to worm my Vet recommends CYDECTIN ORAL DRENCH FOR SHEEP. He stated that I must make sure that Farmer's Coop does not try to sell me the one for cattle and that I must make sure I get the one for sheep. Just thought I would share this info with you to discuss with your Vet.
I hope she gets better. Good Luck!

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Best wishes going out for Iris, and you. Keeping my fingers crossed that it's only worms.

Aimee said...

Thanks Barbara! I will take that information to my vet.

Penelope said...

worms suck. I think I need to reworm that darn stray dog, again! This will be the third time, and I've had him only about 6 wks. My vet said every two wks untill no more loose stool, or untill the third dose, whichever comes first, aparently third dose is coming first. But of course he's a dog, not a goat. Smells a bit like a goat, a billy goat that is.

Anonymous said...

I don't have goats yet, still reading a lot about them to see what I'm in for.
What about the herbals for animals from Mollys Herbals...Fias co farm? I just got the 2 part herbal wormer to use with my dog & chickens & am planning on using it with the goats when I get them. Have you heard of or ever used Mollys formulas?jendi