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.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
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.