worm egg counts for goats for an effective worming strategy and help PGE diagnosis

Goats

Protect your goats

Unlike sheep and cattle, goats do not seem to develop any resistance to worms as they age. As a result their pasture can very quickly become contaminated with worm eggs that affect the entire herd. Therefore, your worm control programme must include goats of all ages.

Goats are considered to be a minor species in the UK so there are no anthelmintic products labelled for use in goats. This means they are often not given a high enough dose, which has contributed to a rise in anthelmintic resistance. This maybe because their weight has been underestimated and they are given a sheep dose. However, it is believed that, except for flukicides, goats need a higher dose rate.

It is also possible for goats to be infected by different worms at the same time. A common disease resulting from mixed infections is parasitic gastroenteritis (PGE). Severe infections can lead to diarrhoea and significant loss of condition.

Regular WECs will help confirm a PGE diagnosis.

Effective worm control

Therefore, WECs should be an essential part of your herd management. They will help you:

  • Only treat your goats when necessary
  • Use a targeted treatment
  • Predict future heavy worm burdens
  • Monitor the effectiveness of your worm control programme
  • Slow the rate of AR

ORDER YOUR WEC ‘GOATS’ KIT – FAST AND RELIABLE SERVICE

The aim of effective worm control is to stop worms completing their lifecycle and prevent future contamination.

A WEC tells you about your goat’s parasite burden at a single point in time. However, the lifecycle of a worm includes several larval stages that do not show in WECs. So even if the test results show no evidence of active adult worms, your goat may still carry a worm burden.

Therefore, to build an accurate picture of your animal’s internal health, you should repeat the test regularly.

Worms commonly found in goats

Teladorsagia circumcincta

Notes Teladorsagia circumcincta is known as the brown stomach worm. Infected goats may not initially show any obvious signs of disease (www.wormboss.com.au).
Due their pathogenicity in infected goats we keep Teladorsagia (Ostertagia) circumcincta in our Parasite Catalogue.
Most commonly affect Young grazing goats.
Signs and symptoms Loss of appetite; weight loss; failure to thrive.
Can lead to PGE.
Control Aftermath grazing. Anthelmintic treatment to prevent pasture contamination.

Cooperia spp.

Notes This is called the small intestinal worm. Symptoms associated with Cooperia oncophora are often less obvious than with Ostertagia infections. There is no presence of anaemia as the parasite does not feed on the goat’s blood.
Most commonly affect Young grazing animals.
Signs and symptoms Weight loss; failure to thrive; diarrhoea.
Can lead to PGE.
Control Alternate grazing with cattle. Early season treatment to prevent buildup of larvae on pasture.

Nematodirus spp.

Notes Nematodirus spp. has characteristically large eggs.
Most commonly affect Young goats in spring.
Signs and symptoms Weight loss; failure to thrive; rapid dehydration; emaciation; diarrhoea.
Can lead to PGE. May be fatal.
Control Graze goats on fresh pasture.

Oesophagostomum spp.

Notes
Most commonly affect Young goats at grass.
Signs and symptoms Fetid diarrhoea; anaemia; oedema.
Can lead to PGE. May be fatal.
Control Alternate grazing with cattle. Early season treatment to prevent buildup of larvae on pasture.

Trichostrongylus spp.

Notes The parasite feeds on blood from the gastrointestinal tract.
Most commonly affect Young grazing goats.
Signs and symptoms Persistent watery diarrhoea; weight loss; failure to thrive.
Can lead to PGE. May be fatal.
Prevention Alternate grazing with cattle. Early season treatment to prevent buildup of larvae on pasture.

Haemonchus contortus

Notes Haemonchus contortus feeds on the goat’s blood. Large numbers of larvae ingested over a short period of time cause acute disease.

Due their pathogenicity in infected goats we keep Haemonchus contortus in our Parasite Catalogue.

Most commonly affect Growing goats.
Signs and symptoms Anaemia; lethargy; submandibular oedma; increased heart and respiratory rates; loss of condition; emaciation (www.nadis.org.uk).
Can lead to May be fatal.
Control See SCOPS advice.

Dictyocaulus filarial (Lungworm)

Notes The parasite infects the lower respiratory tract. The development of the disease is similar to that for lungworms in cattle, but interstitial emphysema is not a common complication.
Most commonly affect Grazing goats.
Signs and symptoms Loss of appetite; drop in milk production.
Can lead to Breathing compromise.
Control

Muellerius capillaris

Can cause. It is associated with

Notes The infection represents the lower end of the pathogenic spectrum for lungworms.
Most commonly affect Grazing goats.
Signs and symptoms Occasional breathlessness and coughing.
Can lead to Diffuse interstitial pneumonitis; chronic, eosinophilic, granulomatous pneumonia; raised ‘greenish’ lesions in the lung
Control Anthelmintic treatment where necessary.

Fasciola hepatica (Liver fluke)

Notes Liver fluke cause considerable economic loss to farmers in the UK and worldwide. They are trematode parasites responsible for the disease fasciolosis. Disease is caused by immature fluke migrating through the liver, by adult worms present in the bile duct, or both.

Liver fluke use snails as an intermediate host, so are usually more prevalent on land that doesn’t drain well and during wet summers. Infective larvae can survive on pasture for several months.

However, prevalence of the disease is increasing, possibly due to changes in climate and farming practises; an increase in animal movement around the UK; and the increase of AR in fluke.

Goats are less susceptible to liver fluke than sheep, but more susceptible than cattle. Unlike anthelmintics, it is important not to increase the dose rates of flukicides for goats, as they are potentially toxic at higher rates.

Most commonly affect Grazing goats on poorly drained pasture with snail habitats.
Signs and symptoms Weight loss; anaemia; drop in milk production.
Can lead to May be fatal.
Control Drain pasture where possible. Remove snail habitats. Anthelmintic treatment.